Commentary: Lauretti land deal an example of citywide shell game?

Let’s discuss the latest accomplishments of our mayor while maintaining a low tax base for the city. While he touts low taxes, a given few have lined their pockets by very coyly using a shell game.

Example: Some time ago the property that Mayor Mark Lauretti just sold on River Road was offered to the city for much less than what the mayor paid for it.

The open lands committee said it was not interested because the land did not connect to the property they were looking at, between downtown and the Huntington Green. It could not be connected to the path going from downtown to Huntington Center through the swamps of Shelton’s back woods (shell game).

They felt creating the path was more desirable than the pristine riverfront property, with its water views and what could have been a beautiful beach for residents.

Advising the public on this issue

I ask you, why weren’t the people of Shelton advised of this issue when it came up rather than after the fact (shell game)?

At the time of purchase, the mayor made a deal for a large part of the property to be subdivided because that portion was contaminated. The mayor did not want to have to deal with the expense of a cleanup.

Oh, by the way, that’s the portion that the new owner will provide as a buffer. Keep in mind no citizen will be allowed to cross that property to the river because it is contaminated.

Meanwhile, the zoning board just placed a roadblock for a developer by delaying a zone change on a Bridgeport Avenue property because the downtown development committee showed it would harm the plan for downtown improvements already in the works.

How come we did not hear from this committee on the zone change for the mayor’s land?

Fear of rocking the boat

People in this town will talk about these issues amongst each other but for some reason no one will come forward for fear of rocking the boat at City Hall, resulting in higher taxes.

Why the people of Shelton have allowed this shell game to get so bad is beyond explanation. It’s time people bring it out in the open and do what’s best for all in Shelton.

Mr. Mayor, you did what most land-grabbing politicians (excuse me, that should be “public servants”) do and you have come out smelling like a rose.

You made $1.6 million. And the city loses water access of any kind on a riverfront property, downtown revitalization suffers, and hopes of improved services for residents in return for taxes paid are dashed.

Shelton citizens, there are more issues to this then just a low tax base.

People, please wake up and smell the skunk weed in this town or we will be overrun by the swamp land we have built our scenic walking trail on.

Jack Brand Sr. is a Shelton resident.