Sell it for $1
Editor of the Reformer:
Now that the arguably unrepresentative Town Meeting Representative body has endorsed the Select Board's vote to move the police station to Black Mountain Road, unless it is reversed by a potential town wide vote, the board should proceed with making a good decision after the bad one. Simply stated, it would be to relocate what few town employees are in the Municipal Center and sell the building for $1. It does not make sense to keep the Municipal Center with so few employees there and spending big dollars there to rent to new tenants is not the role of government.
Speaking of renting, the municipality should not be in the commercial real estate rental business. It should be in the business of governing the town. The reason is that the municipality would have an unfair advantage against real estate investors because the town could set rental rates at a discount without paying property taxes or water and sewer bills on the properties. Knowledge of this situation would have a chilling effect on commercial business further depressing potential investment in Brattleboro. If you are not aware, this town has a tremendous revenue problem with many exempt and partially exempt properties, limited geographic expansion potential, and shrinking commercial values which all hold back the growth in the Grand List necessary to fund our expenses.
If the vote on the police station is upheld by the potential town wide vote, then do the right thing and get the Municipal Center back on the tax roll by selling it. The town will save a large amount of money by not fixing all the fire code violations and, in perpetuity, collect tax revenues from the building.
Hugh W. Barber, Brattleboro, March 18