Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lame duck turf talk

Anyone see tonight's meeting? You know, the final meeting of the lame duck Council.

Frankly, much of the meeting baffled me. Why a lame duck Councilman would begin to discuss the criteria* he wanted for compromise with the Council's incoming Chairman was beyond me.

Sure I knew that on November 3rd there were several Dems who incorrectly blamed President Obama for their losses. But I thought that by now they would've acknowledged that the 2009 local election was an election like just about every election - it was a referendum on the incumbent.

So seeing these discussions during a Council meeting seemed almost surreal. Oh well. They have not yet acknowledged their own shortcomings, but at least I won't have to sit through anymore discussion on agenda items that were based on fairy tales.

And there was plenty of it tonight, including the 19th Council's mythical rules of order which I've explained in the past.

Getting Rep. Fritz' long-awaited response to my question about Crusher's annual $12,000,000 slush fund discretionary fund was LOL funny.

More on that later. I'm going to bed now... but so you know, I fully intend to post the video of Rep. Fritz explaining "the criteria used to prioritize the allocation of discretionary funds." That was priceless.

Tim White

* Representative Fritz offered an interesting explanation of the word "criteria" tonight... more on that later.

42 comments:

Contoured Views said...

It still boggles my mind that these people have not realized that this town voted them out because they didn't want this. Now they are trying one last ditch effort to push it through. Are they really that naive or is it arrogance?

Fritz will be the next to go.

Anonymous said...

Talk about an obsession, talk about being out of touch, about arrogance, about abuse of power, about disrespect for authority about failure to play by the rules, about disrespect about inability to perceive. And that final tripe/3rd degree of Sima over the issue of just what a 15 year rain fall event was, and the blaming of people from the past for bad field drainage - - -.

Those folks seemingly come from another time zone - -THE TWILIGHT ZONE! They are enough to cause normal people to want to move far away and fast.

Clearly for most people in town an artificial turf football field is one of those nice to have things which in the current climate isn't going to get much traction with the majority. The clowns last night though are so clueless. I hope they personally will open up their own checkbooks for many tens of thousands of their own dollars before they come knocking on my door.

And OBTW local town special interests, aka Cheshire Democratic Party, YOU LOST BIG TIME on the 3rd and last night you showed why it happened.

Anonymous said...

How are they going to raise money for the turf? At least two organizations will probably lose their 501c3 tax exemption status because of their blatant violations of the IRS tax code; “endorsing political candidates”. I hope that the end result of the investigation results in heavy fines for the board of directors and the organizations keep their tax exempt status. The actions of the outgoing Dems on the TC proves that they deserved not to be reelected. They were not concerned about the voters; only their own private agenda.

Anonymous said...

Raising grass is a whole lot easier, even for Cheshire, then raising money for fake plastic imitation grass. Grass requires some water and sun shine. The grass does all the hard work of growing and renewing itself once it gets some water and the town already has sprinkler systems according to last nights very loud turfinado.

Anonymous said...

Let's get more specific--who are these 501c3 organizations that you're talking about? And were their efforts coordinated in any way?

Anonymous said...

Tim,

You’re embarrassing us! These comments are very immature. As a resident I am looking for our town councilman to be listen to the issues and make analyze the situation and have well though out answers.

It is obvious you care less about the project. It amazes me that these people aren’t asking you for a penny for this project and you guys are so dead against it. They are just asking for a chance to go raise the funds. As a taxpayer I have no problem with that at all. I don’t agree about raising taxes which hasn’t been brought up, but I think we should give this group a chance to raise the money to enhance the town.

What made me laugh was when you weren’t paying attention and you ask questions that already answered. You look clueless up there at times. Are you paying attention up there or just hearing what you want to hear? It is time to take this job more serious on all issues, and take your self less serious.

I still can’t believe we have a councilman who comes home and mocks people on his blogs. That is what is wrong with our town!

I give Tim S credit. He seems more open minded about this situation and is looking for solutions. I feel he is doing his job as a councilman even if he dose not agree.

Tom Moore

Cheshire Resident

tim white said...

Last night's vote was about "enabling" people to fundraise.

