Letter to the Editor: Vote 'No' on Canal Street Referendum

A Shelton resident urges voters to say "no" to the reconstruction of Canal Street, a project that will cost $1 million in taxpayer money.

This November a referendum question seeks taxpayer dollars of $1 million for the reconstruction of Canal Street.  Based on the size of the project this is a drop in the bucket.  As an example, on June 30, 2008 Shelton appropriated $2 million for Canal Street and on November 12, 2009 appropriated $9,000.00 to secure a $900,000 bond and on June 28, 2011 appropriated $71,012 in bonding for the railroad crossing.     What is the total amount of taxpayer dollars needed to fund the entire project?

On August 23, 2012 a representative of the mostly taxpayer funded Shelton Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) spoke to the issues of Canal Street.  The SEDC spokesperson addressed issues of Canal Street, however, did not appear to address the issue of who pays upfront costs.  Avalon Bay is contributing the sidewalks on their side of the street and Shelton taxpayers will pay about $150,000 for lighting.  Who pays for road reconstruction and utilities? Shelton taxpayers?

Taxpayers pay for the Wooster Street railroad crossing and the relocation of the tracks.  The president of the Board of Alderman (BOA) spoke to a rumor of a parking garage issue from the Birmingham construction. After all these years the Board of Aldermen who are the fiscal authority of Shelton should have answers as to the reason that the railroad insists that the tracks be relocated to the tune of some $500,000 of taxpayer dollars?   This is in addition to the $500,000 for the Wooster Street crossing.

The BOA and the SEDC need to address the issue of Shelton taxpayer dollars.  What are the costs?  At first glance it appears that taxpayer dollars will be in the millions.  The SEDC, a product of the BOA, and the BOA must share with the public all anticipated upfront, ongoing and future costs related to Canal Street.   After all, local, federal and state taxpayer dollars provides a good portion of the funds needed for the SEDC to exist.

Without all the information a NO vote at this time appears appropriate.

Another referendum question is road reclamation.  It’s a simple question.  Are you satisfied with the $6 million road reclamation?  Are you ready to spend an additional $5 million for the same grade of road repair that is presently taking place?  Are bonded referendum dollars being used by our public works department for resurfacing roads?  If this is the case, will the public works department have an end of the year surplus?   If so, what is the anticipated use of possible surplus dollars?

The road reclamation has a way to go and it involves millions of taxpayer dollars. The BOA must be taking lessons from national politicians.  Approve the road referendum and at a later date we’ll solve the problems, release the names of the roads and share with taxpayers the ongoing costs and time table of the road reclamation. 

Until all information is shared with taxpayers, a NO vote appears to be appropriate.

-Richard Widomski

James Oram November 05, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Canal street is owned by the City of Shelton. Improving it makes private development possible. City administration, aided by the SEDC, has attracted over $50 million in private investment....to replace an empty factory building and our beautiful downtown asphalt plant. People who will live on Canal St. will spend some of their $22 million in disposable income in Shelton. Increased tax revenue will pay back the costs of Canal St. improvements!
Richard November 06, 2012 at 07:46 AM
I have a problem with fixing the roads. Each time a referendum is passed to fix the roads. The specific roads are never mentioned. My road is not maintained and never has been. How will spending millions on improving roads benefit me? Specifically, what roads are to be repaired? I say Vote NO until a clear accounting of past and future repairs are specified.


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