To the Editor:
The North Adams Chamber of Commerce supports the planned renovation of Conte Middle School and the borrowing order aproved by the North Adams City Council on Feb. 5, 2013, to fund this necesssary and important project.
In offering this support, we join the North Adams School Building Committee and School Committee, the mayor and the City Council and the many city residents who participated in the analysis, consideration and planning of the Conte renovation over the course of nearly two years. We also share the opinion of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which has endorsed the project and will reimbuse the city for 80 percent of the Conte renovation. With MSBA reimbursement, the city only will be responsible for repayment of $6.5 million of the borrowing authorized by the Council.
The North Adams Chamber of Commerce is committed to being a partner in the improvement and expansion of our North Adams business community. We believe that a key component of these efforts, and an essential resource to attracing new business and an expanded workforce to our city, is a strong, modern school system with excellent facilities. Educated young people with roots in North Adams are building blocks of our future eonomic and social prosperity.
Like the mayor we support the petition process as allowed under the city charter. However, we recognize that should borrowing for this necesssary and important project be defeated in a ballot initiative, North Adams likely will not see a new school or school improvements for a long time, and certainly not at the rate of reimbursement being offered by MSBA for the Conte project. We urge all voters in our community to become informed about the Conte renovation, the funding and reimbursement implication, and the thorough and transparent process that the City Council relied on to inform their borrowing order vote.
Glenn M. Maloney
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the North Adams Chamber of Commerce
March 11, 2013