Letter Box


Stop the madness!

Editor of the Reformer:

It seems like the madness will never end. At the Representative Town Meeting on March 22, there was an attempt to place burdens upon the town’s resources so that the Police-Fire project would be stopped. I received a phone call last night asking me to sign a petition to revote the project.

This, despite the fact that on the 22nd, the Town Reps voted overwhelmingly to not cut the budget, signaling, for the third time, that the project should continue. Yes, the third time. Oh, I know one member insisted that there was a unanimous vote at the end of last year’s meeting that negated that concept. I would remind that member and others that the vote was a non-binding resolution that said, in essence, that the Selectboard should make every effort to cut costs on the project. Wow! Who wouldn’t vote to cut costs and save money, but that’s a far cry from calling off the project.

To make this insanity even worse, the town is already committed to more than $1 million in contract obligations. We have also already bonded for $5 million which will have to be paid back with interest over the life of the bond.

Now, if that’s not bad enough, look at further considerations. If at some time in the future we have a project that needs be done, what architect or engineer in his or her right mind would even bid on such a project knowing that we have a reputation for reneging in the middle of the deal. And what kind of interest rates will we have to pay on future bonds having borrowed $5 million dollars for nothing.

Just as cooler heads finally prevailed at Town Meeting, I can only hope this foolishness will be nipped in the bud.

Bob Fagelson,

Brattleboro, March 27

There is support
for 1% tax

Editor of the Reformer:

There are many of us who agree with both Paula Melton and Ann Wright (Letter Box, March 25) who expressed their dismay at Town Meeting Representatives’ no vote on the 1 percent tax. The tax would have no effect on shopping in Brattleboro, and it makes a huge difference to us taxpayers. We are already heavily taxed, and the additional burden will be very painful. It certainly makes me think it is time to move out of Brattleboro altogether.

Many of us were unable to vote on the non-binding referendum on Town Meeting Day, but it does not mean we were indifferent to the proposal. If there is any way this could be reconsidered, like adding it to the next town ballot, I think you would find many of us are in favor.

Elizabeth Moore,

Brattleboro, March 25

Taxed and double-taxed!

Editor of the Reformer:

Do not shop locally. The Vermont tax structure encourages you to shop elsewhere, in a tax-free environment.

On the Vermont Income Tax form you need to declare a use tax. Instructions are on page 8 of the tax booklet and indicate several options. If you have accurate records of your non-taxed purchases elsewhere, you can enter 6 percent of that amount. This for those who keep records of the bath towels they bought somewhere. Without records, you can use the chart on page 8 to calculate the tax, which is based on your Vermont income, not your purchases. Every dollar of the use tax, at 6 percent, presumes you purchased almost $17 of un-taxed merchandise elsewhere.

For example: If your income was between $35,000 and $49,999, your use tax is $28, which presumes that you spent $476 elsewhere. If you only spent $200 and made your other purchases in Vermont, then you are paying the sales tax twice on the remaining $276. If your income is higher, depending on your spending, this situation may get worse.

Page 8 indicates that if you use the use tax table, you will not be assessed for any additional use tax on non-taxed purchases up to any amount; note that for non-taxed individual purchases of greater than $1,000, the 6 percent tax must be calculated separately.

Therefore, it is to your advantage to examine your income, multiply that amount by 17 and plan to spend at least that amount on regular purchases outside of Vermont during the coming year, tax free. You will be paying the sales tax once. Also, you can spend, on less than $1,000 individual purchases, as much as you want, tax free, and it is perfectly legal to do so. You are avoiding the Vermont sales tax.

Do not always shop locally. The money you save will be your own.

Ken McCaffrey,

Brattleboro, March 24

Strong turnout needed

Editor of the Reformer:

On April 2, the registered voters in the towns associated with the Leland & Gray Union High School will vote on the same budget that was previously defeated.

The School Board has stated that they do not understand why it was defeated. The people that rejected it felt that the costs were too high and will result in another tax hike. I am not advocating either a yes or no vote but that the voters look at all of the facts and vote according to their wishes.

I am suggesting that there be a large turnout of voters so that the School Board will get some positive direction to help them make the appropriate decisions.

H. E Wenker,

Townshend, March 27

Up the minimum wage

Editor of the Reformer:

For nearly all of my 80 years, I have lived in two states. Not ecstasy and despair, as you might think, but the two states of Vermont and Connecticut.

My Vermont has lately been the leader in doing what’s right and good but is suddenly in danger of losing its leadership. Yesterday, the upstarts in southern New England became the first to increase a state’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017. This is the federal timetable our president seeks.

What say, all? Enough fiddling. Let’s get with the program and keep workers’ benefits intact while we’re doing it.

Alan O. Dann,

Marlboro, March 27

Hinsdale team ‘awesome’

Editor of the Reformer:

Congratulations to Terry Bonnette and his coaching staff for a great season. Hard work and good coaching made history at Hinsdale High School. The Pacers were awesome; playing unselfish offense, but their defense was paralyzing. They were an absolute pleasure to watch throughout the season culminating in a fantastic finale at the NHIAA Championship game. We especially enjoyed the demonstration of fan energy and strong community support throughout the season.

Gene and Linda Bourne,

Marlboro, March 27


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