Morally, fiscally wrong to reject MGRHS project
To the editor:
I am amazed by one statement in Ken Swiatek's Feb. 23 letter, "MGRHS plan is too costly for residents of towns": "In my opinion, it is morally unacceptable to use a majority vote to force lower income and fixed income citizens to pay 10 percent more in property taxes for the next 29 years."
Let's look at the facts.
We are now at the point where a final design for a new Mount Greylock has been approved by the MSBA and we know how much the MSBA is kicking into the project. If we drop the ball now, it will be 10 years until we get back to this position. The current school doesn't have 10 years left without substantial investment.
Any such investment would fall directly to the local taxpayers without commonwealth support. It won't take much investment to trigger the American with Disabilities Act requirements and drive the school to spend millions more to upgrade an already obsolete facility.
It would be morally unacceptable (and fiscally irresponsible) to miss this opportunity to completely renovate Mount Greylock for half the projected cost.
By asserting that the will of the majority should not carry the day, what Mr. Swiatek is suggesting is a departure from the very foundation of our democratic republic. We need a debt exclusion override in order to raise taxes to accommodate the cost of the new school. Those votes will take place on March 1 in Williamstown and March 15 in Lanesborough. Nowhere in MGL 59 does it require a super majority to pass a debt exclusion override. Nor does it say that any resident gets additional votes due to their financial situation.
This is the right project, with the right cost, at the right time. Those are the facts. Get out and vote YES on March 1 in Williamstown and March 15 in Lanesborough.
Allen Jezouit, Williamstown