Robert K. Stevens, P.E.

Unlike sales taxes, property taxes are progressive

Based upon the letters from Selectboard members responding to the Viewpoint from the board of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, it appears they felt personally criticized by the comments. That was not my intent; there are real problems with Vermont's economy that create challenges for our towns.

The piece was trying to advocate for policies that build our commercial grand list rather than depress certain economic segments that are already in decline. BDCC and SeVEDS own those economic problems, but it is tough to improve the economy when our rural areas are suffering from a fundamental economic decline.

There are, however, several comments that I believe should be added to the consideration of the 1-percent local-option sales tax discussion.

First, the property tax in Vermont is a progressive tax. With the renter rebate program and income-sensitivity mechanism, the cost of property taxes is limited for those with low incomes, and that cost is shifted to higher-income residents.

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We are having the wrong conversation

A plan for Brattleboro’s long-term fiscal health has to focus on the commercial and industrial tax base, not a quick fix that will hurt retailers

Town Meeting representatives will consider a new 1-percent local-option sales tax, one of the few rapid-acting tools that towns have to grow revenue as expenses increase. But another local tax is a short-term and shortsighted fix to a decades-long problem. No proposals to improve the long-term productivity of our...

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Beware the hidden costs of buying vs. renovating

The town of Brattleboro is considering options for the police station. One alternative is to purchase the Reformer building on Black Mountain Road. Although this alternative is estimated to cost approximately $1 million less than renovating the Municipal Center, other costs and considerations make investing in that structure for...

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Why we want to keep cars out of the Brooks House tunnel

We, the members of the Brooks House Development Team, shared our vision and passion for Brattleboro's downtown at the April 20 Development Review Board meeting, where we discussed the continuing transformation of the space behind the Brooks House into a pedestrian-friendly commercial space in the spirit of Burlington's Church Street. Our park will serve as a college green for Vermont Technical College and Community College of Vermont and as a quiet outdoor oasis for all visitors to Brattleboro's otherwise-bustling downtown.

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