(Host) Besides city budgets, voters in Rutland will also decide the fate of several bond initiatives at town meeting next week.
One bond would fix the library and another, more costly one, would move and improve the city’s recreation department.
As VPR’s Nina Keck reports, local voters will also decide whether to impose term limits on local leaders.
(Keck) According to some in Rutland, 10 years are enough when it comes to being mayor or serving on the Board of Aldermen.
Dawn Hance is co-founder of Rutland Taxpayers United, the group that helped put the issue on the ballot. She says many in Rutland feel term limits would help bring new ideas to city hall.
(Hance) "I think a lot of people are intimidated and don’t want to run for the board because there are those same old names on there every year."
(Keck) But David Allaire, president of the Rutland City Board of Aldermen, disagrees, and says the city would arbitrarily lose valuable history and knowledge.
(Allaire) "We have a lot of new members on the board as we sit right now, and they’re all doing a terrific job. But I think the fact that two of us have greater than 10 years experience has been beneficial for bringing them along, as well as it just helps out the discussion for these issues."
(Keck) Besides term limits, voters will also decide the fate of several bond votes. One seeks $500,000 to repair Rutland’s antiquated library building.
The second is a request for nearly $5 million to upgrade a popular park facility and have it house both the city’s recreation department and the Boys and Girls Club of Rutland County.
Alderman David Allaire supports the project, but says many have voiced concerns about the price tag and timing.
(Allaire) "We always came back to the same question, ‘When is going to be a good time?’ And, actually, we think this might be the best time because we think there might be a payback. It’s attracting high quality folks to come to this area, young families to buy properties and invest and want to stay here for the long term. That in term will be payback for the taxpayers."
(Keck) Whether taxpayers see the nearly $5 million request as an investment or a mistake will come clear on Tuesday.
For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.