Taxpayers repeatedly being ignored
Editor of the Reformer:
I am angry, but not surprised that three Brattleboro Select Board members voted for a police/fire station without public approval. They knew this would never pass a public vote, yet, sneakily voted for it, which is shameful and dishonest.
The taxpayers had consistently rejected this police/fire station before as too expensive. Why are the voices of the taxpayers repeatedly being ignored? Our police and firefighters are doing a great job. Let us help them with a decent place to work, but not at the expense of the well-being of the town. Or do we become like Aspen, Colo., where none of the town employees cannot afford to live there?
The taxpayers cannot afford this. Brattleboro is already becoming too damn expensive. We have the highest property tax in the state of Vermont, outside of the ski resorts. Our biggest growth industry is not for profits who do not pay a fair share to the tax base. The Retreat pays about $10,000 to the town on a multimillion dollar business. Hilltop School pays about $450 for a school for rich kids largely from outside of our town. The Windham Land Trust with its over 500 apartments, the hospital, the colleges, and other not for profits are killing our tax base. Yet, many people who work for these not for profits don't even live in Brattleboro nor is there any kind of commuter tax.
There are a lot of people getting free rides in Brattleboro, but it ain't the taxpayers and homeowners. Us native Vermonters are being priced out of our town. As my dad said in walking into our barn, "There's a lot of manure here." If he walked into the Select Board, he would be knocked over from the stench.
But as to the police/fire station, can our Select Board and Town Manager in plain language explain the following. Please detail what was the process of Select Board vote? Why did the Select Board vote for the police/fire station without a secured bond, contrary to Vermont state law? (I think it is still illegal to spend money you don't have?) What is legal justification for three members of the Select Board to vote the police/fire station without public input? We vote for all bonds and substantial public projects, why not this? Is there going to be a public process where all taxpayers can vote on this? If not, why not?
This is not democracy nor the way we do business in Vermont.
Joe Green, Brattleboro, May 9