Letters to the Editor – February 24, 2022

Spell out the need and cost of proposed community center

To the Editor:

I write to comment on the proposed Charlotte Community Center and feasibility study. I’m not opposed. I know too little for that, or to be supportive.

In the center committee’s recent letter to The Charlotte News (Feb. 10), I do not find the word “need.” Is this facility needed, and if so, please be specifically clear to justify. If the proposal doesn’t justify “need,” then say so. It’s OK. More is won by honesty than by a bunch of cushy adjectives. Maybe we Charlotters just want a nice facility.

Another omission — glaring for me — is the word “tax.” That monosyllable is as blunt as they come, and universally understood. Is this how we pay, all or in part, for the community center?

In the question of affordability, let’s imagine that we find wealthy donors to pay for the construction of the center. We’d think we were home free. Wrong. The maintenance, and I don’t mean sweeping floors, will be great and will grow over the many years. Spell it out and you might earn solid support for the center and because of your honesty.

J. Dennis Delaney
(Delaney, a Charlotte resident since 1973, is a former member of the Regional Planning Commission, the Charlotte Selectboard and a five-term Vermont state senator.)

Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service has been there when needed

To the Editor:

Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services is a private, not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to provide fire and safety protection and emergency medical services to the Town of Charlotte.

In 1950, the community organized and incorporated Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services as a community volunteer organization with the mission of helping preserve and protect the Town of Charlotte and neighboring citizens during times of crisis. According to town reports, in 1998 the town Selectboard, in cooperation with Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services, funded two paid emergency medical technicians to help ensure stable medical coverage by trained staff and began billing for patient transports. In 2011, Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services obtained its paramedic license in order to continue to serve the community at the level requested by taxpayers and the Selectboard.

COVID-19 stopped all of us in our tracks. However, that is not a luxury Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services had during the pandemic. Our fire and rescue employees and volunteers have not had the privilege of working remotely. In fact, our ambulance staff day after day leave their families to come to the station to serve Charlotte households and our neighboring communities if and when needed. During this time period, volunteers and paid employees have continued to answer the tones and continue to serve the community throughout the pandemic. Be it fire alarms, car accidents, heart attacks, respiratory distress or ice water rescue, if you call 911 with a problem, we will respond.

As the board of directors, we have listened and learned much over the last two years and have already begun to look at ways of improving communications with the community as well as the Selectboard. It is truly our calling, as well as our privilege, to serve you and your families during these challenging times to the best of our ability.

Please vote to support Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services on Article 4.

Jules Polk
(Polk, a member of the Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, submitted this on behalf of the board.)

Food shelf not involved in community center discussion, yet
Recently, some of us have received inquiries related to information included in an article by the Charlotte Recreation Committee.

On behalf of the Charlotte Food Shelf Inc. board, I would like to clarify this information.

At this time the Charlotte Food Shelf Board has not been contacted by the Recreation Committee or had any discussions with the committee regarding the location of the Charlotte Food Shelf as part of their project. In addition, the board has not discussed the appropriateness of a future location with the proposed community center in relation to our mission or made any commitment to this.

Karen Doris

Without Town Meeting Day, vote for library is critical

To the Editor:

For more than 30 years, the Charlotte Library has helped to engage, inspire, educate and entertain our community with its collection of books, publications, activities and programs as well as through broad community outreach.

The past two years have been difficult for everyone. Fortunately, the Charlotte Library has remained committed to ensuring continued access to all its offerings while prioritizing the health and safety of patrons and staff. The librarians have found new and creative ways to provide materials and programs “to go” through porch pick-up and extensive online offerings. The public’s growing demand for these new offerings reflects increased need and responsiveness during these challenging times.

We are reminding our wonderful community to vote on Town Meeting Day, March 1. Article 5 is a line item pertaining to the Charlotte Library budget. For the first time ever, this will be a separate line item requiring a vote apart from your town budget vote. So, it is very important that all of our supporters use their voice and vote. We emphasize that there are no new items in the library budget for 2022-23. The budget increase reflects the new salaries approved by the Selectboard.

Despite doubling the size of the library during the recent renovation, the operating budget (all line items except salaries) remains unchanged. This is largely due to the installation of energy-saving heat pumps and retrofits to increase energy efficiency during the renovation. Additionally, state and federal grants, volunteers of all ages and fundraising events have helped to defray operating costs. Also, as promised, no new employees were hired to staff the larger building.

The Selectboard initiated an overdue survey of the salaries of all town employees. The survey recommended an increase in the salaries of all long-term town personnel, including library staff. The independent evaluators also found the library staff “exceptional” in all five of the study’s performance criteria.

In the absence of Town Meeting, it is absolutely crucial that as many citizens as possible get out and vote. If you have any questions or concerns about your library, please contact us directly. Many thanks to you for all of your ongoing encouragement and support.

Robert Smith
(Smith, vice-chairman of the Charlotte Library Board of Trustees, submitted this on behalf of the entire board.)