Lately I have been very concerned with the amount of misinformation that travels throughout town about the issues the town offices and selectboard are dealing with or have dealt with. This creates roadblocks to truly solving our challenges in an efficient and economical manner. Much time seems to be spent correcting the inaccurate or misleading information that people seem eager to spread. Especially concerning is that at times that misinformation seems directed at making certain people or groups of people look as if they are incompetent or worse dishonest, when they are not.
Two in particular come to mind: 1) The $1.4 million bond passed in 2014 to be used to kick-start the improvements of our roads and infrastructure. The bond was never meant to pave the whole Killington Road. If one were to read the minutes of the town meeting in 2014 (right before the vote) it notes: “Jill Post asked for more details regarding the term of the bonds, whether or not they would be callable, what is the interest rate, which roads this will cover and how long is the money expected to last. Town Manager, Seth Webb advised that this is a 10 year bond at interest rates close to 3 percent that will fund the repaving of Killington Road from Route 4 to West Hill Road, the reclaiming and repaving of West Hill Road and the repair of bridges on Thundering Brook Road, as well as replacing a large culvert at the bottom of West Hill Road and three side by side culverts at the bottom of Thundering Brook road, which first indications are that ANR is going to require a bridge or other type of culvert structure. The monies from this bond will be appropriated as follows: $700,000 will be spent on paving projects and $700,000 will be spent on bridge and large culvert replacement projects. Seth advised that if this Article is not passed, these projects would be delayed but are inevitable.”
The bond was never meant to pave the whole Killington Road, only what was stated at the informational meeting. In addition, the town was able to pave Tanglewood Dr., Rocky Ridge Rd. and the park and ride parking lot ahead of schedule due to the paving budget being well managed. In other words, we actually got more out of the bond than we expected.
2) The Park and Ride was not way over budget. There have been suggestions by some that the Park and Ride cost over $200,000 rather than the $120,000 initially proposed. The fact is that the project came in at 124,000, slightly over budget but nowhere near the $200,000 some have purported. The biggest change was that the lot was paved instead of having millings put down. The paving was actually being planned for a few years down the road, but an opportunity came up to have it done early (see above) because of the realized savings from the Killington Road project. So, yes, we moved the $20,000 to pave the Park and Ride up because it was in that years paving budget, which then opened up, or saved the $20,000 in the future paving budget. Taking advantage of these types of opportunities saves the town money in the future, speeds up the process of revitalization all without adversely affecting the current budget and just makes good economic sense.
If we as a town want to continue to improve and grow, it is important that we work together towards our diverse goals (face it, we will never be able to agree on everything). We must look for all opportunities to either save money or further our progress by combining and collaborating where it makes sense.
Don’t get me wrong, I welcome questions when people don’t understand or even feel we might be off track. But in this day and age when there so much information offered it is important to be aware of the true facts and their context before spreading misinformation that could be detrimental to the whole town. Let us move forward, not backward.
As always, you can reach me at email at firstname.lastname@example.org
This letter is based on my impressions of the matters before the town and are not approved of, nor been reviewed by the full board.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Patty McGrath, Killington Selectboard Chair