I rode on the rotten sidewalks from the Stewart's on the corner of Strongs Avenue all the way through town to the Stewart's on State Street. I counted 13 empty storefronts. Why? Well, the high tax rate makes the rent high and small businesses can't afford it; so, they close. What do our city managers do? They raise the taxes to cover the high wages of the city government. Just look at our downtown, it is empty; 20 years ago, there were stores, now they are empty.

Jeff Wennberg stated the city doesn't have the money to repave roads or repair sidewalks. Then I ask, where does the tax money go, the money from fines, the extra sales tax, the parking meter coins, the taxes on heating oil and gas for cars, the sugar tax? It goes to pay the high wages of the city government.

Rutland Town uses the Sheriff's Department, a volunteer fire department, and they have family restaurants like Denny's and others. Rutland City doesn't. Rutland [City] would rather argue over the design of a building then look at the idea that new places of business means wages to spend.

If you travel to Burlington, you see lots of stores, restaurants, people working and enjoying life. You look at Rutland and you can see a ghost town, people on welfare, people unhappy, no jobs, no prosperity.  The sign on Main Street says "Welcome to Rutland, Home of Fine Shopping and Dining." Could someone point out these places?

Rutland has two buildings on the corner of Main Street and Woodstock Avenue that have been empty for over 10 years. But if a business wanted one of these buildings to use, the tax rate would tell them "no." You argued over Starbucks coming, which was ludicrous; new business also means more tax money. But our city government doesn't see that; they just raise taxes.

Rutland needs to grow up. More business means more families; more families means more shopping ventures. Arguing over the way buildings were built 100 years ago is wrong. That is backward thinking; digress, not progress.

Thank you, Walmart, for being in town, as if you weren't, there wouldn't be anything.

Lt. Col. Skip Rinebolt


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