It's time again to get out of our easy chair and do our civic duty, time to put our legislator hat on and make a very important decision. Do we want five towns to take on a 20 year debt of almost 8 million dollars to pay for a project that should only cost about 1/10 of what they're asking? So please, have an early dinner and make time to come out to the special town meeting and let your voice be heard. The special town meeting will be held tomorrow, March 2, 2015 at 7:00 pm in the undermountain elementary school cafeteria in Sheffield.
I know we spent a lot of money to get "professional" people to tell us what needs to be done. However, what do all of these "professional" people have in common? These "professional" people all stand to make a lot of money if we go along with this plan. All we have to do is take out a 20 year loan to pay for it. If you ask a used car salesman what's the best car to buy they will point you to the car that gives them the best commission. There seems to be a glaring conflict of interest here.
Am I saying that these "professional" people are acting in their own best interest? You bet I am and I'm not afraid to say so. After all I'm acting in my own best interest; and I hope a lot of the citizens of Egremont come to the special town meeting and act in their own best interest. It is in the best interest of the five towns of the SBRSD to reject this 8 million dollar boondoggle.
The "professionals" have told us that our roof has passed it's useful life expectancy; this is just not true. The ten year warrantee that they cite to give us the impression that the roof needs to be replaced is the warrantee that was given by the company that installed the roof not the company that designed the roof. The Sarnafil roof that was installed in 1992 was designed to last for at least for 30 years if properly maintained. Sarnafil has roofs that were installed the 1960s that are still working today. So the useful life expectancy of this roof is about 40 years not ten.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, WE DO NOT NEED TO SPEND EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS TO FIX THE SCHOOL! I'm so sure that the roof could be fixed for less than the "professionals" suggest that I would guarantee that I could seal all of the leaks for 2 1/2% of what they recommend and guarantee the work for ten years. This may seem a bold statement but I've looked into the roof and the company that designed it. It's a no brainer.
Lets look at the furnace replacement. I heard an interesting fact about the MSBA. One of the requirements of getting a grant from the MSBA to replace the furnaces is that the roof needs to be replaced. Not repaired, REPLACED! Perhaps this is why the SBRSD never seriously explored the option of repairing the roof instead of replacing it. It would disqualify them from being considered for the grant.
Common sense tells us that 2 million dollars to replace 3 boilers is outrageous. If we do only what is required to replace the existing boilers with comparable units we could probably do the job for under 250 thousand dollars which is a far cry from the two million that we're being asked to spend. I wonder where the extra 1.75 million is going? Replacing the boilers with comparable units would give us a heating system that would last another 25 years if we maintain them properly. We have to ask ourselves if these so called professionals have any common sense.
We have the power to stop this 8 million dollar boondoggle but we have to do our duty and get out the vote. So call your friends and neighbors and get them out to the special town meeting. It should be a short meeting but it will be one of the most important meetings of the year. Democracy only works if the people get involved so please get involved.