I asked if there was a prohibition on fundraising and no one could answer me. Seems to me that someone should have known this.

Regardless, I am 100% confident that people could raise this money without any vote of the Council. Therefore, I conclude that last night's vote was unnecessary... and frankly, misleading when it used the word "enable," rather than another word such as "encourage."

Gil Linder said...

The ability to raise funds for a specific cause is one thing, but it should not dictate or unduly influence the orderly decision making process of the town. Let's assume the money is raised to purchase the turf. Who then will pay for the future stream of repairs and maintenance and the eventual re-installation of the turf? That same group? Of course not. It will be the town.

Anonymous said...

Could someone please fill us in about what actually happened at last nights council meeting? Did they vote to appropriate the funds or what? Its not clear from these posts what action the council took.

Contoured Views said...

"It is obvious you care less about the project. It amazes me that these people aren’t asking you for a penny for this project and you guys are so dead against it."
Mr Moore, you can't be that naive can you?
They said the exact same thing about the pool 10 years ago.
Where do you think they will get the money and manpower to maintain this turf if, in fact, they raise the money for the turf. Even Mr. Behrer, before he was voted out of office, said that the town would be asked to kick in $50k a year, at least, to cover the replacement in 8 years.
So, for you to act like these people would cover all the costs shows that you are not up on what it will cost to maintain.

On a separate note, Tim does not "mock" council members here. He only provides us with the information that they say at meetings. They do a good enough job making themselves look foolish.

Obviously you are in the minority. Did you happen to catch the election results?

Thank God Tim is able to provide all the information he does on this blog. It is the only place that people in this town can find out the truth.

Tim is not the "clueless" one on the council. Look at the outgoing members and the one remaining incumbant from the democrats. You remember them, don't you? Eyses rolling, talking with people in the audience while a meeting is going on, munching on snacks, taking their direction from the town manager....
Believe me Mr. Moore, this town is going to be in a lot better shape with this new council.
Quit the attacks on Tim, he is one of the few who is doing his job, working for the people.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha the Republicans got turned in by their own people. Turf vote six to three so it passed. your own republicans turned against you GOOD!!! Your Elim Park is prime example of a 501c3 gone bad but you wont say anything about that

Anonymous said...

Tom M.---It's the economy, stupid.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone, I'm a parent of 3 children who play youth and high school sports in town, and I'm not very politically oriented. So I don't really care about the battle of republicans vs democrats, town council bias, etc.

However, from a resident and parent perspective, the football field conditions stink. It takes up such a large space, and gets limited use. You go to other towns and don't have to play on the practice fields, as you do in Cheshire. So, I'm not sure of the political battle going on here, but for the kids, it is a battle worth fighting.

You want a grass field? Great, then make a commitment to grow the grass competently so the field can actually be used more than 5 times a year.

You don't want to spend the money? Fine, then be prepared for those who use the field (or DON'T get to use it because it is being saved for the CHS football team) to look for alternatives.

After all, if someone gave you 75% of the money needed for renovations on your home, wouldn't you look for ways to make up the difference?

Anonymous said...

I am a resident who is ready to give money. Not a ton, but $2,000 but their are many like me ready and willing to give the same sport. With over 600 people at the youth football banquet last week and over 200 kids playing lacrosse and another 200 playing soccer I thing raising the money won't be as big of an issue as people think. I think people will be shocked if we work at it how quickly this money will be raised. They just need to know if we are accepting the grant or not so they can set the bar. Let the fundraising begin already so we can see where we are.

I lived in Greenwich for five years before I moved to Cheshire, and they have 3 Turf Fields now at the High school. Darien has the same thing why do those towns get it and thrive so much as a community. Once they got their first turf they saw the tremendous benefits that it has allowed them.

I am sure Tim W is a decent man I don't know him from a hole in the wall, but I do agree his blogs go a little to far.

Anonymous said...

"I am a resident who is ready to give money. Not a ton, but $2,000"

Sure your willing to put up $2,000, but why are you using anonymous? If you really were willing to do it, then you would use your name and the committee could contact you.

And, the rest of you supporters, why don't you stop complaining and pledge a couple thousand. Why should I pay for a turf field? You have the kids, so ante up or shutup.

