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Town toys

To the Editor: One of the few advantages of living in modern Middlebury is cable T.V. with its local stations that add transparency to local government, i.e., selectboard meetings. Being retired, I follow the Tuesday night meetings to be aware of local issues that involve me and my quality of life. This past week, I watched as $155,000 was spent on a 220-can water truck for our fire department. Overlooking the murky procedure of changing bid specifications to exclude a local vendor who pays our taxes, etc., I wonder how badly we need the new water truck when the one to be replaced has less than 7,000 miles in its 20 years of life? It seems that the price for public safety includes constant renewal of equipment as they do cars for hot pursuit of high school students by Officer Friendly. At this time I would like to acknowledge that we are fortunate to have a quality fire service, but to justify new toys because they have the money in the equipment fund is a large step over the sensibility line. This is almost as irresponsible as spending $1/3 million to put flashing yellow lights at Champlain Farms on Court Street at the turn into Mary Hogan School. Another example of forward clairvoyance: traffic lights on Court Street which halt traffic thus replacing the exhaust from cars that used to idle at Mary Hogan School. Another example: having new cars with high-tech computers that run rich mixtures whenever its cold rather than having cantankerous carburetors. Just what is the savings in environmental degradation when after shedding contaminants on the front lawn the old car is crushed and shipped to Japan via Canada and sold back to us as politically correct rice rockets (Japanese cars)? David Foster
The Farmers Son
Midddlebury

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