Believes mayor has had Pettibone plan all along

To the Editor:

I love the quote from Mayor Pat Murphy, of New Milford, in a recent edition of The Spectrum regarding the transfer of control of John Pettibone School from the Board of Education to the town.

She said rumors about what the land would be used for will be strictly conjecture.

Her quote was "I've got nothing in my back pocket. It's fun for people to make up all kinds of stuff, but that's not happening. We haven't reviewed it yet and we won't until we take it over."

Well, she may have nothing in her back pocket, but her front pockets are probably overflowing with plans for the site.

I have yet to meet a politician who didn't have a plan set up for what they want to do. And this mayor is a very adept politician with a plan.

In the article, she talked about the need to use the land for commercial purposes. Isn't that a plan?

Look at all the open space along Route 7 that was converted to stores and mini malls. Look at all the new positions for economic growth and her assistants to help in this matter. Isn't that a plan? Her constant focus on economic growth over funding for better roads, smaller class size and better services for our townspeople, isn't that a plan?

Why does a school have to be closed to provide savings, which will be debatable in the future, so the board can now offer programs for students they couldn't before? Shouldn't we be offering those programs in the budget now? Isn't that a plan?

I just wish we had politicians on all levels who treat the citizens with some respect. The entire Pettibone process has demonstrated this lack of respect.

Let's go back to last year. We heard whispers in town the board was planning to close Pettibone after they received the study on it. The Board said they haven't made up their minds and held meetings to hear the people's concerns before they decided what to do. The concerns were overwhelmingly to either wait a year or not close the school.

The board voted to close.

People heard rumors the board was going to give Pettibone to the town to sell for new commercial business. The board said no decision had been made, and they may use it for educational purposes even though everyone knew it would cost money to keep it open. The board is now transferring it to the town for its use on September 30.

Does this sound as if there wasn't a plan in place from the beginning by our mayor and the leaders of the town?

Every politician talks about transparency but then tries to pull the wool over our eyes with a spin job. It is done at all levels.

If the mayor has nothing in her back pocket, or front pocket, the town council wouldn't sell Pettibone until all voices have been heard and listened to. They will consider renting it out to fine organizations serving our town and youth, organizations such as Robotics and Beyond, the culinary school, the Youth Agency, Village Center for the Arts, the Literacy Volunteers program, etc.

The list of ways the building can be used to enhance the quality of life for the residents of New Milford is endless.

There has to be a commitment by the town's leaders to this and the compassion to carry it through instead of worrying about the tax rate.

The mayor and the town leaders will have an opportunity starting Sept. 30 to prove to us there was nothing in their back pockets last year when this process started.

I think their pockets have been full all along. I hope I'm wrong.

Bill Dahl