Anonymous said...

"...after all, if someone gave you 75% of the money needed for renovations on your home, wouldn't you look for ways to make up the difference?..."

Here's hoping your kids can do the math.

You have conveniently forgotten the little 7 yr total replacement cycle which could be figured at about $880k+ every 7 years. After that don't forget the maintenance expenses which might be at least $50k per year.

So after about 15 years, not an unreasonable span for a young family intent upon getting all it can from public school before it sells out and moves out of town, the total expense, not including the cost of money, is more like a cool 4 million+ in today's dollars. Cost it out beyond 15 years, let’s say about 50 because the current high school has served the town well for 50 years already and the costs become totally ridiculous without significant new sources of revenue for the town.

Now back to your point, let's say the super boosters of last night raise even 3/4 million dollars - - a whole lot more than our baseball buddies seem able to do and baseball has many more supporters then football - - that still leaves at least 3.25 million needed and only .525 million of that would be covered by the state slush fund. So in fact no one is talking about giving anyone 75 % of the cost for free. With luck it might get as high as 750k + 525k = $1,275k. This is only about 33% of 4 million and not the 75% you claimed. And even at 33%, you the tax payer, need to kick in only a minor 67% in bad economic times! Not a very good deal.

And remember, daily our state's economic situation is heading towards failure. Why just today it should have become quite clear that the large state revenue stream from casino slots at Foxwoods is now in really serious jeopardy since even Foxwoods just missed a major loan payment yesterday.


And just think, this town currently seems incapable of maintaining a simple grass field. Artificial turf is a whole lot less forgiving of sloppy maintenance practices then mother nature's own natural playing field surface treatment. Once the artificial field shows up what makes poor maintenance practices change?

Anonymous said...

10:02

it appears that the plan of this group is to put up. one thing I noticed last night is that the only comment regarding town money was when someone mentioned sending this to referendum, but i don't think that person was a turf supporter. at least now there is a deadline of some sort to shoot for.

Anonymous said...

did anything come up about what the town currently spends for "sloppy" maintenance and what the cost would be for proper maintenance for a natural grass field compared to the turf over the years? just curious

cedar lane said...

The council voted 6-3 for Tim Slocum's compromise to require turf supporters to raise 50% of the costs before any public funds are appropriated.

In determining what dollar amount is 50% of the costs, I hope the new council includes longterm maintenance and replacement costs in the equation.

Slocum's motion is better than what the Dems were trying to push through. At least it relieves the taxpayers of paying 100%. It also leaves the door open for the new council to revisit the matter -- to address longterm costs and health/ environmental concerns, and possibly to still send the whole matter to referendum.

Anonymous said...

"With over 600 people at the youth football banquet last week and over 200 kids playing lacrosse and another 200 playing soccer I thing raising the money won't be as big of an issue as people think"

Well, are we installing this for football, soccer or lacrosse? That will be one ugly field marked up for 3 different sports. Once synthetic turf fields are marked, it is permenant.

Hope the Relay for Life people are as excited about this as the Dems. Once this field is put in, there is no more camping on the field. How can the Bowmans be for the field and the relay when they hurt eachother?

Anonymous said...

This meeting was a complete fiasco. The presentation was good for "The COMMUNITY FIELD". The $525,000 is "our" tax money from whatever fund/grant it comes from. We have much more important issues to deal with in future budgets. The idea of curtailing the sports programs might be real. Why did we spend so much of an effort on this? Let's all take a deep breath and think this out. There are almost 30,000 people in this Town that we must be concerned about. Money is tight and this is not the time to buy a new field. Maybe in the future if it passes a townwide vote?

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for you that you are so down and angry, please seek help.

Anonymous said...

Last night's vote was unnecessary as Tim said. People can fund raise when ever they want. In fact, am I the only one remembering hearing that the money for this turf was actually fund raised previously, but when the Dodd & freshman sports were on the chopping block, they supposedly used the money to keep those sports going?

