Sunday, July 06, 2008

Criteria used for turf grant?

About an hour ago, I sent this email to Council Chairman Matt Hall and cc'ed the rest of the Council:

Hi Matt,

I noticed that a grant for artificial turf is on the agenda. However, having read the supporting documentation that has been provided to me… I’m still not totally clear on how this grant came to fruition. In fact, the whole process seems somewhat murky.

My limited knowledge is that this is “discretionary” funding. Perhaps this is a way of saying it is not being sourced through a typical competitive application process? Regardless, I’m sure we all want transparency in government. So will you invite the relevant state officials to the July 8 meeting to provide us with a detailed explanation of the criteria required in obtaining this grant?

If the appropriate state officials are unavailable, could you please ensure someone at the meeting can provide us with that detailed explanation? Additionally, if the relevant state officials are unavailable, could you provide me with their names/contact details as soon as possible. Perhaps I could speak with them directly to get a detailed explanation of the criteria used in obtaining this grant... and of course, this would have the added benefit of expediting Tuesday's meeting... a request you so often make of Council members.

Anyway, I’m confident the voters will appreciate a better understanding of the process. After all, they may want to request funds for other projects, such as a permanent structure for the pool.

Tim

p.s. Could you also invite someone to speak about the environmental and health concerns? Perhaps Environment & Human Health, Inc. in North Haven would have someone available
?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Tim!

Anonymous said...

If the town council accepts the grant, are we bound to using it specifically for turf? Where is the state finding this money?
I sure hope the people backing this turf have a way of raising the difference as well as replacing it in 8 to 10 years.
I am sure the costs have gone up on this in the past few months, so whatever they thought it may cost 4 months ago can be a lot higher today. This town cannot afford a green elephant, we already have a white one.
So, we can now waste more time on turf study along with bubble study and energy study. We can't afford it all!

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the Attorney General's office doing a review of environmental health issues relative to turf? Shouldn't the town hold off on any decision until findings are complete?

Anonymous said...

CLICK HERE TO SEE ABC NEWS CLIP ON TURF
Once you see this, you will not want our kids playing on this kind of field. More testing needs to be done!

Anonymous said...

Chicage Tribune on May 28, 2008
Doyle, of the synthetic turf council, said lead chromate, the lead compound used to color artificial grass, is present in less than 10 percent of the pigments used, and it is incorporated in the plastic resin, meaning it doesn't wash or flake off.

Focusing on lead misses the point, according to Nancy Alderman, president of Environmental and Human Health Inc., a non-profit health advocacy group in New Haven, Conn., that got involved in the issue after Taylor and other Connecticut mothers asked the group whether the crumb rubber poses a health or environmental risk.

The group called for a moratorium on installing new fields after a laboratory study it commissioned found that heated crumb rubber gives off vapors containing at least four organic chemicals that can irritate eyes, skin and lungs—and one of which has been linked to cancer.

On warm days, synthetic turf fields using crumb rubber can reach temperatures higher than 130 degrees, but it is not known how much of the chemicals athletes are exposed to.

Alderman points to assessments in Sweden, Norway and Italy of the compounds found in tires — they concluded that recycled tires should not be used in synthetic turf—as additional reasons that no more fields should be built until comprehensive research is done.

"How can we continue to install these fields when we don't have the answers?" she asked.

Blumenthal was quoted in the same article that the state was spending $200,000 to do "field studies" on athletic fields that use crumb rubber.
We can't allow this!

Anonymous said...

nutty to approve this without knowing what the AGs office determines about its safety..

south main businessman said...

The Attorney General is still reviewing the health and environmental issues. Another poster says it costs $16,000 annually to maintain natural grass versus $20,000 for turf.

Proponents make claims; opponents make counter-claims, but there are not enough conclusive answers for the council to make a final decision yet.

If the council gives final approval to the turf tomorrow, it would clearly be a politically-driven railroading of private interests over the public good.

The council should not make a final decision until after a thoroughly judicious, truly disinterested study followed by an extended period for public review and comment.

Anonymous said...

Proponents make claims; opponents make counter-claims, but there are not enough conclusive answers for the council to make a final decision yet.

How about this for an answer:

WE CAN'T AFFORD IT!

Bill said...

We all should read this finding.
http://www.turfgrasssod.org/pdfs/ArtificialTurfBooklet2.pdf

Anonymous said...

Some inner city community will love the money, when we balk at the funding and it goes to another town. I for one love paying the taxes I pay to allow for building projects in other towns.

Anonymous said...

1:39 Give it up Mike Ecke. You shouldn't even be allowed to vote on the issue.

Anonymous said...

Bill - That web address didn't work. Is it the correct one??

Anonymous said...

1:39,
So if the state offered grants to cut trees and pave over green parkland to build parking lots, we should take it so it won't go to another town?? That's a poor arguement for turfing the HS fields.

