Opinion: Town should fix, not replace

These are tough times. It’s appropriate to return to the frugality catchphrase of the Depression: Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.
Our municipal offices and gym are not used up or worn out. They’ve been seriously neglected for many years, but they can be affordably repaired and upgraded to meet the town’s needs.
A February 2013 engineering survey documented neglect ranging from closed heating unit valves to clogged drains that allow water to pool on the roof. Regrading the site would fix other drainage issues. Even light bulbs need attention. These are not budget busters.
Changing the heating system would save at least 60 percent of current heating oil costs every year. That money can service a bond issue for the rehab work on both buildings without taking the college’s money or giving away town land. And without cutting services — as the college’s plan involves. We need functional, not fancy.
The “greenest” thing Middlebury can do is to work with what we have. Let’s put that option on the table for voters and keep it there.
Barbara Shapiro

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