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LETTER: Dracut Ballot Questions 1 And 2

Sep 03, 2018 01:01PM ● By Theresa Gilman

Letters to the Editor

To the editor:

I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that everyone in Dracut seems to agree that the two debt exclusions (Questions 1 and 2 on Tuesday's ballot) are necessary. Updates in school entry systems like cameras, door alarms, locks, etc. are long overdue. The same is true for the obsolete fire station in Collinsville, which is in a tight location that backs up traffic on Lakeview whenever there is a call.

The bad news is that some are saying we should put these projects off for several more years.

I beg to differ. Dracut is a growing town of over 31,000 people.  Since the need for a fire station update was first recognized we have added thousands of people to Dracut. That small station was never intended to be used for 1000 or more calls a year, or operate 24 hours a day. We also can't afford the liability of operating a station without proper decontamination facilities to protect the health of the firefighters. This is not an extravagant proposal: Tewksbury recently built a $15 million central fire station. This is a satellite station and the cost is only about $5 million.

The school security proposal is also long overdue, it was first proposed over 10 years ago and the locks and cameras that needed attention then need even more attention now. With the urgency created by recent school shootings, the time to advance this project is now.

The town has gone out of its way to minimize the impact of these projects on tax payers. They are planning to use some funds from economic development to pay for about 20% of the fire station cost so that taxpayers will actually have to pay only the remaining balance.

The benefits residents will see from these projects include an increase in safety -- having a station big enough to accommodate the town's ladder trucks within reach of homes near Collinsville, Long Pond, and Lake Mascuppic -- and the peace of mind of knowing that all of the schools our children attend are well secured.

These ballot questions are also supported by both state rep candidates, Garry and Heisey.

Let's unite together as a town and vote Yes for continued progress in Dracut on September 4, on Questions 1 and 2.

Emily Mattox 
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