Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Linear trail funding: private is better than public

The Council is again moving forward with the linear trail. I understand the December Council meeting made two things happen:

1) $812,000 in federal and state grants was reallocated to the West Main Street to Jarvis Street section; and

2) the state DOT was asked to design the entire West Main to Southington trail.


The NHRs Luther Turmelle explains that the tradeoff in getting the DOT to do this work was a Council promise to move forward with the trail in next August's capital budget.

the funding is contingent on the town making a good faith effort to include the project in the 2011-12 capital budget and to get voters to approve the expenditure in November.

And since this stretch of trail is estimated to cost more than $2,000,000, we should probably expect to see more than a million property tax dollars included in the November 2011 referenda for this stretch of trail.

Although I don't support the idea of borrowing and spending more money on expanded services until we -- Cheshire, Hartford & Washington -- get our financial house in order, the Council does. As such, I have a suggestion:

Follow the lead of the turf supporters and fundraise to complete this project.

There's even some big funding available from non-government sources. American Express recently donated $200,000 for rails-to-trails. With some effort -- besides forced taxation at the local, state and federal levels of future taxpayers -- maybe Cheshire could score a trail grant?

Tim White

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, I thought I heard it all when Mr. Sima stated at the TC meeting "I got a guy...$100K, $10K/year" last minute, desperate attempt to thwrat the turf project. Then joining Giddings, Schrumm, Ruocco in chastizing the turf supporters for taking grant money. They painted a dire economic picture, slush fund money and the like. Their message: GRANT MONEY IS BAD.

In almost the same breath...they all put on their hypocrite hats and joined together to support the very same thing they JUST chastized. A grant is a grant is a grant funded by taxpayer money i.e. slush fund money...in a time when the country and state is heading further into a debt downspiral. Somehow...the linear trail grant is holier than the turf grant. Hypocrites and it goes to show just how deep of a personal vendetta some on the TC have against sports and education.

No way that the linear trail is going to pass referendum. Maybe Schrumm et al should eat their own dogfood and come up with 50% of the private funds needed for the linear trail.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the TC should or will support a referendum for trail money. There is hope that the funding will be there when the state funded planning is done.

Cheshire was one of 3 trails in the state to get the funding for planning. The town was essentially granted the funds at the State's request that we ask for it. If the town can get the planning for the entire trail done without additional local taxpayer funds it is a nobrainer. The same cannot be said for seeking additional local taxpayer funds to build it this coming November. That is not in the cards.

The town does have some grant money it can use towards construction but not nearly enough to do all of the West Main to Jarvis portion. It is hoped that the money will come from the federal or State to complete the project as was the case with Southington's "shovel-ready" project last year.

Tim Slocum

tim white said...

we should probably expect to see more than a million property tax dollars included in the November 2011 referenda for this stretch of trail

I stand corrected. Thanks Tim. Based on history, I figured there were at least 3 or 4 votes in favor of a referendum... and only two votes I was fairly certain would oppose it.

tim white said...

Anyway my point was that there are org's giving out money for Rails-to-Trails. And I know there are some enthusiastic trail advocates. They may want to investigate such funding opportunities.

Anonymous said...

The trail is not a need. It's yet another want being paid for by grants, i.e. borrowed money, we don't have. Where's the change we voted for?!?

Good job.

Anonymous said...

4:04
I believe you seem to be looking at the current council with tinted glasses.
I don't believe they ever said ALL grant money is bad. The grantes we have received from the state for education , which we will be losin a lot of this coming year, has been a good grant to except.
As Tim S. said, it's a no brainer if we can get the planning done from this grant. Eventually, this trail will get done.
Perhaps you, the strong supporter that you are for athletics and education, can't see the benefits a completed trail will bring to this community. This isn't just for the high school of youth sports, this s for young and old alike.
I agree, this probably won't pass next November in a referendum, just like the track didn't pass this year. I bet it would get more support from the community then the track of turf though.
I like Tim W.'s suggestion to try and get private funding. That would be the best way to get this built without a burden on the tax payers.
One other thing, perhaps Tim S. can answer this, wasn't $562,000 of this grant money from a Federal Grant?When did we get that? $250,000 was from a Dept. of Environmental Protection grant. These grants were requested by the TC. Unlike the turf grant that blindsided many of the TC members and was part of a "slush fund" grant that Jim Amman gave away. These sort of grants are no longer being given.
So, 4:04, I don't see it as a personal vendetta, it is just common sense, something that you seem to be lacking.

tim white said...

wasn't $562,000 of this grant money from a Federal Grant?When did we get that?

The federal grant dates back to when the mess began ten to twelve years ago. I think the town was initially given an 80% matching grant. I think it was 80% against a $1,000,000 budget. Then over time, the budget grew and the match shrank.

Tim S may know. But David S is probably the best Council source for this. He was there when the mess began. As far as I know though, it had nothing to do with him... and you may notice that we got a new TM around that time... you may want to ask him for those details some time if you're ever speaking with him...

tim white said...

forgot... the 80% match was earmarked for the Cornwall / West Main stretch. And the town got endless extensions because good faith efforts were continuously made by the town.

Anonymous said...

A note on Need vs. Wants...
We all have the luxury the of defining Needs vs. Wants through the hue of our personal visions. Until God begins making all the decisions for us I would suggest the high and mighty among us refrain from tossing around the needs vs. wants verdicts too much. Most of us could live on bread and water, camp in huts and rely on sleeping bags for warmth at night but thankfully most of do not have to do that and many of us volunteer and lend support where we can.

There has been plenty of excesses in the country that must be brought back to earth but planning can't come to a halt nor can paying for services, fixing infrastructure and the redevelopment of a stronger and more vibrant private sector. Americans must remain optimistic and get more involved. And critics must become doers.

Happy New Year!

Tim Slocum

Anonymous said...

"There has been plenty of excesses in the country that must be brought back to earth but planning can't come to a halt nor can paying for services, fixing infrastructure and the redevelopment of a stronger and more vibrant private sector. Americans must remain optimistic and get more involved. And critics must become doers."

Well said Tim S. and thank you for your service to the town of cheshire. You've demonstrated a clear ability for common sense and doing what's best for Cheshire even if it's not a popular decision with some. Keep up the good work and hopefully more of your TC colleagues will learn a thing or two from you.

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

December 29, 2010 4:04 PM

People like you make me sick. You have nothing of value to say. All you do is bitch and moan about people who work so hard for the town. We all know who you are and your just a pain in the neck.

Anonymous said...

I think 4:04 has one valid point about hypocrisy on this TC. The linear trail extension is not needed, it's a want. Tim W is right...Hartford and Washington needs to get its financial house in serious order first. Now is not the time to accept money the country cannot afford to lend especially for a...trail.

As for 4:04's other gibberish...meh.

I do think it's hyprocritical for this TC to beat up on the turf project and then turn around and 'hope' the funding, i.e. slush fund money will be in place for the trail. Somehow, for this TC, the trail is going to cleanse the borrowed slush fund money and make people forget about the dire straights we're in.

Tim White: We miss you...who would've thought that this TC would go to pot so quickly after your departure. Come back please.

Anonymous said...

I think the trail should be widened and opened to auto traffic. It would make a great alternative to Rt 10. If I didnt see people jogging on back roads during a blizzard, I probably would not think this way. Our residents are too stupid to use the trail. I understand the desire to be healthy, but at what cost? To be a good looking corpse? If idiots start using the trail instead of the backroads then I would support extension but until then, keep it closed or open it to cars.