Letter: Let Handshy deal expire

To the Editor:

The Ridgefield Press devoted 1,742 words, including an editorial, in support of additional Charter Group housing on Sunset Lane. I am allowed 300 words for rebuttal.

The July 6 editorial concluded: a $917,000 debt remains on Schlumberger. By selling the additional acre to house six more buildings, Ridgefield would cover the shortfall; a good thing.

What the editorial doesn't say is that $791,000 of that is over and above what we, taxpayers, originally approved for the Schlumberger project.

The very next week (7/13) The Press published a story headlined “$1.6 million surplus is likely.”

Hello! Looks like the entire $917,000 Shortfall just got resolved without further development. And there’s half a million left over.

A possible argument: The continuing reduction of state aid is forcing budget economies. We need more surplus to reduce increased tax rates.

My counter argument: How about constructing town and school budgets without eyeing surpluses to mask the real costs to taxpayers?  

Marconi: “What [the money] represents is the potential to pay off the balance of that property [...]

No ... That's a red herring. Proceeds from the sale would primarily pay off the $751,000 overage, already spent.

How about privatizing the golf course with an agreement that it remains a golf course? Alternatively, how about leasing it?

The point is, alternatives are available instead of cramming more houses in at Schlumberger.

More from the Press: “The Board of Selectmen accepted [The Citizen's Committee] final report [...] that any property sale be considered only for uses compatible with the amphitheater/stage concert. Selling off the additional acre would “reduce on-site parking and move residences closer to the concert area.”

So how would you like sitting on your sofa 40 feethand away from a concert?

“We think it’s a unique opportunity,” Handshy (developer) said, “but it’s got limited duration.”

Good. Let it expire.

Jan Rifkinson