RUTLAND - Hold on to your hats. The City of Rutland is gearing up for another controversial bout over the Giorgetti Arena bond-this time, a group of city voters have called for a revote on the controversial recreation center.
A group of Rutland voters called for the revote on the bond late last month. As a result, their petition may force the issue back to the voters in order to decide the fate of the $3.9 million bond.
The TownMeeting Day bond vote would expand the current Giorgetti facilities into a recreation center.
The revote petition was completed in less than two weeks. Many angry registered city voters signed the petition
A petition to trigger a revote on any bond within the City of Rutland first requires signatures from nearly 600 registered voters.
At press time, it appeared revote petitioners had gathered 750 voter signatures by the March 29 deadline.
Rutland City Clerk Henry Heck is the city officials charged with accepting or rejecting the petition.
Heck told reporters last week that he did not remember when the city last had a revote call, howwver, Mayor Christopher Louras said the city's last petition for a revote was over a controversial municipal water fluoridation plan back in 1982.
Heck cautioned that he and his staff will need to inspect all the petition signatures before confirming the result; if the names are all valid, then a special election will be called within 60 days of the petition deadline.
Establishing the authenticity of 750 names is no easy task.
In March, voters closely approved the Giorgetti bond 1,710 to 1,603.
Rutland resident and voter James Mattison, one of the major petitioners of the effort, said the bond was pushed through rapidly for Town Meeting Day.
"This administration complains about potholes, antique sewer systems, and water pipes that are ready to explode," Mattison said.
He said the mayor and the city administration needs to look at basic infrastructure like crumbling roads and failing bridges before spending money on a luxury item like a multi-million dollar recreation center.
Meanwhile, plans for the new center appear to be moving ahead.
Last week, members of the Rutland Recreation Committee decide to go ahead and post the city's request to solicit engineering proposals for the center. However, if the city clerk's office ends up certifiying the petition signatures, then city officials will halt the proposal work.
Meanwhile, Mayor Louras wants the rec center committee to move ahead, business as usual.
The mayor said he still hopes ground will be broken on the new center this August. If a revote is called, he said, he believes the bond would be approved by a majority of city voters.