Barre should be working on revenue plan with Apex project, while experts look at other issues
After the positive responses I received from my letter outlining things to look for in a PILOT agreement in Barre with wind turbines, I received immediate personal responses from people in several townships expressing dissatisfaction.
The problems expressed were surprisingly insightful. In the previous letter I outlined ways that taxpayers’ money has been given away for almost 20 years without adequate safeguards or study. I would clearly like to help the town with the money end, even though I will probably see the towers from my back window.
I do not know what the environmental aspects are or how it will affect my or other Barre property owners property values. But everyone should know this. The impact should be known and it is extremely important that everything gets looked at. The law is clear that the lead agency can choose its experts and Apex must pay for them. Barre must insist on this.
The town needs to be fully informed. No matter what is officially done the Barre assessor should be involved with the review. Barry Flansburg, the town assessor, may not be popular because of his thankless job as assessor but he has valuable experience with tax reduction agreements gained from participation with them in more progressive taxing jurisdictions – other counties where money is not given away as freely.
The underfunding of our county’s economic development resources exacts a toll and we have seen the results for too long. With Apex, not only should the proper resources be brought to bear, but the local way of doing things needs to be funded and perhaps reorganized. We have to be sure that Apex will be more than a flashy announcement or a photo op for politicians.
Apex should be a money-maker for Barre, or it shouldn’t be done there. Guesswork is not sufficient.
Conrad F. Cropsey