To the editor:
The single most successful program that supports Westport’s agriculture and historic roots has been the Community Preservation Act (CPA). Aside from its role in maintaining and improving the quality of life for all of the town’s residents, its economic benefits to the town and its residents is without question.
Businesses, universities, hospitals and municipalities that fail to invest in their futures are destined to economic stagnation and decline. Westport, whether it likes it or not, is in the business of competing with Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and the Cape for the high net worth families looking for vacation retreats. Our open spaces, rich farmland, clean waterways, hiking trails and historic buildings which precede the Revolution are elements that are attractive to these families. These are the very resources which the CPA is interested in preserving and expanding whenever possible.
Higher net worth families pay high property taxes without using town services, retain housekeepers, landscapers, electricians, builders and keep our shopkeepers, their employees, restaurants, farmers and marine supply companies in business. Over time the dismantling of the CPA, as proposed by ballot #3, has the potential of changing the character of the area and could have a damaging, long term negative impact on property values and the future incomes of families living in the area.
Those towns that failed to invest in their futures have suffered from an eroding tax base, shuttered stores, job loss and lower wages. One has only to look at some of Rhode Island’s villages and the industrial centers which touch upon our community for evidence that neglect, poor planning and the absence of investment contribute to the decline of once thriving towns
Ballot #3 is giving us the choice of saving the cost of a take-out meal for future job security and the quality of life which the CPA helps provide.