Here we go again

To the Editor:

Well, here we go again. We are going to vote on a $1.1 million bond for Troy School. This will be the fourth time we are being asked to approve the bond. I wonder how much it has cost us to have these special votes and also pay for the architectural fees. It has been defeated every time by the voters. Why don't the school board and Principal get the message that the voters that pay property taxes do not have the money to finance a $1.1 million bond that will add four cents for every $100 worth of our property value for twenty years starting in 2014? Of course this will also affect renters as when property taxes go up the landlords will raise their rent. It was suggested last Town Meeting in March 2012 to put in for just the boiler, sprinkler system, and attic insulation and they would probably get it. These three items, according to the Board's figures, are estimated to cost $427,584. They keep on adding items that can wait onto the bond. Do you voters know that there is a fees and contingency fund of $182,000 included in the bond? Does that mean they will have this money if not spent on the school projects to do as they please? There is also $18,178 for sidewalks. These will be put between Norma St. Marie's driveway and the Town Clerk. Why? Most kids are transported by the school bus (even the village students). In the Feb. 1 newspaper article on PTA member wouldn't go as far as to say the school isn't safe now.

Voters need to decide if they can afford to pay for the bond. Here are some facts voters need to know and consider when voting. The Troy School is asking for a budget of $2,611,408. The amount is an increase of $167,529 in the budget this year. Last year there was a deficit of $76,928 (see page 59 of 2011 annual report). This year there is a deficit around $200,000. When I asked about this at the bond informational meeting and how we will pay that back, I did not get an answer. What good is it for voters to vote on a budget when they spend whatever they want? I understand the whole school takes field trips to the water park in Jay. The only field trip I ever took was to the National Bank to learn about banking and the value of money. Maybe the principal and the Troy School Board should take a field trip to the bank and learn about balancing the budget.

North Country High School will be asking for a 5.6% budget increase. The Career Center is asking for a 3.9% increase. The high school board is looking to renovate the school at a cost of $20 million. This year The State of Vermont is going to add 5 cents a hundred of your house value to the state education tax they charge you. Keep in mind that with the bond's 4 cents added and the State's 5 cents that is automatically 9 cents added to your property tax each year. This does not include any further increases to the school budgets now and in the future.

I have talked to many people in this town that are struggling to meet their expenses. These are people who have worked all their lives and are now trying to enjoy their "Golden Years" of retirement. They live on a fixed income and when things increase their income doesn't. This year Social Security gave us a raise. Whoopee do! After increasing the Medicare Premium, I ended up with $11 a month and I bet some people didn't even get that much. I have also found out that young couples who hold two jobs and are trying to make their mortgage payments, get gas to go to work, etc. are also having trouble deciding what bills to pay. The increase in property taxes and reappraisal are driving them out of their homes.

If you cannot go to the polls to vote, you can get an absentee ballot at the Town Clerk's office by calling 988-2663 to have a ballot sent. Follow the directions and mail the ballot back in the envelope provided before the vote. Remember, every vote counts so don't make the mistake of thinking your vote is not important.

Betty Mason

North Troy, Vt.


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