I wanted to first thank the Waitsfield Select Board and the budget committee for their hard work and the many hours spent bringing to the voters a budget that was fiscally responsible and did not include any noncritical expenditures. Thank you for being conscientious about the high debt load that Waitsfield has incurred over the past few years due to a lot of projects and trying to find ways keep the debt limit down and not accruing more.
It is time that Waitsfield residents understand that the town has to start living within its means and begin being responsible for its current debt and stop spending money on nonessential needs that are unnecessary to manage a town. When special articles are added and approved, the town has to pay that from somewhere else in the budget, which could mean taking it from other critical essentials such as roads, town office services, etc. A town cannot keep spending and accruing more debt as it limits a town’s ability to borrow in the future. Interest rates currently are low to borrow money, but in the future, they will be increasing and it will cost the town more out of taxpayer dollars to pay back. There will come a day that people will see a higher tax rate because they wanted a lot of frills that don’t benefit all the taxpayers of the town. It will not be the select board’s fault, it will be the people who voted and added things to the budget yet did not stop and think about what the impacts will be elsewhere in the budget or in our taxes. Waitsfield has a lot of people on fixed incomes, such as senior citizens and families with young children. As the Mad River Valley Planning District report pointed out, rents in The Valley are unaffordable and housing and jobs are limited. When you start adding $10 or $10,000 it adds up and that little extra could mean not having food on the table, paying rent, electric or even gas for your car which puts a heavy burden on taxpayers. It is time that Waitsfield voters wake up and start being fiscally responsible!
Waitsfield resident and taxpayer