Letter: School loan poses threat to Clarksburg's solvency

Posted
To the editor:

The bylaws of the town of Clarksburg call for a three-member Finance Committee to "exercise its prerogative to review budget details that focus on issues such as the use of free cash, reserve levels, and the occurrence of debt that are more directly related to long-term stability and the course of the town's future." The residents of Clarksburg have been apathetic and the administration has been unable to entice residents to serve.

Should the school renovation vote pass, I believe this issue should be brought to the attention of town counsel as there may be legal ramifications to signing off on the proposed renovation loan of $7 million over 40 years.

On Nov. 6, the town administrator stated that for the past 30 years we have been cutting budgets to live within our tax levy and scraping by, but he left the decision to borrow open to residents. Only Chairman Levanos made clear that the loan scared him. He also stated that the town accountant, treasurer/tax collector and assessor all attested to the fact that we don't have the means to borrow that amount of money.

After serving multiple terms on the Finance Committee, I can tell you that it scares me as well and I will go one step further in stating that the town of Clarksburg will fare no better than North Adams Regional Hospital if it over-extends itself. We will not only lose our school to regionalization, but the town will have incurred a 40-year loan with no way out other than bankruptcy.

No one wants to see our school deteriorate or close, but the bottom line is that we are not positioned to take on a loan of this magnitude.

<em>Paula Wells,

Clarksburg</em>

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