Taxpayers will bear the burden

I’m writing this op-ed as this is the last chance to give an opposing view regarding the proposed Performing Arts Center before Election Day.

On Tuesday, we will have a referendum question (which I’m opposing) that is NON-BINDING:

“Shall the Board of Alderman pass the following resolution authorizing the Mayor and Board of Alderman to issue bonds not to exceed the amount of fifteen million five hundred thousand ($15,500,000) for the Performing Arts Center.”

The people should vote against the Performing Arts Center, which will cost us, the taxpayer, $15.5 million or more, plus the purchase of the Alec Shoe Store building and the store expansion.

We have listened to many arguments of why this Performing Art Center is needed in Nashua. We are told it will contribute to economic growth for downtown. Also, we were told it will keep our young folks in town and bring many to Nashua. What we need to think about is economic growth that will bring in new companies and residents for the city.

Our biggest concerns are: Why is there no art community fundraising? The citizens of Nashua, some who already are taxed to the max will be forced to pay for this bond. We don’t even know who will pay 11 staffers to run the facility, and we don’t know who will pay for benefits, pensions and other expenses. There are insurance, liabilities and maintenance costs to be considered.

Parking is problematic in the downtown. The cost of parking and safety issues as well as space also are problematic. Would we have to pay more for expansion of garages?

How can the mayor and BOA assure the taxpayers that costs will not be acquired when we also have at least two schools in need of major repairs, which total at least $60 million-plus dollars for Elm Street School and Mt. Pleasant School?

Elected officials want it all at taxpayer’s expense. People must, in this city, PRIORITZE THE NEEDS AND NOT THE WANTS FOR NASHUA.

Paula Johnson is a former member of the Board of Education, Board of Alermen and state representative.