Says vibrant community will help tax base

To the Editor:

This is in reponse to Tom Morey’s letter published in the Sept. 1 Spectrum.

Tom, with all due respect.

Yes, reuse of the John Pettibone school will require some costs. It needs some new wiring because the previous administration was in such a hurry to see that it went to a private developer, some of the wiring was torn out ASAP.

By saying “some estimate the cost of renovations at $10 to $12 million” could mean that, in fact, some do.

I can state “some estimate the cost at nothing or a billion dollars.”

Common sense tells us it should be much much less than millions. After all, it was little more that a year ago our children filled the building every school day without incident.

You say “It was our Board of Education that ultimately decided to close JPS.”

Well that BOE has had a sea change in the last election, primarily due to exactly this bad decision.

The same is true for the mayor’s office and town council. This was a very prominent plank in Mayor David Grohnbach’s platform. Perhaps the most prominent.

You say “It is time to move on and sell the JPS land and buildings.”

Yes, it is time to move on. Not to sell JPS (what a plum for some developer!) but to move on with the will of the people as clearly demonstrated in the the last election, and create a home for town service and agencies, the BOE, the Youth Agency, continuing education, the Community Culinary School of Northwestern Connecticut, Parks and Rec, the library, as well as a civic center. Something a town the size of New Milford is way overdue in creating.

And should additional school space be need, we don’t have to start from scratch.

Finally, Tom, you make a fiscal argument that we are desperate for tax base.

You say that the decline in the grand list “is the equivalent of building 200 new homes with an assessed value of $250,000 each or building three new large shopping centers.”

Every study I have seen indicates that sprawl is the problem, not the solution.

Yes, a home adds to the grand list, but usually even more to the burden on services. So the grand list goes up but it is out stripped by the budget increase.

After two or thee decades of go-go development, I know of some individuals who pay more taxes on New Milford properties than comparable properties found in adjacent towns and have less value in the property to boot.

What will help out tax base?

First of all, reform of past mistakes and the pursuit of smart growth, but most importantly a vibrant community that people and businesses want to be in and buy into with a jewel of a civic center offering multiple services.

John Kane

New Milford

Urges Social Security protection

To the Editor:

With the national campaign for presidential and legislative candidates ramping up and getting more press, one topic I do not hear much about is how our elected candidates will ensure we continue to have a strong Social Security in place so that our children and future generations will have Social Security to help them when they retire.

As a retiree, I am fortunate to collect the Social Security benefits I earned after commuting and working long hours in my career.

These are benefits earned by the weekly deductions my employers took from my paycheck.

What concerns me is the future of Social Security as we know it — our society and economy have changed very much since Social Security was passed in 1935.

We need our elected candidates at the national level to demonstrate leadership in reforming Social Security.

If no reforms are made to Social Security, according to the Social Security trustees, people paying into the system now and in the future will see the benefits earned cut by as much as $10,000 a year by 2034.

Please contact your legislators and ask them for their plan to keep the Social Security program strong for the future.

Make some calls — even contact them through their website — to ask the questions that will benefit your children and grandchildren.

Kathy L. Null

Bridgewater

Art Walk drew more than 500

To the Editor:

The New Milford Art Walk, hosted by the New Milford Commission for the Arts and Gallery 25 Creative Arts Studio, recently drew more than 500 people to downtown New Milford.

The event showcased the works of 25 local photographers, artisans, craftspersons and contemporary and traditional fine artists, each uniquely situated inside downtown businesses.

Fineline Theater Arts did an improvisational performance to the also improvisational sounds of Justin Emerson.

More than $5,545 in art sales took place.

“Business was up during the entire time,” according to one shopkeeper.

At the end of the day, the group Songhorse played to what was the best-attended summer concert on the Village Green this season.

We, the organizers, want to cultivate partnerships between downtown businesses and local artists which, in turn, promote local commerce.

If you wish to view and admire much of the work that was on display, do a search for “The New Milfordite — Positive Vibes” group on FaceBook, where a growing number of albums are under development.

Lacee Yurtoglu

Kayla Ek

Event directors

New Milford Art Walk

Diane Dubreuil

Chairwoman

New Milford Commission on the Arts