Barre City voters who are pleased with the city’s recent renaissance can show their continued support by voting yes on the Tax Increment Financing district at the polls Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Why wouldn’t you? There’s no effect on the taxpayers except to stand proudly and watch as key projects around the city are further developed, increasing the city’s tax base and growing the long-stagnant grand list.
Why wouldn’t you want to see the acquisition of land and development of parking on Keith Avenue to accommodate the hundreds of employees who will join the existing downtown workforce in the coming year?
Why wouldn’t voters want to see improved parking in the city-owned lot behind Northfield Savings Bank? Or better parking and traffic behind Aubuchon Hardware and through Depot Square?
Who wouldn’t the city’s voters want to see the beautiful streetscape improvements continued along Pearl Street and Keith Avenue?
And who doesn’t want to say that the match on these projects virtually doubles the city’s buying power for infrastructure improvements? That’s a deal that will likely never come Barre’s way again any time in the near future.
Simply put, the city is positioned for continued success.
Critics are wrongly claiming that these improvements will fall on the backs of citizens. A yes vote simply gives the city the thumbs up to continue its amazing work. Some critics are distorting facts and language, perhaps because they fear change or have grudges with City Hall. A no vote does nothing more than close the door on a path of opportunity already well-documented and ready for the voters’ “go” sign.
Now is Barre’s time.
The cost of the targeted improvements is $2.2 million, but the bond payment will be paid for from the increased property taxes collected from private developers — not taxpayers. Because the city already has the Vermont-designated TIF district (and it only got that designation because it qualified for it and demonstrated measured success over time), Barre City has been given a unique opportunity to keep its momentum going.
A yes vote is a nod of approval that you agree Barre is headed in the right direction. It’s affirmation that the renaissance is real and that the investments to this point are charting a bright, prosperous future for a community that has spent too long looking down at its feet.
The City Council, Planning Director Mike Miller and City Manager Steve Mackenzie, along with the full-throated support of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Barre Partnership, are rightly campaigning hard to continue the progress. Their work is appreciated.
In our minds, however, their door-to-door campaigns, TV presentations, and flyers should be unnecessary. Few would disagree that the Barre of today is far brighter and better than the Barre of just a few years ago. It has sparked community pride and built new forays into community building. This is what progress looks like, and Barre is being held up by many as a fresh example of just what one community can do with inspiration, planning and intelligence.
A yes vote shows that Barre’s voters are clearly invested in that future, too.
Vote for the TIF district on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the polls at the Barre Auditorium from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or by absentee ballot in the coming days at the City Clerk’s office.
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