Disturbing trends, disrepair in Bellows Falls

BELLOWS FALLS — There are some very disturbing trends happening within Bellows Falls and actions by the village's elected officials.

• The lack of care in protecting any of the interests of the village while seemingly handing the keys over to the town. This is in reference to the merger committee and village trustees' participation in the meetings as five members of said committee.

The request made by village resident Andrew Smith is a significant one, calling for a current assessment of all village assets to provide village residents with a complete understanding of what is being handed over in this process.

It is my understanding, and that of at least one trustee, that the village owns significantly more property than the town, tipping the scale toward a serious loss should merger occur.

Why can a figure not be produced? This issue was discussed by trustees in 2012 and 2013, yet was never followed through. At the very least, knowing that the village's assets are properly insured through Vermont League of Cities and Towns against loss would be to our benefit.

• Signing a financial agreement with the town which eliminates through its very language the oversight of the village treasurer, an elected position.

As stated in the Sept. 29 agreement: “The subject pooling account shall continue in existence as currently constituted and operated until modified by Town and Village. Custody and administration of the pooling account shall be the responsibility of the Town Treasurer and/or the Town Finance Director and/or the Municipal Manager.”

This was not the motion made in May 2, 2006, as stated: “Leslie Goldman moved that the Rockingham Selectboard and the Bellows Falls Village Trustees authorize the creation of a single chart of accounts combining the Town of Rockingham and the Bellows Falls Village Corporation finances to be effective July 1, 2006. Motion was seconded by Thomas Salmon. Motion passed unanimously by all members of both boards.”

• Disregard for the care of village roads and sidewalks.

While it is no longer the job of the village to repair and maintain these items essential to the ongoing health of the Grand List and to the attraction and sustainability of new businesses and homeowners, it is, however, the duty of the elected officials of Bellows Falls to remind and insist of the town that these items be done as part of their agreement in exchange for other favors the village provides the town.

Allowing the village to fall into disrepair through apathy, negligence, or because of other motives is disrespectful to its current citizens as well as its forebears.

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