I am compelled to respond to the opinion piece from Waitsfield Select Board member Sal Spinosa that ran in last week’s issue of The Valley Reporter. While I respect Sal’s opinion and his concerns, it is important to point out that the majority of that board voted last April to proceed to the negotiating table with the select boards of Warren and Fayston to draft legal documents for a tri-town local option tax (LOT).
Since that vote, there have been several efforts from Sal to revisit or relitigate the vote, which I feel disrespects that April vote as well as the democratic process.
I support Waitsfield changing its charter at Town Meeting this March to enable approval by voters of a local option tax. I further support asking Waitsfield voters to join Warren and Fayston voters in adopting a tri-town local option tax in November so that we can invest in the future of our community.
I do not support a Waitsfield-only local option tax, because that “go it alone” attitude flies in the face of our shared history and our shared future. While we have three distinct towns, we all share two mountain ranges, one river and two ski areas.
We need to work together on this, much as we have worked together for 35 years with the Mad River Valley Planning District. Through that tri-town intramunicipal entity we have successfully collaborated on planning and development issues relevant and critical to all of us. I am confident that as a community we will be successful in creating the first tri-town local option tax and the intramunicipal entity to collect, manage and disburse the funds, much as we were successful in creating the first tri-town planning entity in 1985.
When the majority of any town board or commission takes a vote, that action represents the will of the voters who elected the people who cast the ballots. I feel the will of the voters needs to be respected regardless of Sal’s reservations and his concerns. The majority of the Waitsfield Select Board that voted to pursue the tri-town LOT proposal should not be taking any course of action that differs from their April vote. The process – and their votes – need to be respected.
Bill Parker is a former member of the Waitsfield Select Board.