Marion selectmen 'misrepresented Town House renovation information'

Mar 22, 2018

To the Editor:

Marion voters and taxpayers got “shafted” at the March 20 Board of Selectmen meeting, by the two remaining members of the Board of Selectmen.

Specifically, Selectman Norm Hills bullied the voters and taxpayers by denying all of us the opportunity to vote on Town House choices, including a less-expensive option for town administrative offices to be located at the VFW site.

This is the most expensive non-subsidized expenditure in the history of Marion. Hills and other members of the Town House Committee continuously misrepresent and understate the costs of the Town House renovation. The numbers they use are now old and stale. By the time all the bills are paid, it would be no surprise to me if the renovation turns into a $15 million Marion boondoggle version of the “big dig."

The proposed Town House project is a renovation that includes the expansive 1,200 square-foot third floor executive suite for the town administrator, complete with an elevator. The executive dining room will be added no doubt when this Town House group retunes to the taxpayer through seeking more money to fund the big cost overruns that will occur for the preservation of nostalgia.

As a voter, I will not stand by and be bullied and lied to by an elected official whose obligation is public service. The community should not tolerate this abuse.

In May, it's Town Meeting and election time. Do not be passive on being heard and acting on major issues. Otherwise, it’s going to be too late when you open your tax bill and say "OMG."

Also, at the March 20 meeting, the very capable Capital Committee presented its updated capital forecast. This year’s 10-year forecast lists $68.9 million in projects.

In the next four years, $44 million in capital project are scheduled. For the upcoming fiscal year, $15.3 million in capital projects appear on the list. Jody Dickerson just yawned when he looked at the project list. But that’s understandable because he is a short-timer and has not paid “dime one” in real estate taxes to pay the cost of capital improvements and the general fund during his six-year, very ineffective tenure as a selectmen.

The real cost of the Town House renovation not including cost overruns and additional debt.


5% Debt Financing ($6,932,269)

Town House Renovation Cost: $7,817,269 (20 years); $7,817,269 (30 years)

Interest expense: $3,639,439 (20 years); $5,372,504 (30 years)

Total Town House Cost: $11,456,708 (20 years); $13,189,773 (30 years)

Interest Expense provided by Town Finance Director


Ted North