The Mountain Times

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To repaint or not: An $8,000 choice for Pittsfield residents

"The exterior color choice for the School House Renovation project has definitely hit an emotional chord," says Town Clerk Patty Haskins in a town letter explaining how the situation evolved. Back in December the Selectboard had asked Haskins if she would choose the colors for the old school house, she accepted the task and chose tan and green from a historic color palette; tan for the clapboards and green for the trim. "I showed the colors to the Selectboard. I also showed the colors to anyone who came in the office that showed any interest in the on-going project next door. This was not a "secret" choice," she said. The black and white photos Haskins refers to are on display in glass cases in the Pittstop entryway.

However, some residents were upset that she chose colors other than white and would like to see the School House repainted.

"I think it is important for people to know that I chose the colors with no malicious intent and truly feel bad for the ill will that the color choice has created," Haskins says.

The Selectboard called an emergency meeting on March 15 where they voted to change the trim and clapboards back to white. The clapboards and trim were already pre-painted tan and green however, so the cost to make that color change will now be $8,050. It is thought that $1000 could be saved by reversing the boards and using the side primed with white, Haskins explains.

On Tuesday, March 20, approximately 16 out of 358 registered voters attended the regularly scheduled Selectboard meeting to make sure that the Select Board's March 15th vote, (to change the color back to white), was officially recorded in the town records and to air their views on the topic.

All Pittsfielf voters are encouraged to weigh in on whether or not the town should spend the $7-8,000 to repaint the building. Responses will be considered no later than Sunday, March 26.

"I think we all need to take a step back, try to put the emotional part of this issue aside, and think rationally about the financial aspect," Haskins says expressing her opininon as a Pittsfield citizen and taxpayer. "Spending money was not the mood of the voters on town meeting day. Is it worth $7,000 to $8,000 to change the color back to white right now? Would it be better to live with the color in the short term and repaint it at a later date, at a possibly reduced cost? Your opinion needs to be heard before it's too late.    Every piece of pre-painted green trim that is being installed with the white side out is costing the town money."

Tagged: Pittsfield