By Sadie Williams and Sheri Duff
With two issues of the Shelburne News chock full of letters-to-the-editor before Town Meeting day, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that the hot topic on this year’s Shelburne Town ballot is Article IV. The article asks Shelburne voters to consider an $11.2 million, 20-year bond to pay for the replacement of the 122,000 sq. ft. membrane roof and a complete renovation of the D and E wings, constructed in 1967. While it appears that townspeople acknowledge the need for school renovation, most arguments revolve around what renovations will be done, when, and for how much money.
The proposed work includes: Roof replacements, repairs, and insulation; installation of high performance double pane windows in the D and E wings; structural reinforcements to the roof of the gym; new walls, doors and finishes in the D and E wings to accommodate new classrooms; and mechanical, electrical, plumbing, lighting, and fire alarm upgrades in the D and E wings.
The $11.2 million bond would cost the owner of a $400,000 home an additional $280 per year in taxes, or $23.33 per month. If approved, the financial impact of the bond would start to show in the 2016 budget. This is the first bond that would be sent to voters since financing the B wing construction, the current home of elementary classrooms, and a renovation of the band room in 1993.
Before voting on Article VI, become familiar with the project. You can view the full list of proposed work included in this bond option on the Shelburne News website, read the Feasibility Study compiled by architects Dore & Whittier on the Shelburne News Facebook page, watch a SCS Board meeting on RETN, and find related documents at https://sites.google.com/a/cssu.org/scs-facility-review/. If you have questions regarding the bond or proposed measures, the architect will be available at SCS in the afternoon, Monday, March 2 to go over the topic at length and in great detail. Please contact email@example.com if you are interested in that meeting.
For over 200 years, Vermonters have gathered on the first Tuesday of March to practice democracy in its purest form. The issue at hand, in the case of this bond, is a large one, but it is for that very reason that citizens should seek to educate themselves in order to make an informed decision. While it is tempting to follow the opinions and sentiments passed along from friends or laid out in letters-to the editor, democracy doesn’t function without the knowledgeable participation of each citizen. Come to Town Meeting on Monday, March 2 at 7:30pm in the SCS gymnasium. Know the facts, know your opinions, and vote accordingly on Tuesday, March 3.