Letter: Questions that need answers

Questions that need answers

Editor of the Reformer:

An Open Letter to Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark.

I appreciate your efforts to inform the community of plans to establish the Liberty Mill Justice Center, and see how it could exemplify many reforms that are crucially needed in our criminal justice system. As a homeowner in Bellows Falls, I have concerns about how the project will affect my community and lingering questions that haven't been clearly answered in previous presentations and interviews. Please take a moment to address.

What is the selling price of the property at 203 Paper Mill Road? I noticed that it was listed by the town as a hazardous building as recently as January 2014. Is it true that the Bellows Falls Area Development Corp. has placed an option on that property? Dutch Walsh told me today that BFADC had only $15,000 in its accounts. Who is offering the quarter million dollar donation for architectural improvements? This amount is so near what seems a market price for similar properties that it leads me to think that this may be tied to the purchase agreement itself. What tax benefit does the project represent to Bellows Falls, if any?

Since BFADC is a tax-exempt non-profit, it seems there will be no taxes levied on this real estate. Is the LMJC a for-profit enterprise? We've been told that it must make a profit or the project is not feasible. If so, where exactly does this flow of profits go?

I understand that a percentage of the profits will go to you, as Ssheriff, as a commission on the contract with the US Marshals. How will the transitional family housing program affect my community? I have not seen details of where this housing will be located. Nor have I been able to find the statistics quoting that most offenders return to their original community.

When will it be appropriate for LMJC services and training to be offered to Bellows Falls residents? I have seen this referred to often but it is not clear to me what situations would allow participation by a resident.

Can the public see your business plan, including labor costs? I've seen salary estimates of $40,000 for a janitor, up to $180,000 for the director.

Thank you for your time and attention to these important questions that many here are asking.

Bonnie Northup, Bellows Falls, Dec. 14


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