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Letter to the Editor: Supports the DPW Facility Proposal

To the Editor:

After considering the options I am writing to support the Board of Selectmen’s recommendation to locate a new DPW facility on the present River Road site.

As a member of the previous BOS this site was not believed to be an available alternative. Now viable, I believe it makes the most sense based on needs, fiscal responsibility, and the failed attempts to relocate the facility.

This may not be the ideal solution but likely is the most practical. Our Waste Water Treatment plant is going nowhere else and my own experience indicates that the DPW and enjoyment of the river can co-exist. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: We Can Make Our Garage Safe and Be Fiscally Responsible

Comment: To the Editor:

Driving through Canton it’s hard to miss the “Garage yes, but not on our river” signs. They always leave me puzzled. We have a town garage, currently on our river and the river has not suffered by its proximity. In all the intense and emotional arguments I heard about the Garage I’ve never heard any facts that stated the Garage and it’s activities have done any damage to the river. It’s a testament to the commitment and skill of our Public Works Department that they have taken such good care of the river while also taking such good care of our town. The ‘not on our river’ arguments seem to revolve around the current and proposed Garage structures being unsightly as viewed from the river.   … Continue Reading

Public Hears Details of Preliminary TIF Master Plan for Collins Co. Complex

By John Fitts

On Thursday evening, representatives from Camoin Associates presented the public with a preliminary Tax Increment Financing Plan for the Collins Company Complex.

Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is the process in which a town, for a period of time, allows a portion of the increased property tax revenues generated by a project to go back into the project and/or related improvements and/or administrative costs.

For the past several months, the company has been working with a town-appointed TIF Steering Committee to develop a preliminary master plan for the 19-acre complex, the former site of the Collins Company, a world-famous manufacturer of edge tools that operated from the 1820s to 1966.

Currently Colliers is listing the property, on behalf of At Collinsville, for $3.9 million. Currently there are dozens of businesses in the complex but town officials have been frustrated for years at the lack of redevelopment of the complex, some of which is deteriorating to various degrees.

On Thursday, Jim Damicis, senior vice president at Camoin, shared an overview of TIF, the process for the town and the idea that a public-private partnership could help spur redevelopment at the complex.

The company estimates the property could generate more than a million in annual taxes. Today it generates approximately $32,000.

Damicis said a project could help the town diversify its job market and tax base and preserve a historic and beautiful asset in it’s the village downtown.

“This represents a significant opportunity for Canton,” he said. … Continue Reading

Hearing for Track and Field Lights Set for Nov. 2

lightsBy John Fitts 
CANTON — On Nov. 2, the Planning and Zoning Commission will host a public hearing on permanent lights at the high school track and field facility.
The Canton School district has filed an application to install four permanent poles with lighting at the facility. In the application, Canton Schools director of facilities Dwight Carlson said the plan is to erect two 80-foot metal poles on the west side of the field and two 90-foot poles on the east side.  Musco lighting has performed a photometric survey so the commission and neighbors can review any potential impact.
The district is looking to utilize the lights until 10 p.m. for certain games, and on rare occasions (overtime) until 11:30 p.m. It is also asking for the option to hold up to 2 special events per year, which could involve reduced lighting levels for all-night events. If it approves the application, the Planning and Zoning Commission could in theory modify those request and/or set other conditions of use.

… Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: ‘Our Town Garage Not On The River – Really!’

To the Editor:

We, the residents of Canton, are stuck in a lengthy, multi-layered imbroglio about where to build the new town garage.  There are many issues which have risen to the surface in the years that we have been struggling to find a pathway to implement this very critical upgrade, and the present one is the Farmington River – or not!

We’ve been at this for more than 10 years, with proposals and plans that have matured to ballot questions more than once.  We’ve been asked to support a new garage in three or four locations with well-developed project plans for each.  Those proposals have suffered defeat for a variety of reasons – a location near somebody’s backyard, the cost of acquiring the needed parcel of land or a design that was considered too extravagant. … Continue Reading

First Selectman’s Corner: Preliminary TIF Plan Presentation is Thursday

 

Leslee Hill

Leslee Hill

Dear Canton Residents,

This year, the Town has been looking at ways to incentivize redevelopment of the historic Collins Company property (the “Axe Factory”) in Collinsville.  At the Annual Town Meeting in January, we heard a presentation on Tax Increment Financing, which is linked here:

Since then, the Town used grant funds to hire a consultant to prepare a preliminary TIF master plan. This preliminary plan can be presented to potential developers, to describe what incentives the Town may be willing to provide them. This preliminary plan will be presented to the public by the consultant on Thursday evening, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Community Center, Room F. Below are some FAQs regarding Tax Increment Financing (“TIF”).  … Continue Reading

Second Political Action Committee Formed Around Public Works Facility Project

September 27, 2016 Environment, Government No Comments
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There are now two political action committees that have formed to take a position on the proposal to rebuild the public works facility at its current site.

