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Sewers Could Impact Development and Grand List

Town must tackle the decision of whether or not to promote an area with potential for development.


At last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Public Works Director Fred Hurley made a presentation suggesting that installing sewers in the Mount Pleasant/ Route 6 area could be an economic boon to the town.

Hurley said if sewers were installed in that area, it could increase the development possibilities at little to no cost to the town.

“The point we are trying to make money is that there will be enough new revenue coming in from assessments or taxes, or a combination of the two ‘that this project could go forward with little or no impact on Town cash flow and substantial new revenue potential.’”

According to Hurley, the area could benefit from installing or hooking up sewers. “When the Homestead came in, all we had to do was build the system, and it was entirely paid for by the subdivision,” he said.

Hurley said that without sewers, development in that area has been a hard sell. “Opportunities have been lost due to the lack of sewers. It has been hard to market that area without additional sewers.” 

Director of Economic and Community Development Liz Stocker said that development in that area is a very relevant topic.

“With sewer capacity, it could increase development potential through zoning, and could actually allow for future development. There has even been discussions to allow multifamily housing.”

However, Hurley warned, “There is no guarantee there is enough revenue to fund the project. If that undeveloped land can hold that value, we need to know that. But if it can’t, we need to know that, too.” 

Hurley said that he believes that development there has the potential to broaden the tax base.  

First Selectman Patricia Llodra said that about nine months ago, “We started looking at our Grand List to see how we compare with other communities in our District Reference Group.”

She said that with the exception of Madison, Newtown was unique in that “only 7.4% of our Grand List comes from a commercial/industrial base.”

With concern for developing the rural area, Llodra said, “Unless we are willing to challenge that, we are not going to tackle this larger issue of taxation.”

“Growth has to be managed very carefully, and I think we can do that,” she said. “We have to be willing to see our area of town being primed for development.”

Llodra noted that Exit 9 is the last real viable exit for purchase off of Interstate 84. “We have to really look at this and raise the hard issues, look at the impact on the town’s culture, community, the values," she said. "We have to put that all on the table.” 

After the meeting, Rev. Barry Fredericks, of the Grace Family Church, said that installing sewers in that area of town would be an asset to their moving forward with building a new church.  

Liam Heller September 24, 2012 at 06:02 PM
By spending a butt-load of money on new computer monitors, better organic food, Smartboards, more teachers/less kids in the classrooms, providing air conditioning or a new furnace, etc... It's not going to magically make a child listen better. It's not going to miraculously make a child WANT to learn. It's not going to allow the day to flow faster and more efficiently. Get rid of teacher's unions and allow the teachers to teach. Revolutionize how children are separated into "classes" and stop assuming that their age is ANY indicator of what level of learning they're capable of. Stop branding them with the belief that they need to begin setting themselves up for college as soon as they're in middle school. Allow children to express themselves creatively, instead of forcing them all to follow a single curriculum that's controlled by a governing body! Let the TEACHERS teach and keep the government the HELL out of schools! Allowing an excess of money to flow through a public school, is going to accomplish NOTHING except give those who have access to that money, a means to waste it. "Stupid in America"... http://youtu.be/Bx4pN-aiofw
Liam Heller September 24, 2012 at 06:02 PM
You want more money for schools? You want more money for the roads? You want more money to relocate the police station? You want more money to maintain the parks? You want more money to put air conditioning into Hawley? You want more money to renovate Fairfield Hills the way you want? Then put sewers into the areas where we can entice commercial businesses into Newtown, so that THEY can pay our taxes and THEY can provide us with the revenue to do all these things, without taking money out of OUR pockets.
Claudia Cooper October 07, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Why do you think that increased development will lower our taxes? Look at neighboring Monroe, which is clogged up and down Rt. 25 and Rt. 111 now. Are their taxes any lower? I don't think so.
Liam Heller October 07, 2012 at 02:26 PM
When a business moves into a town, it doesn't bring children along with it, who need to be enrolled in schools or be driven back and forth on buses. If there isn't any extra strain on the town budget to accommodate the needs that a family would demand, then those taxes go straight to paying for what we've been paying, as families. Taxes placed onto businesses are the equivalent of "free money" to the town. That money goes directly into the town's needs, without the side-effects. Monroe's commercial section (up and down route 25 and that small section of 111) have been that way for decades. It's zoned that way. Their planning and zoning department chose to keep it that way. The rest of Monroe is mostly residential, with hidden industrial/office parks scattered here and there. Their taxes ARE lower than Newtown's and their residents aren't shouldering nearly ALL of their tax burden themselves, like we are here in Newtown.
Liam Heller October 07, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Monroe has more to offer to their residents, by having more money available from their taxes. It's the businesses that allow that. Not that their budgets get approved all the time, but at least they HAVE the money to throw around. WE don't. Yet somehow we have the money to waste, with no accountability as to where it's gone??? >: \ I'd prefer have more business here, to offset OUR expenses. If it'll keep our taxes getting raised unnecessarily AGAIN, even with a 1.3 million dollar surplus that's laid in our laps AFTER the residents voted to raise our taxes!!! >: ( Town's NEVER lower taxes, even when they promise they will. Once they've got that money, they ALWAYS find another way to spend it. >: ( Which is why we need to do whatever WE can, to make sure our taxes stop getting raised unnecessarily, AGAIN.

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