, , ,

By now I hope everyone has heard about Pawlet’s proposed library elevator project, aka: Article One on the town ballot.

For the last few weeks I’ve argued that this project has been poorly conceived, inadequately researched, and at an estimated cost of $295,000, it is inappropriate for Pawlet to take on at this time. Specifically:

  • We’ve seen no breakdown of construction budget.
  • The Select Board has never voted to endorse the project.
  • There have been no accessibility experts consulted.
  • By the library’s own projections, it will cost individual taxpayers between $165 and $765, and that’s if there are no unexpected costs.
  • There are always unexpected costs.

I’d like everyone to recall that the current incarnation of the library in the former schoolhouse was funded 100% without taxpayer dollars, at a lower total cost than this proposed elevator.

I’d like to remind everyone that the library already has fully-compliant handicapped access, without which they could not open their doors, including a radiant-heated ramp and two handicapped accessible bathrooms.

A recent mailing to town residents puts forth an alternative plan that proposes to fix existing problems by:

  • Replacing the crumbling front steps (desperately needed, yet not a part of the currently proposed plan and budget)
  • Install snow guards
  • Install a push plate, automatic door opener to handicapped entrance
  • Use the existing radiant heat in the ramp, which currently is turned off

The estimated cost for this alternative plan is $45,000. If we can fix existing problems at a fraction of the cost, this should be seriously considered.

A vote against Article One is not a vote against handicapped accessibility, nor is it a vote against the library or fixing problems at the library. Rather, voting against Article One is a vote in favor of doing things properly, with experts, with budgets, and with transparency.

I hope anyone who still has questions about the proposal will attend Town Meeting tonight: 7PM Monday, March 2 at the Mettawee Community School.

And I REALLY hope everyone comes out to vote on Tuesday March 3rd at the Pawlet Town Hall between 9AM and 7PM.

This is the not-at-all-confusing way it will be worded on the ballot.

NOTE: When you go to vote, please note that the library project is listed FIRST on the ballot: it is Article One. Often in past years the town budget was Article One, so it is extremely important voters read the ballot closely. Be aware too, that it is worded so as to be almost incomprehensible. Seventy-nine words, no less.

Don’t you just love politics?

No matter what your views, please come out and vote.  More important than any single issue is the participation of every resident in the decision making of our town. No idea or project is the enemy- apathy is the enemy. I truly believe that.