I agree with South Main Businessman. Given the lack of conclusive info, "If the council gives final approval to the turf tomorrow, it would clearly be a politically-driven railroading of private interests over the public good."

Anonymous said...

This will get you there.
Great Article!
Artificial Turf Booklet 2

Anonymous said...

Yes, great article. Every councilor should read it!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Some inner city community will love the money, when we balk at the funding and it goes to another town. I for one love paying the taxes I pay to allow for building projects in other towns.

July 07, 2008 1:39 PM

If this $525,000 can't be used for the replacement of the bubble on the pool then we SHOULD refuse the money. The council needs to look at the priorities in this town. It's the "principle" of the matter - hopefully our council members have some principles.

Anonymous said...

This is a much bigger issue than turf or no turf. Who applied for this grant? How did it get approved to this point with out the council's knowledge? This a blatant move by the Dems to push their ajenda. The R's should call them out on this forcefully. This is not a time to let this pass without a FIGHT!

This is a big test for the minority councilmen to see how far they are willing to go to show their base that they are willing to "throw down" and not take this anymore. I think their base needs to see them fight for the ideals and the principals they ran on.

It is my opinion that this is a defining issue for the R's to take advantage of.

Tom Pinkham

Anonymous said...

"On warm days, synthetic turf can reach temperatures higher than 130 degrees,"

Does Micahael Ecke think that it's good for kids to play in 130 degree heat?

It's rumored that Ecke or his family will profit from this. Will he publicly deny that neither he or his family has any financial interest in this?

The things that have been happening in this town are starting to make Waterbury look good, special interests run this town.

I'm sure there is no Dem Councilor that has the guts to no vote against this. All 5 Dems will brazenly vote for this special interest waste of money.

Anonymous said...

This is all about a town in love with imitation plastic-like things that will some day devour local tax payers. First the inept removable plastic wrap pool bubble with about zero thermal insulating value (yielding $400,000 annual heating bills before the coming increases in fuel costs) and next ground up used rubber tires disguised as high quality grass turf that in non-renewing like real grass is. When will we ever learn?

Get ready for more and more needless local tax hikes folks in order to keep out-of-town special interests employed locally with our tax dollars- - -

Anonymous said...

The only way to stop pork stupidity is if one town has the common sense to tell Hartford to stick this grant up their derriere.....

The argument "someone else will get the money" doesn't make a bad idea good.

Anonymous said...

Are any of the Dem Councilors aware of the fact that we are in a recession and that energy costs have sky rocketed?

The state budget is busted and so is Cheshire's. We haven't seen anything yet. Wait until we get the additional costs for school buses, building heating, gasoline for town vehicles and the never ending raises and increased benifits of town employees. Somethings got to give.

And, while this is happening, the town council keeps adding non-essential staff and costs. It's time for some serious cost reductions and staff reductions. It's time the council represent the taxpayers.

tim white said...

It's time for some serious cost reductions and staff reductions.

We may not necessarily need to reduce the numbers... but a change in composition of the nine Council members would certainly be helpful.

Anonymous said...

Tim
Could the council accept this money even if we don't have the funds to cover the difference in what it will cost to install and maintain the turf?
Will it go out for bid? Oh know, do I smell another boilergate? Some backroom politicking to get the preferred firm to do the installation rather than the best and most economical.
I can't imagine this actually happening, but if it does, we will have some major issues to deal with in this town.

Tim White said...

It's rumored that Ecke or his family will profit from this. Will he publicly deny that neither he or his family has any financial interest in this?

If you believe this to be true, then please attend tomorrow's meeting and ask him. I have no knowledge of it and don't appreciate you spreading rumors here.

It is a simple enough question to ask.

Anonymous said...

And someone should also pin down Matt Altieri on rumored family interest in turf.

Anonymous said...

If you are trying to be unbiased, you should realize that this booklet (http://www.turfgrasssod.org/pdfs/ArtificialTurfBooklet2.pdf) is written by a sod/natural grass organization. Of course they favor the natural grass side, they have an agenda as well - synthetic turf companies are taking away from their market share.

Anonymous said...

Each side has their own agenda and that is a given. The report written by the grass turf people at least contains data that shows costs and info that supports both sides of the issue.

Anonymous said...

And the States Attorney is investigating the hazards of turf based on what? Don't you think he must have some concrete info to spend $200K to check into it.
Let's remind Mike Ecke that Cheshire High School is not the NFL.
We don't need to risk our kids on something that is even in the least bit suspect. Especially if it will cost all of us in the long run.
We need strong representation tonight!

Anonymous said...

Come on Elizabeth and Laura. Exercise some independent judgment tonight. You don't have to vote in party lockstep like in the old Soviet Union.

Anonymous said...

You could have predicted this vote without attending and wasting your time. The town has such a surplus that it's a sin. What a bunch of fakes when it comes to being fiscal responsible.