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Elections Have Consequences

March 5, 2011

Tuesday we get to vote on how our town and school district should be run.  Don’t take this for granted.  All it would take is a petition and a disengaged electorate to repeal SB2.  Insiders put just such a warrant on the ballot in 2007 and will do it again.  Stay engaged.

Two warrants have potential to change our community for more than a generation.  In Danville, there is a warrant to purchase the fire association hall.  How is this a game changer?  There is only one reason for the town to buy this land — they want to build a new police station.  If you want to bond a new police station and hire new town employees to staff it, then go ahead and vote to buy this parcel as a parking lot for the children.  Before you do that, drop by the safety complex and witness firsthand the overcrowding of a vacant building.  If we need more space for police/fire, move the town clerk/tax collector to the spacious first floor of the library.  It would be a more pleasant wait for taxpayers and eliminate the need for the librarian who monitors the first floor. 

The other game changing warrant is the proposal to double the TRSD capital reserve fund.  The mailing from the school board says this money is needed to maintain aging buildings.  At the last budget committee meeting, one of the budcom members asked why we need to double allocations to the capital reserve fund when another warrant will pay for the last planned project (Atkinson kitchen renovation).  George Stokinger and Rob Collins explained that the money is needed for a new high school.  I was there.  I was also there when the school board discussed this at a workshop.  Neither meeting was televised.  Pumping up the capital reserve fund allows for ‘no tax impact’ work to begin.  How is this a game changer?  Obviously, construction of a new high school will require a new bond — approximately $70,000,000 according to La Salle and the architect.  Worse, in my opinion, the new high school (see page 2 of the plan) will not be near the Performing Arts Center.  Kids will not be able to walk to the PAC for classes.  This $6,000,000 ‘centerpiece of a modern education’ just ten years ago will no longer be used for high school classes.  For the record, both the facilities manager and architect have stated that the exisitng structures could be maintained for another 50 years.

Elections have consequences — vote carefully.

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