Without a doubt, Castleton folk are suffering from town office debate fatigue, but itís important to vote no on March 5 to the $1.05 million bond to build a new town office for four main reasons:
1) Taxpayer savings. Rather than paying over $1 million for a new town office currently proposed to be located off Route 30, taxpayers can raise $760,000, accept the generous $240,000 grant from the Donchian Foundation, and completely renovate 556 Main St., the town office location that was abandoned in 2011. Even if the renovation were to cost $1.2 million, taxpayers would still save money. The town office workers will have a pleasant work environment housed in a solid structure with efficient systems and healthy air quality, and financial savings can be applied to building a new fire station sooner rather than later.
2) Restoration of a historic building. To abandon 556 Main St. is not progress. Real progress involves the stewardship of existing resources. The Buel Block at 556 Main St. is a unique 173-year-old brick and slate building that will outlive us all. The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development provides historic preservation grants for renovating and maintaining historic buildings in Vermontís towns. Thereís a strong probability that 556 Main St. would be awarded such funds.
3) Conserving the quintessential Vermont village center. Although some think differently, we contend that the historic village is, and always will be, the heart of Castleton. Castleton village is on the National Register of Historic Places. Keeping 556 Main St. in active use as the town office will safeguard the vitality and appeal of downtown Castleton for residents, lake home owners and tourists.
4) Restoring police presence. Increasing the visibility of our local police officers by returning the department to Main Street would foil the increase in wayward, sometimes criminal, behavior.
Please vote no to the $1.05 million bond to build a new town office.
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