'People deserve answers before decisions are made'

To the Editor:

Should we spend millions of tax dollars on a building for community use?

Should we move town services off the Village Green?

Which town buildings should be sold: Catherine E. Lillis Administration Building on East Street or John Pettibone School?

What is the cost to renovate and operate these facilities?

The people of New Milford deserve answers before decisions are made.

In my opinion, the Board of Finance did the right thing at their last meeting by insisting on a complete analysis of the proposed JPS renovation prior to approving any supplemental spending.

As a registered Democrat, I do not feel this was partisan politics.

Now it is up to the Town Council to uphold that decision or overturn it.

They should uphold the decision until a comprehensive analysis of the tradeoffs, both direct and indirect, is completed and they have had time to study it thoroughly.

What are the tradeoffs?

The argument is being made by the mayor that moving town services and departments to JPS is “better for the town” than making the Lillis building and the Richmond Citizen Center ADA compliant.

He has also said that both buildings are out of space.

There have been professional studies done in the past for JPS renovations, but those are being dismissed as “too grand, too expensive.”

Maybe the dollar amounts are not quite accurate, but the items are reasonable, given the age of the structure: a new roof, new windows, upgrades to the HVAC system, installation of central air for year-round occupancy, repair of exterior brick walls and chimneys, and a sprinkler system for safety.

When one speaks of tradeoffs, you also have to consider the significant impact to our Village Green and the businesses located there.

Has anyone quantified the impact of moving 40 to 50 jobs on or very near the Village Green to Route 7?

Has anyone quantified the impact of the program participants no longer coming to the Village Green?

Social Services, Parks & Rec, and Youth Agency program participants number in the hundreds. It’s hard to imagine that our coffee shops, restaurants, and businesses like CVS will not feel the impact of losing these customers; people who are looking for a quick bite or to run out for that last minute greeting card or a gift.

The Town Council is going to be asked to vote to overturn the BOF decision and move ahead with a piecemeal appropriation potentially as early as Monday.

We, the town, should insist that the Town Council be given a comprehensive analysis and the time to study that analysis appropriately.

Please email or write to the mayor and Town Council, expressing your support for good town decisions based on facts, all the facts.

Lisa C. Hida

New Milford