To the Editor:
Voters at the annual Great Barrington Town Meeting will be asked to consider Article 22, a citizens’ petition that would make it unlawful to sell non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serve containers (plastic bottles) 34 ounces or less. The penalty for any business in the Town of Great Barrington and the Village of Housatonic violating this bylaw would be fines from $50 – $200 dollars per day.
Section 3. Enforcement shall be the responsibility of the Town Manager or designee shall determine inspection process. During budget hearing we been told that departments doing inspections are over worked and additional manpower is needed. Now town merchants better known as businesses that hire people like all of us are paying outrageous taxes. Are we prepared to take additional revenue from the businesses we depend on to ensure a vibrant community?
This article doesn’t address the surrounding towns that are not prohibited from the sale of plastic bottled water. Are we going to police every tourist walking on Main Street? This article wants to eliminate plastic bottles. What’s next? Soda or energy drinks in plastic bottles?
The people pushing this article said businesses could install fill stations to allow for filling nonplastic containers. This would establish additional cost and hardship to our businesses. It was also suggested that drinking stations in public areas could be installed outside. What about freezing pipes?
Please attend the [town] meeting. Our town is changing and not always for the good. If we are not vigilant, we will destroy our community from within.
The writer is chairman of the Great Barrington Republican Town Committee.