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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Letters to the Editor regarding Simpson Court Parking

These are the letters to the editor of the Record Journal regarding the Simpson Court Parking issue as published on Tuesday October 18, 2011

Equal Investment

Editor: Steven Knight wrote regarding the Simpson Court parking lot issue that it will be “Thirty years before any investment the town makes would convey to them” (private property owners). If the town spends $500,000 in tax money that improves the value of the property, the owners could market and sell (with the lease restrictions) for more than it is worth presently because repairs and upgrades will have been done with the tax dollars. If this is such a great deal, Wallingford and the property owners both should make an equal investment.

Visit Get the facts and vote November 14.

Bad decision

Editor: Concerning the owners of the land and buildings on Simpson Court in Wallingford: All the owners have been charging and taking in lease/rent money from their tenants for years if not decades: restaurants, real estate companies, spas, retail stores, etc. — that is their right. Their privately-owned land behind their privately-owned buildings has been in need of repairs and maintenance for a long time. These owners have had and still have the responsibility to address needed repairs, and pay for them. A safe, well lit, pothole-free parking area is a necessity. The owners have failed all parties, except themselves — and for what reasons? (More profits, no responsibility?) And they want us to pick up the tab.

Town money used for this project, whether it be taken from the Electric, Water/Sewer Division or any department, is taxpayers’ money, not money to be used for private property enhancement.

The town can still lease a strip of the area going from Center Street across to Church Street, maintain it properly and continue to allow public use. Have any of the building and land owners come forth with a plan to pool some of their “profits” and have their property repaired? I doubt it.

It’s really so simple: they own, they should pay, as we taxpayers pay for our home improvements. If they haven’t come forth and will not come forth, then vote “yes” to repeal this very bad decision made by our mayor and council.


Knows better?

Editor: With regard to the letter from a Wallingford council person (R-J, 10-8), I would like to make one small point: Not one — not one — of the people involved in the current referendum, nor the referendum concerning the Wooding-Caplan property, was in any way, shape or form, involved in the referendum on the location of the Park and Recreation facility — an effort so poorly organized, and orchestrated that not even then members of the Park and Rec Commission, nor members of the then Council, can even remember it. Had any of the people currently active in exercising their civil rights (and duties) been involved, we can all be assured that Park and Rec would never have been located on the outskirts of Wallingford (where many of those most in need of it can’t easily get to it), but rather in town (old Simpson School property?) where it belonged.

While government almost always thinks it knows better than the people, it very often doesn’t.


Editor: Like Alfred E. Neuman, the supporters of the Simpson Court parking scheme would have the public say, “What, me worry?” about the funds that are being spent to improve and make safe the rear Simpson Court lot.

“Don’t worry,” they say, “these are electric division funds!” Not true. These funds were paid to the town by the electric division, in lieu of their paying taxes, and these are town funds to be used on capital projects of the town. “The assessed values of the properties will go up, and therefore we will get more tax dollars!” Not true, either. There has never been a report to the Town Council that the assessed values will go up, and the mayor himself has questioned that representation. “But, with the lease, it is not really private property.” Not really true, either. There are 130 parking spaces planned to be in the lot and, under the lease, the four property owners are being given 90 parking passes for people of their choosing (instead of the town monitoring to whom the passes are given). “The property owners can’t afford to pay anything to light or to help make their property safe!” Since when is it the role of our local government to pay to make other people’s property safe? When and where does this slippery slope ever end?

Isn’t this just like the bailouts of GM and AIG? Why isn’t this money being used to add additional parking (at least temporarily) or possibly even lighting, to the town-owned Wooding-Caplan property? Why couldn’t we use a portion of these funds to rehabilitate the American Legion building, (which is also owned by the town)? Please don’t be fooled by the misrepresentations. The terms of this deal
are so one-sided and unfair! RHONDA B. FISHBEIN, WALLINGFORD


Public money

Editor: Our mayor and town council have once again shown their disdain for the taxpayers of Wallingford by essentially giving 500K in public money to the private investors that own Simpson Court buildings so that they may improve their property while getting nothing in return. The leasing arrangement that dates back over 40 years has always been a bad deal, and now it is even worse. The town gets to maintain the parking lot area (repairs, snow removal, etc.) for the next 30 years, all in exchange for calling 30 spaces “municipal parking.“ It has never been demonstrated that these parking spaces are usually used by anyone other than customers of Simpson Court businesses. Additionally, it sets a poor precedent that will permit the mayor to implement his stated goal of replicating this deal with other building owners who have parking lots in need of improvement in the uptown/downtown area. Add this $500K to the other $10 million in off-budget spending planned this year, and the “good times keep rolling” in
Wallingford. This must stop! PAUL CIARDULLO SR., WALLINGFORD


Editor: Don’t be fooled by a lot of double-talk and “save our town” bunk! Simply put: the town council voted (9/13) to spend one-half million dollars of your hard-earned taxpayer money to upgrade the parking lot behind Simpson Court between the bank and the Masonicowned building — money coming from the Electric Division. Question: your electric rate go up recently? This property is privately owned! This decision could possibly open up Pandora’s Box. What’s to prevent any other private enterprise in Wallingford from “demanding” to have their lot upgraded, as well?

A number of taxpayers have already asked me the same question: How ‘bout fixing up my lot? Come on, get in line for a great deal — the town’s picking up the tab.

My understanding, based on what I’m told, is that three of four properties in question may be up for sale; but if that happens to be so, I’m sure they’ll hold off, awaiting the free taxpayer-funded upgrade in order to get an enhanced price for their property. Vote a resounding Y-E-S to prevent this nightmare from happening! It’s your money. Talk about “facts! The above facts are worth pondering.

Also, voting day for the referendum is the 14th of November. Mark your calendar. Voting places have also been changed. You should receive
notification in the mail. ROBERT HOGAN, WALLINGFORD

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