Keep Maplewood in Westmoreland, N.H.
Editor of the Reformer:
The residents of Westmoreland got it right when over 100 of them voted to keep Maplewood in Westmoreland to zero to move the facility to Keene. They understand that the residents there are well taken care of and that they are happy. A new building, with all of its added costs, will not change their situation. This was a strong message regarding their feelings that the residents gave to Rep. Paul Berch, who called the meeting. The town residents asked informed questions regarding the justification of a move. Why swap a new facility on a waste site over looking the jail for the beautiful setting they have now? Sure, the main part of the building is 40 years old, but the problem is one of neglected maintenance. Imagine if every building in Keene over 40 years old was scrapped and then left to rot like the old jail in Westmoreland.
The options to remodel or build a new wing attached to the current building make the most sense. A new wing can take advantage of the current kitchen,water and sewer system, the road, and the property that Cheshire County already owns. The county would have to pay an estimated amount approaching $100,000 to Keene forever for water and sewer which would be saved keeping the building in Westmoreland. The tax credit that was proposed is not free money. The county would have to pay Keene property taxes, the 6th highest in the state. The county will not own the property until after seven years when they will have to buy the facility. The initial proposal was to spend $1,000,000 for the property in Keene/Marlborough that had an assessed equalized value of just over $550,000.
When a number of county residents have trouble paying their mortgage and taxes, this is not the time to put a further burden on them when there is a better and a more economically advantaged solution. One must realize that for every extra $10,000,000 that the county borrows, it must pay back about the same amount in interest before the loan is paid off.
Keep the Maplewood residents in mind, as well as the taxpayer, when making the decision about Maplewood's future.
Bob and Lee Brockmann, Chesterfield, N.H., June 7