Voters in the town of Georgia have plenty of motivation to get their ballots in this autumn. There's the presidential race, a couple of interesting statewide races and what could be a pitched battle between an incumbent and a well-known community member for state representative. But there's a hyperlocal question coming before Georgia citizens that should inspire voters to perform their civic duty: Should the town borrow money to build a new town highway garage? In a word? Yes. I am the former chair of the Georgia Selectboard, and while I have strong opinions on which politicians get my vote, I won't share them here. But I will advocate for a new town highway garage to be built for one simple reason: It's badly needed. In 2018, faced with mounting bills for repair and facility improvements, the town completed a deep examination of Georgia's buildings. All buildings needed work, but the highway garage, built in the 1970s, was in the worst shape by far. There were HVAC issues, a failing roof, an out-of-compliance floor drain, electrical system malfunctions and blatant safety violations. The town spent money to correct some of the most pressing issues – it was required for the sake of employee safety ¬– by the work we did barely raised the building's grade out of the failing category. More costly repairs are still required on the aging building that's outlived its usefulness. Unlike many Vermont towns, in the last decade Georgia has seen a growing grand list coupled with a commitment to keeping a low municipal tax rate. With that growth, both in commercial and residential properties, comes increased expectations of the highway department. Georgia has bolstered its highway crew, and a new garage is the last piece required to bring the town's highway services fully into the 21st century. For much of this year, Matt Young of Ascent Consulting has spearheaded the development of a clear proposal for a new highway garage in Georgia. What is being put before voters this autumn is a reasonable, well-thought out ask for a significant investment into the community. I urge Georgia residents to wholeheartedly vote "yes" on the request for a new town garage before or on Nov. 3. –

Matt Crawford, Burlington

(Matt Crawford is the former Georgia Selectboard chair. He stepped down from that position in August as he moved out of town.)

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