Letter to the editor: ‘Midd Money’ grant could be useful

A Nov. 15 story on page 3A of the Addison Independent told how the Middlebury selectboard agreed with the Better Middlebury Partnership to end the promotional Neighbors Together Midd Money Match program.
This was a timely bit of [hidden] reporting since I had recently, finally, connected with BMP regarding this promo. I had grown frustrated in following up on how to participate. I even went to the pretty website, which has great graphics but precious little actual info, on this promo in particular.
As a local resident who also works in Middlebury, it seemed easy enough to get credit for shopping where I normally do anyway. However, I ran into one obstacle after another, from where to find the cards to encountering blank stares from vendors on the list who hadn’t a clue about the promo. One vendor had to fish his stickers out of the recycling bin since I was the first applicant.
When I heard back from Karen Duguay at BMP I learned that VTRANS gave funding specifically for an area-wide shopping promo; $20K per the article. That only a fraction of that has been redeemed is hardly surprising given the admitted lack of communication among the promo’s stakeholders.
So, because I was unable to get the verifications for the 15-plus purchases I’d made since the promo’s original implementation in October, I’m SOOL for the $10. Frankly, I’m not so sure I’d want Midd Money anyway since the likelihood of any business able or willing to redeem it is in question. So, how is BMP going to use the remaining $19,780 in a way that helps local businesses? I’d like a little public transparency from BMP about this and other programs that are supposed to ameliorate the [so far] bad effects of the tunnel project.
Tricia Chatary

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