Updated with links. 

By John Fitts 

A second political action committee (PAC) has been formed surrounding the proposal for a $3.825 million public works facility at the current site of 50 Old River Road.

Filed on Sept. 23, Canton GOES (Canton Garage on Existing Site) is promoting a yes vote for the Nov. 8 referendum.

The town is looking to bond for a facility of approximately 14,217 square feet facility. The plan calls for more than 11,000 square feet of storage with a maintenance area, lift and dedicated wash bay. It also includes lowering the ballfield for floodplain mitigation, a new salt storage shed, partial demolition of the existing facility and a public restroom.  … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: Win-Win or Win-Lose

September 26, 2016 Government, Opinion, Referendum No Comments

To the Editor: 

Judging from the many comments at Town meetings and the “Not On Our River” yard signs exhibited by many residents, passage of the referendum will not produce a Win-Win result but rather a Win-Lose.  The Win will approve the construction of the much-needed garage. The Lose part of that equation will be the garage’s location.

The original study by the Town’s Permanent Municipal Building Committee (PMBC) was to identify sites that would be large enough for an approximately 20,000 sf. facility. Board of Selectmen, to address the cost factor for the garage, subsequently reduced the size to slightly less than 15,000 sf. – a reduction in size of approximately 25 percent. It is extremely noteworthy that the BOS DID NOT recharge the PMBC with finding sites for the proposed smaller garage.

On May 6, 2016 the PMBC provided a report to the BOS that listed 7 preferable sites for the garage, and strongly recommended against rebuilding at 50 River Road.  Since then, the 25% reduction in the garage’s size has opened up other potential sites – but the PMBC has not been allowed to research them. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: ‘We Should Not Make a Decision Out of Desperation’

To the Editor:

First, I can understand the Town’s administration support of building the Town garage on the present site, they see their employees working under terrible conditions and their expensive equipment exposed to the elements, they are desperate for a solution.

We should not make a decision out of desperation!

Whatever we do about a new Town garage is going to be a long-term fix. The present facility has been in use since there was a Town garage and the next facility will be used for at least fifty years. … Continue Reading

Idea of Rebuilding Public Works Facility at Current Site Remains Controversial

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Not On Our River PAC launches web site, facebook page

By John Fitts 

CANTON — As residents ready to head to the polls this November, the issue of the town’s Public Works facility has managed to take some attention from the increasingly bizarre presidential race.

For more than 10 years the issue of a new – or expanded – Public Works facility has generated controversy in town, largely due to disagreements on cost and potential locations. Personality conflicts and ethical charges have also been a factor and Board of Selectmen members have urged residents to keep the tone civil.

This time around, the subject surrounds the idea of rebuilding the facility at its current 50 Old River Road location. On Tuesday, Nov. 8, residents will be asked whether the town should “bond” in the amount of $3.825 million to fund a new facility at the site. Selling municipal bonds is essentially the town’s way to borrow funds and pay off the project over 20 years.

Town officials say the debt payment would be highest in the first year – $328,875 – and, in that year have an impact of $72 for the owner of an average” home assessed at $238,832. The town’s payment would be $289,750 the next five years and continue to drop from there, according to the town’s numbers.

The current plan, drafted with the assistance of Fuss & O’Neill, is a modification of one that town staff developed earlier this year. The conceptual plan calls for a 25-foot high facility of approximately 14,217 square feet, with more than 11,000 of that being for storage with a maintenance area, lift and wash bay. The plan also includes lowering the ballfield for floodplain mitigation, a new salt storage shed, partial demolition of the existing facility and a public restroom.

Plans for a new access road from Route 179 and river access were removed from the conceptual plan but the town worded the proposal in a way that some those improvements and/or others, such as better separation of the current roadway and Farmington River Trail, could be included if there’s adequate funding.

Last week, the Political Action Committee (PAC), Not On Our River, announced that it had launched a web site, www.CantonNotOnOurRiver.org, and facebook page (Not On Our River) as part of its campaign to defeat the plan. … Continue Reading

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