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Can Montpelier afford a Planning Department?

The city of Montpelier is looking for a new director for the Planning and Community Development department.

The last director was fired, in part, because of her outspoken support for a public bank in Vermont. So it goes without saying, the new director better not get too political.

Rather than hiring someone else to lead the planning department and its $350,000 budget and $500,000 in grants, should City Hall leaders consider whether Montpelier even needs a planning department?

I'm not going to argue that those working in the planning department are doing a bad job. But perhaps the city manager, mayor and city council should consider whether investing $350,000 into community development and land use issues is more important than repairing the city's roads, sidewalks, bridges and retaining walls.

I'm not convinced we should get rid of the planning department, but the bombed out roads in the Capital City are embarrassing, dangerous and lead to expensive car repairs.

I don't know how many roads can be repaired with $350,000, but there's no shortage of work to be done. But I guess, the city could just keep borrowing money or raise property taxes to get the city's infrastructure under control.

But if you're interested in making about $68,000 a year running the planning department, you can check out the ad here. If you get an interview just don't mention public banking. If it does come up, say you hate the idea because it's communism straight from the pit of hell.