“That road kills tourism,” said Baliotti. “If you came here to invest in a new home or a vacation place and you destroyed your car, you’re going to think twice about doing it. So we can have all of the great economic development and all the great wishes that we all have to see that this town succeeds, but that’s a terrible impediment.”
Baliotti outlined the various car repairs he’s had to do in the past six months and then said, “I mean, where are we living? Is this the DMZ zone? This road must be paved.”
Baliotti said that, frustrated, he decided to call Montpelier to get some answers. “So I spoke to the maintenance guy who tried to get me to call the people in Wilmington, and I pointed out to him that this is ridiculous because they’re driving over it and this time of the year if they patch it it’s like putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm,” said Baliotti.
Baliotti said the maintenance manager who was “typically, corporately, and governmentally defensive of his people.” Baliotti said he asked the manager to “get off his chair” and take a drive down Route 100 from Coldbrook Road to Tannery Road.
“He told me he would take that under advisement,” said Baliotti. “The next morning they were at Town Hall and they’ve been patching ever since.”
Baliotti said he would like the board to submit a letter that he will be happy to hand deliver. “There’s nothing like face to face meetings because it shows your sincerity,” said Baliotti.
Vice chair Vicki Capitani said she had previously spoken about the matter to Rep. Laura Sibilia, who recommended writing letters to representatives and senators from Bennington and Windham counties.“The paving of this road is scheduled for 2020,” said Capitani. “And it is like moving a rock, but we have got to make a lot of noise. It is the only way.”
Baliotti suggested that a link be made to the amount of tax revenue generated by ski towns and what the state gives back. “If we say, this is what we’re giving you, what are you giving us?”
“The amount of money that the state gives back to tourism is disgusting in itself,” said Capitani. “This is just another indication of the value that they don’t put on all of the tax revenue that they get out of the ski towns.”
Baliotti encouraged all present to write letters and said he would hand deliver the letters. Jim Desrochers suggested that those who write letters drop them off at Baliotti’s business, The Coffee Barn.