To The Daily Sun,
Here we go again. The people and politicians in my town of Belmont love spending money, like a teenager receiving a first paycheck from a first job, except the money is not theirs.
In 2009, all of 277 out of roughly 4,000 registered voters turned out to vote down the purchase of the old Northway Bank Building (154 Main Street) by just nine votes. The politicians in the town didn't except this and in August of 2012 held an "special" deliberative session and vote to sneak through the back door and get a vote to purchase the property. Again, only 320 out of roughly 4,000 registered voters showed up and this time the town got a whopping eight vote advantage for the purchase of a building they had no plans for. In fact to do anything with the building at all they would have to raise taxes on the town citizens.
Now we are facing a similar vote regarding the OLD Gale School building. The articles that we are being asked to vote on are requested by an extremely small group of people who find some kind of sentimental attachment to an old building. In order to save their precious building they are asking us to raise our taxes at a time when economic circumstances dictates that everyone should be tightening their belts. Yet the question of the need for the building in any capacity never arises. If there is a need wouldn't a new building be more economic in the long run? Maybe the answer to that question can be found in studying the current debacle of the old Belmont Mill building.
Now we are being presented with three warrant articles for "choices" of what to do with the school, as if these are the only three things you can choose. Any one of these warrant articles, if voted in, will result in an increase in taxes at some point. Belmont already has a tax rate that puts us number 42 out of 258 listed towns, yet our mean income puts us at 120 down the list of towns. This is already a gross mismatch of tax rate to mean household income, and these people are asking us for more? I would say that this is a textbook example of economic irresponsibility. The fact they are not telling you is that you have another choice at this time ... that is to do nothing by voting all of the articles down. Then maybe time can be taken to search out other actions for the building that would not require further increase of an already outrageous tax rate. Something like selling the building to a contractor who wants to use the aged wood in new construction, or to the people who want to preserve it (and have them use their own funding, not the towns). I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities that can be found.
Dave Nix, Belmont
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