What do local businesses bring to the economy of the Northeast Kingdom?
The answer as it applies to the King George School is that we put $1 million in net payroll into the local economy annually. We pay local vendors over $750,000 annually. We pay combined property taxes to the towns of Sutton and Sheffield to the tune of $70,000. We employ 50 people. Families of our students spend an average of 1,200 nights annually in the Kingdom.
Given the nature of our students and their families, the implementation of an industrial wind turbine "farm" surrounding our school would spell our school’s death. Our school simply cannot operate surrounded by 400-foot industrial wind towers with flashing red lights at night and steady noise 24 hours a day.
Other businesses will be disrupted as well, and this should be factored in when considering altering the Northeast Kingdom’s landscape so severely.
What effect will these changes have on jobs, recreation, community and our vitally important tourism industry? (Just recently Burke Mountain attended public hearings against another proposed wind project in their area.)
These are all warning signs to which our communities and legislators should be listening. Our businesses must be factored in when considering the impact of these massive wind turbines on Northeast Kingdom ridge lines.
What value do we place on our committed long-term businesses? How is this 20-year chain of events going to play out? How about the negative impact on the local service industries upon which our economy relies so heavily? Only time will tell.
Will we be trading one out-of-state company and a handful of promises for many well-known businesses and industries that provide the building blocks to our communities’ futures? One way to find out quickly is to make that mistake now. Then how do you get them back?
Perhaps it would be best to know these answers before a decision is made that could impact our immediate future and generations for years to come.
On Dec. 1 I’m voting no on wind turbines in order to say yes to maintaining the economy of the Northeast Kingdom.
Karen E. Fitzhugh, Head of School, King George School
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