Opinion: Residents need say on Anbaric

I write to register my intense surprise that the acceptance or rejection of the Anbaric proposal — to install a multi-story electric facility the size of a football field near the center of our little town — may perhaps not be put to a vote by the registered voters of New Haven. And yet, according to the last paragraphs of Gaen Murphree’s excellent report in the Feb. 1 issue of the Addison Independent, the selectboard choosing to decide this on its own is a real possibility. For when asked by the reporter “if the selectboard would at some point put a vote to the town, either binding or nonbinding, (Selectman) Tolles said that has yet to be determined…”.
Whether or not the selectboard has the authority to make this huge decision on its own seems irrelevant, given the fact that acceptance of this deal will permanently change the nature of the New Haven town center and variously affect many in its larger community. The selectboard is doing its proper job in carefully analyzing and pinning down all aspects of this complicated proposal. It would be shocking, however, if we all learned some day that they had approved a deal with Anbaric on their own without consulting all the voters.
Given that we are asked to spend hours on Town Meeting Day to approve miscellaneous road maintenance expenses and minor donations to local charities, it would be a mockery of the democratic process not to consult the citizens of New Haven over what will arguably be the biggest and most fateful deal so far in the town’s history.
I urge that the New Haven selectboard commit itself to putting the Anbaric deal to a binding vote by New Haven voters to give this fateful decision, be it up or down, the long-term legitimacy it will surely need.
George Jaeger
New Haven

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