Expensive and Unnecessary
The Feb. 15 referendum will potentially be the biggest bonding issue in Madison history. I attended the Board of Education town meeting in which it presented an $89 million School Renewal Plan. After the discussion, I believe that it is our best option. However, during the presentation there was a slide that said “CIP—$50 million.” I asked the speaker what CIP stood for, and I was told that it was capital improvement projects. During the question-and-answer period, I asked where the $50 million was coming from. The speaker said it would come from the operating budget. I was quite surprised at that answer, since I do not believe that Madison has a spare $50 million. Subsequently, I spoke with one of our selectmen, and he confirmed that indeed the CIP would also have to be bonded. This brings the total for school spending to $139 million. I believe that our leadership is not actually telling the citizens of Madison the whole truth about the School Renewal Plan cost.
The next item is the Academy School renovation into a community center at a cost of at least $15.9 million. This doesn’t include operating costs of at least $375,00 per year. Although many in the town’s leadership have heralded this as a great opportunity for Madison, it is in fact a very expensive and unnecessary expenditure. I realize that there is a desire to do something with the old building, but we need to find a solution that will bring in revenue to the town, not cost us millions, especially when we are facing an astronomical bond for the school renewal project. The community center must be voted down!