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Why “No” is the Right Way to Go on Question 1

Opinion

By : Katarina Maldarelli and Chaivin Moon


Skip Viglirolo Skating Rink, Courtesy of Belmontonian.com

On April 4th, voters will be asked whether Belmont should use public funds to pay for a new community rink. In our opinion, the answer to that question is a resounding "No". There are a number of important reasons why voting “No” is the right way to go.




The first, and in our opinion most compelling, reason against a new rink is the cost factor. This is due to the current extremely tenuous state of our economy. The town of Belmont asserts that it will cost 29.9 million dollars to construct this new facility. With the potential threat of recession and/or stagflation in the future, however, the idea of spending millions of dollars should make us all very, very, nervous. It is well known that Belmont taxes are already significantly higher than other towns, so further adding to residents' tax burden under the circumstances is manifestly unfair. Furthermore, we all know that projects such as this rarely get completed within budget and are frequently subject to cost overruns, which would end up making the tax burden even worse. In a booming economy, perhaps cost might be less of a factor. But if anyone thinks we are in a booming economy, then we have a bridge to sell you.


In addition to the injudicious additional tax burden on citizens, there is the question of how necessary this community rink really is. It just so happens that there are many other rinks in neighboring towns that could be used for ice skating and other ice-based activities, or that could be rented out for the Belmont hockey team to use. Most are only a short drive away. Therefore, couldn’t our limited public funds be used for other, more pressing projects? For example, Belmont currently doesn’t recycle glass because they say it's “too expensive,” even though in the same breath they are proposing building a multimillion-dollar ice skating rink. Imagine all the tons of glass that unnecessarily get added to the trash in our landfills as a result. Surely spending money on green measures to better our environment is more important than building an ice skating rink. Another example is our schools, which are experiencing budget freezes and short staffing. They would seem to be more deserving of an injection of public funds. Honestly, isn’t it more important for the next generation to be well-educated, rather than simply having a community rink?


A final reason against the rink is that a large number of town residents would never avail themselves of this facility. Most adults, who happen to be the people who are actually going to bear the tax burden for the rink, aren’t going to get any use out of it, whether because they are busy at work and their daily lives, or because they aren’t interested in ice-skating or physically capable of skating. Most eighty-year-olds we know are not going to strap on ice skates and start doing triple Axels on the ice. It is extremely unfair that these people are forced to pay so much money for something that doesn’t benefit them or, in many cases, anyone in their families. The bottom line is that between paying for gas and record-high grocery prices, the average person’s budget is already pushed to the limit just for necessities.


You can call us Debbie Downers if you like, but we prefer to think of ourselves as prudent students. Now is simply not the time to be spending millions of dollars we don’t have on a facility that is not absolutely necessary and will not be used by a majority of the town’s residents. Like it or not, now is the time to tighten our belts and avoid worsening our already extremely fragile economy. That is why “No” is the right way to go on the rink!


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