The first slide that Behrer showed outlined what the turf committee was charged with doing. On that list was - "report findings to the BoE." This "final report" was never presented to the BoE and they never voted on it so last night's vote was a waste of time. The Dems are so hung up on this turf that they can't even realize it's what lost the election for them. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Fritz said that the money came from Amann's fund - which was not a slush fund, but a "negotiating" fund.
lol What planet is she from??

Contoured Views said...

The comments from the residents who are in favor of the turf, specifically 9:12 & 9:37, are what is wrong with this town.
They receive their information from CJF, CHS Athletic Dept, and /or CYB.
They only hear that we just need to raise 1/4 of the funds and we'll have a turf field.
Perhaps they should investigate a little deeper.
The pool wasn't suppose to cost us anything. How's that doing for us?
They state that the field is in terrible shape. Why is it? What will happen after a $1 million field is put in place?

How many people are involved in CYB/CYS? They can't raise the money for new fields, yet the football people don't think it is a problem.
When Tim S. said they had to raise 50%, did a total cost ever come up? Will it include yearly maintenance?(including the $75K that needs to be put aside for the replacement in 8 years).
I guarantee they won't be able to cover those costs and we will get stuck with the bill.
Lets hope this new council squash this until the pool and locker rooms are fixed.

Breachway said...

You need enough to do the job and then have a balance left over earning @3% that can payout the replacement costs every 10 or so years. At a minimum. The problem is that it doesn't look like they have a good grip on those figures...another 500k won't cut it. The only bad thing about getting the turf - is the funding. It would be nice to have, but this whole process keeps reminding me of the pool...I hate to say it. I don't need symbolic votes either...

Anonymous said...

"How can the Bowmans be for the field and the relay when they hurt eachother?"

Maybe the Bowmans will pay for the turf, they pretty much run this town and have obtained thousands from the state and Cheshire.

Anonymous said...

7:21 it's not about having a good grip on the costs. It's about putting in an artificial turf field immediately no matter the consequences. Spoiled kids are often raised by spoiled adults. These folks are exhibiting the behavior of spoiled brats.

Reality is that in order to eliminate forced continuous tax payer contributions after installation there needs to be set aside one very large pot of gold now. As a minimum it needs to be maybe 3.5 million, if not a lot more if you want the interest earned to pay expenses with.

10:11 claims the total 15 year cost would be about 4 million with the state on the hook for the first 525 thousand. If there are a total of even 500 families using the field for foot ball, etc and each family kicks in a uniform share of the approximately 3.5 million dollar expense they'd need to fork over, on average, $7,000 per family.

Many families in this town don't even pay that much in property taxes so maybe those 500 families will step up to the plate and write those massive checks and everyone else can marvel over the artificial looking plastic playing field.

One only wonders why the school superintendent would allow members of one of his committees to be heading off half cocked in this somewhat new direction in the first place.

Bill said...

The idea of installing the turf field in Bartlem Park was never discussed. It could be more beneficial to start with a new field in the park then to replace the existing field. There was never developed by anyone a comprehensive plan to develop Bartlem Park, the pool and a prospective new artificial field in Bartlem Park. Th reason is there are no forward thinkers thinkers in this Town; only small groups of people with specific agendas trying to get what they want. Take a fresh approach; install an artificial turf field in Bartlem Park at no cost to the taxpayer. Build new locker rooms in the area, renovate the pool at no cost to the tax payer, now we have a COMMUNITY FIELD that has merit. Until that happens all we have is individual small groups tryin to get what they want.

Anonymous said...

Have Bowman fertilize the existing field. You can use any of his discussions to the TC on any given issue.

Anonymous said...

Bill: Great idea and I'm sure once the NEW TC takes over ideas such as yours will be entertained. The NEW TC will think out of the box and try to listen and bring new solutions to "OUR" Town problems. I believe without hidden agendas they will work things out. They have the ability and the knowledge to forge ahead and make this a better community that we all can be proud of. Go NEW TC...

Breachway said...

Traffic - the last thing we need on Rt 10 is another field to attract more traffic....

Anonymous said...

Replace the probably never-will-be-built north end mall with municipal playing fields. This would help alleviate traffic issues on RT 10 at Bartlem. Current north end mall site property owners could get a nice tax write off for donating their land to the town. And of course the town could then give out a hot dog stand franchise to some local individual or group. Imagine how many hot dogs could be sold to all those parents and kids using the new field.

