I write to clarify the article on the Danville Senior Citizens Housing, Inc. in the September issue.
The land on which our units were built was purchased from Mary and John Farnham in 1966. The gift by Monsignor William Fox was land south of Route 2, east of the Catholic Church. The sale of that land was a significant help in paying off our mortgage early in 1989.
The project was indeed inspired by the men's group at the Congregational Church, but spread to include representation by all the churches in order to secure a Farmers Home Administration loan, which was the first such project by FmHA in their Vermont-NewHampshire district.
Other factors which enabled us to pay off the loan in 22 years instead of 50 years included: lots of “sweat equity” work by volunteers; reimbursement for over-billing from CVPS, reduced property taxes by the town, interest on restricted funds mandated by the FmHA loan, and higher rent payments for those tenants with Section VIII housing assistance.
As soon as the loan was paid off, the town increased our property taxes, so that by 1990 we were paying taxes at 100 percent of our appraised value.
Although being debt free has helped to keep our rent low for the past 30 years, we believe we must borrow again in order to keep our charges reasonable in the future as heating costs increase. We are anticipating overall about $130,000 for our improvements, of which our share will be $105,000. It is striking that the amount we intend to borrow now is about the same as what it cost to build the project fifty-three years ago.