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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

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

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

Letter to the Editor: Public Works Proposal is ‘Necessary, Practical and Achievable’

September 21, 2016 Government, Opinion, Referendum No Comments

To the Editor,

As a taxpayer I believe I have the responsibility to speak up, both for myself, and perhaps for others reluctant to speak in support of the Town’s public works facility rehabilitation proposal. As every resident well knows, there is a very vocal and public campaign to defeat the proposal, yet it is unclear that a majority of residents agree with that opposition. The upcoming referendum will hopefully settle the matter.

I support the proposal because I see it as necessary, practical and achievable. I also believe it to be inappropriate to use this issue as a vehicle to achieve other community ends, no matter how desirable such ends may be.

These are not ordinary times. The entire nation’s, and especially Connecticut’s, economy remains weak, and state and local governments struggle to provide for their needs, and responsibly must defray their wants, in the hope of better economic conditions in the future.  … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: Rebuilding Town Garage on River Contradicts Town’s Vision

September 19, 2016 Government, Opinion, Referendum No Comments

To the Editor:

Still on the river?

This contradicts the Town vision for enhancing our famed resource.

Yes. We need a new Town Garage.  Our fine staff works diligently to keep our roads safe.  They and their machines are currently housed in a disintegrating building which does not protect them or the Town’s investment in very expensive vehicles.

But where should we put the new facility?  Some say, Well, it has always been near the river and that hasn’t been a problem.

Just because we have not properly cared for our valuable natural resource – our river – in the past, is no excuse for continuing to encroach on it and diminish it from being used as a recreational treasure. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: Not an Option

September 14, 2016 Opinion, Referendum No Comments

To the Editor

NOT an option.  The Farmington River should not be compromised because 50 Old River Road is perceived to be the only site for the town garage.

I can think of two iconic images that frame the upper Collinsville Pond.

Picture Town Bridge at dawn with the mist rising off the river as a great blue heron takes flight.  On the opposite end, picture the spillway of the dam framed by the red ax factory buildings of the Collins Company. This section of the river is what defines our village. … Continue Reading

Public Works Facility Fails at Canton Referendum

Photo by John Fitts

Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts

The Proposal to bond $4.78 million for a new Public Works Facility and related costs at 325 Commerce Drive failed at referendum Tuesday by a vote of 2,515 to 1,806.

First Selectman Richard Barlow said he wanted to thank the Permanent Municipal Building Committee for working on the issue for so many years.

“On behalf of the Board of Selectmen, I’d like to thank the PMBC for all their hard work,” Barlow said.

He also said he’d wanted to “apologize to the public works employees for the inability to bring them an appropriate facility.”

He said the Board of Selectmen will confer with the PMBC and figure out the next steps. The PMBC meets Wednesday night.

Resident Lou Daniels was one resident who opposed the project and backed the concept of a combined fire station/public works facility at 51 River Road. That idea was not on the ballot but brought forward by a group of citizens several weeks before the election.

“The people spoke,” Daniels said. “I think this is a clear indication again that the site wasn’t right and the project wasn’t right.” … Continue Reading

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