letter to the editor

Thomaston, please cancel raised-hand February 22 vote

Tue, 02/21/2023 - 9:00pm
The following letter is addressed to the Thomaston Town Manager and Select Board:
Hello Kara and Select Board members, 
With apologies for this "last minute" request to please seriously consider canceling the in-person raised-hand February 22 vote on Article 3 asking for $600,000 to be spent for an HVAC system for Watts Players and Watts Building.   
It has been suggested that with widespread communication and clear explanations in layman terms on all pertinent issues and questions to please consider asking for $600,00.00 for Watts Heating & Air Conditioning to be voted on during the June Town meeting.   A June town meeting usually means a majority of residents are available to vote absentee or by secret ballot during an all day time frame. 
It is now understood that there was a public meeting offered to address concerns and answer questions.  Apparently it appears that many voters are not informed or educated about the February 22 in-person hand-vote asking to spend $600,000 of public funds on an HVAC for Watts Building. 
Currently the following are some concerns and questions: 

  • Was there a town-wide survey providing Thomaston residents several options as to what to spend our $300,000 CDS funds on?  

  • Is there still an opportunity for Thomaston residents to have additional 2023 funds from CDS for Town projects or help reduce property tax?  
  • Does this particular Congressional Discretionary Spending (CDS) require funding to be only for "high impact projects" which "should have a broad base community support"?
  • Is  broad base support defined as a majority percentage of eligible voters? 
  • February 22 is during School Vacation, a time when people are out of town and therefore not here to raise a hand to vote.
  • Regardless of School Vacation there are a number of residents who are our of town this time of year and cannot vote.
  • No absentee voting allowed for the Feb 22 vote
  • Covid and Flu cases are a factor which keep people from going to a meeting to raise their hands to vote. 
  • What is the current market value of the entire Watts Block building? 
  • If $600,000.00 may be the maximum costs for HVAC will there be a need for another $600,000.00+ next year or the year after? roof ,siding, insulation, windows, elevator, fire system, safety exits, employee costs, and many other items for commercial buildings?
  • How specifically is or will the Watts Block as "Town owned" property reduce individual property tax liability? 
  • Apparently "economic driver" is defined in multiple ways. 
  • Where on the Town website is the Town agreement and arrangements detailing how the Watts Block is to be self-sustaining by producing income without the use of public funds? 
  • Please provide details and definitions in layman terminology on the property taxes paid by Dragon Cement into the TIF financing program.
  • What are the specific restrictions or suggestions in regards to allocations and spending  monies Dragon Cement pays which are held in the TIF program? 
Apparently even with all Thomaston communication methods followed it seems to be a continued concern and need for wide impactful detailed and understandable communications. 
Thank you for your serious consideration.
Cindy Lang lives in Thomaston