Letter: Not the year to double down on operating, capital expenses

To the Editor:

Fortunately for us, Ridgefield had an additional $1 million income this year. And, fortunately for us, there was an extra $1.6 million in the Reserve Fund that could be returned to us, taxpayers. So we had $2.6 million more to spend for operating costs and stay within our means and a flat tax. But, if approved this year, we will spend that $2.6 million, plus an additional $3.6 million funded by increased property taxes.

Moreover, this year — if approved by us, voters —  we are slated to spend more than $5 million in capital expense, about double what we are usually asked to approve. This means our current debt goes up by $2.5 million and our repayment of overall debt will be slowed.  

Included in that $5 million is $950,000 for Recreation Center improvements and upgrades, $500,000 for another parking lot, $235,000 for another new ambulance, $183,000 for another new dump truck and $1.2 million to reconfigure the Venus Building which may be the only capital expense that really makes financial sense.

I submit — that with all the changes in both state reimbursements to the towns and new federal tax laws — that this is not the year to be doubling both our operating and capital expense.

Moody’s is projecting a 4% loss in property value nationally as a result of the new Federal caps on interest and property tax deductions, making it more expensive to live in Ridgefield and harder to sell your home. Ultimately, this is not a good formula in my opinion.

As a result, I think some of the expenses slated for this year can and should be turned back until the financial dust has settled next year, when our uncertain future has become our reality, and we can better judge where we all stand.

Jan Rifkinson

New Road, April 16