Important Meeting Monday in Pawlet

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On this Monday, December 30th at 7 PM there will be a very important Select Board meeting at the Town Hall. In it, they are going to consider placing on the March Town ballot what is being called the Library Lift Expansion: a plan for a $300,000 elevator to a small basement room.

It is bad, expensive idea that no one had asked for and no one really likes.

After living in Pawlet for some time now, if I can say one thing about our community it is this: we are thoughtful and frugal. When it came time to raise money to turn the former three-room-schoolhouse into the new library years ago, the Pawlet Projects Committee did that fundraising with no financial assistance from the town. More recently, debates about the school merger’s effects on taxpayers were heated and prolonged- as befitted such an important issue.

I regularly attend town Select Board meetings and I think everyone can agree that they consider every issue with an eye to cost- cost to the taxpayers, cost to our community. At these meetings there is much talk about where the sand for this season’s roads will come from, and how to make sure folks in West Pawlet can afford their water treatment plant bills.

Clearly, there are many things Pawlet needs. For my part, if we are considering big projects, I’m curious why we aren’t talking more about a new town garage, something the town has reportedly been in desperate need of since I moved here two decades ago, and probably longer. If we are going to take a bond out to improve our town, I can’t think of any single project that would more positively affect the lives of its residents.

But instead, the Select Board are considering putting on the ballot an uncharacteristically wasteful proposal, an unnecessary addition to the library that happens to cost more, incidentally, than the entire building renovation did in 2001.

My commentary on this proposal has been published in VTDigger and the Manchester Journal as well as here on Pawletvermont.com, and interestingly, my article is the only place you’ll find any information about the “Library Lift Expansion.” Which is weird, don’t you think? The Library Board is proposing to spend $300,000 of taxpayer dollars, but they haven’t bothered to put the specifics on their website?

That just doesn’t sound like Pawlet to me. I hope you’ll join me at the Monday Select Board meeting at 7PM to oppose this wasteful boondoggle of a plan… the Elevator to Nowhere.