To Heath Select Board,
I am concerned by the efforts of the Grans and their supporters to continue delay of discussion regarding the Task Force report. Their reasoning is that we must face our fiscal crisis first. I disagree. Good fiscal planning requires a balance of understanding your current needs, your future hopes and your fiscal capabilities. The report from the Task Force goes a long way in helping the town understand its facilities strengths and weaknesses, as well as laying out some potential options for the future. Before individuals make decisions regarding the future, they need to understand the present. Therefore, offering residents an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the report is one essential step in moving forward. Continued delays are allowing inaccurate information and beliefs to become entrenched. You have recently received a letter from Margaret that outlines some reasonable considerations for such an informational meeting. It is time to take action.
To: The Select Board
From: Margaret H. Freeman
Date: October 16, 2020
Re: Facilities Task Force Report
I was concerned to see that the planned zoom meeting on October 17 that has been postponed was referred to as a Town Forum. It was my understanding that it was to be a hearing
I therefore agree with Jean Gran’s public comment at the meeting October 13 that such a “Forum” meeting implies back-and-forth discussion that would not contribute to the easing of tensions in our town. I therefore suggest that any title be avoided that will give a wrong impression as to the purpose of the event, and suggest the following: "The Select Board has scheduled a time on zoom to hear from Heath residents and taxpayers their responses to the Facilities Task Force report on the use of town buildings."
It was my understanding that the Select Board had agreed to listen to those in town who would like to express their views concerning the Task Force report and its findings in order to get a sense of how town residents and taxpayers felt about the future of our town with respect to the use of town buildings. It was not intended to be a referendum, either binding or otherwise. The Select Board has the authority, the mandate, and the power to make such decisions on behalf of the town.
Three problems face the Select Board as you make decisions about the zoom meeting:
One final concern the Select Board needs to consider is how to reach all residents equitably, both those with internet access and those without. Adams Mail Service can distribute a letter to every household in town through the Post Office more cheaply than first-class mail and almost as quickly. Heath Town Talk can testify to the success they had in doing so.
I hope that helps!