Anonymous said...

Let's get more specific--who are these 501c3 organizations that you're talking about?

I agree with their need; but the broke the law.

Answering your question; If this letter is real; it was received by many residents and even commented about, at the poles. These organization can lose their tax exempt status. (Contributions
will not be tax decuctable)



Message from Cheshire Junior Football and Cheerleading Board of Directors:

Dear Parents:

We would like to make you all aware of an important topic that has received much discussion of late and is very important to Cheshire Junior Football and Cheerleading (CJF). The Turf Field at Cheshire High School.

As you know, CJF has only one complex at which we are able to play our games; Cheshire High School. Our use of the game field is very limited due to its poor condition and the fact that high school programs take precedence over us. The natural grass game field has been steadily deteriorating over the years as more and more events are hosted on the field, many of which have know where else to go. The field simply cannot handle the number of events played on it. As a result, CJF is forced to play many of our games on the adjacent practice field which is in deplorable condition and sometimes virtually unplayable. One solution to this lack of viable field space is the installation of an artificial turf field (Turf) at the high school complex, replacing the current natural grass field. The installation of Turf at the high school complex will provide for substantially more usage without concern for field conditions or weather. Some of these uses are football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, baseball, band, graduation, community events, relay for life, and yes, a safe and viable place for CJF to host its home games. A place we can be proud of. A Turf field can even be used in the winter months after snow removal. Many towns are currently playing on Turf fields and are experiencing very positive results.

Cheshire is very fortunate. Through the hard work of a few people, Cheshire has been given a Grant in the amount of $525,000 by the State of Connecticut specifically for improvements to and installation of Turf at the high school game field. This amount goes a long way to getting this field built which is estimated to cost between $600,000 and $750,000, depending on field choice and company. The balance will hopefully be raised privately providing for little or no cost to local taxpayers. This would be a huge improvement of facilities available to CJF and will benefit our program immensely. Although this issue has become a bit of a political hotbed, we truly believe that the installation of an artificial turf field at the high school complex will drastically improve playing conditions for CJF players and cheerleaders and will be instrumental to our success into the foreseeable future.

We understand that the following individuals running for election on Tuesday are supportive of this effort. If you believe in the Turf project, please consider a vote for the following Turf supporters:

Town Counsel: Board of Education:
Justin Adinolfi - At Large Bob Behrer
Matt Altieri - At Large
Michael Ecke - At Large
Kerrie Dunne - At Large

Sheldon Dill - 1st District
Matt Bowman - 2nd District
Laura DiCaprio - 3rd District
Peter Talbot - 4th District

Anonymous said...

8 to 1. I guess the letter didn't work. Hello!

Anonymous said...

After all, if someone gave you 75% of the money needed for renovations on your home, wouldn't you look for ways to make up the difference?

November 18, 2009 9:12 AM

If someone gave you 1/2 million to go towards a 1 million dollar house, would you take it?? If you were smart, you'd think twice knowing that you probably couldn't afford the taxes, heating & all the upkeep of it down the road.

Just because someone offers you a lollipop doesn't mean you have to be a sucker and take it.

sz

Anonymous said...

Of course there will be upkeep costs. But there are wasted upkeep costs on the current "grass" field. So doing nothing but keeping the status quo isn't "free" either.

I'd rather play on grass and save the money, but it is worse during CJF season playing games on the dirt practice field.

I'd like to see some sort of financial projections (are you kidding me with that 3.25 mil projection? obviously you can make numbers dance any way you want!).

Go watch a Friday night football game to see the disaster we call a football field - and its in relatively good shape this year for having been used less than 10 times. For all you detractors - why are we spending ANY money to keep up a field we only use 10 times a year?

Anonymous said...

CJF is just one more thing heaped upon us by local special interests. If the purpose of upgrading, or even having a playing field at our public high school is to keep CJF happy we are a sorry bunch of fools.

I always thought that our children were more or less guaranteed a public education from 1st to 12th grade. The public supplied the basics and if you wanted more you were on your own.

CJF and CHS athletics should not be one and the same. The town should not use tax payer money to improve a high school facility for some outside private sports activity.

As far as anyone estimating the complete costs for this CJF field over a period of 20 or 30 years, it is going to be quite expensive. It will need replacement about every 7 years. And no one has come up with a valid firm, fixed cost for the initial installation yet either. It will clearly wind up costing the town well over a million dollars to put it in the first time. And if the pool is any guide to how well the town will handle this activity overall maintenance and expenses are going to be steep.

Not including all the unplanned repairs the pool seems to be running many hundreds of thousands a year. Over 15 years I'd bet the artificial turf field would run maybe $5 million + in today's dollars. So the state pays 10% and the local folks pay 90%. This is not a good deal.

And why is our board of education and our school superintendent spending time and using resources to help CJF when we still have issues with things like No Child left Behind, student behavior and wrecked locker rooms etc?

Contoured Views said...

"I'd like to see some sort of financial projections (are you kidding me with that 3.25 mil projection? obviously you can make numbers dance any way you want!)."

You need to go re-read what that original poster said.
I think they made a very interesting and valid point. A typical young family may get 15 years of usage of our public schools and its facilities. If you look at the span of those 15 years, the field would cost the original $750K(which I feel is a low estimate)then replaced 7-8 years later at a cost of $600K (Bob Behrer's estimate), and relace again in anothe 7-8 years at a minimum of $700K. That adds up to $2.05 million. Add in a minimum of $15K a year for maintenance(the rubber crumb needs to replaced on a yearly basis in order to keep the field in good shape at a cost of $5K) which will equal $2.25 million over 15 years. That all adds up to a total of $4.3 million over a 15 year span. Pretty simple math if you ask me. The poster was saying that if the Turf supporters raised even $750K, the town would still need to come up with an additional $3.55 million over 15 years, which comes out to $236,666 per year.

We are now subsidizing a pool, that was suppose to cost us nothing, to the tune of $500k a year. Where does it stop?

Read today's editorial in the Cheshire Herald. You will see where a town that installed artificial turf in 2002 had to replace it this year because of all those "added uses", which wore it out faster.

I would be careful about attacking CJF for this. For the most part,it is a good group. There are many very good volunteers who are teaching the young men of our community the intracacies of football as well as team work. The heads of the organization made a major mistake in sending out that "endorsement" email the night before the election and they should be reprimanded, but the groups heart is in the right place.
We do need these activities for the youth of our community. Eliminating sports and activities is not the solution here. Fiscal responsibility is.

Anonymous said...

CJF is just one more small time local special interest group whining at the public trough. They may be the best thing ever but they are not part of what is supposed to be the town's public school system for children of residents.

Watching one of the big Democratic loser candidates for TC speak at the last council meeting made it totally clear to me that through his little speech he clearly could not separate public education needs from the special wants of some small special interest group. No doubt his babbling was the kind of stuff which helped him to a massive loss too.

Unfortunately for the likes of CJF I am sure I am not the only one now who sees this artificial turf field as something for a special interest group, not a needed education tool.

If CJF wants a special field and they believe there is some basis for everyone in town having to pay for it let them approach the TC with a visible proposal. The town could always put it out for referendum.

On the other hand, why should our BOE and the paid superintendent spend much time, or any time for that matter, focusing us on what seems in the minds of some like the 2nd district loser as a high tech foot ball field for some kids who might not even be residents or public school children in the first place?

Some people are talking about legal violations for overt political campaign support in association with town sports right now. That's an interesting point too. Maybe a more straightforward issue though involves whether or not our BOE, the school superintendent and the many subcommittee members for the BOE are spending time beyond that which is mandated for public education. BOE time and money should go to the real basic mission of our schools not to any special interests of a small special interest group such as CJF.

Breachway said...

I grew up in one of the lowest income/resident towns in the state. They have their own youth football field and the town pays nothing for the upkeep. Is it Gillette Stadium - no, but it does the job. Who wants to play football and after the game you aren't even dirty....I guess my mom would have liked not having to wash the grass stains every week:)

mcjk said...

November 20, 2009 6:26 AM,

Thank you for succinctly summarizing this issue and where people’s priorities should be.