Referendum projects are necessary
Their are five referendum questions on the ballot for Nov. 6 that were prepared by bipartisan committees or city departments and approved by the alderman unanimously for the voters final approval. The city will essentially bond these projects by borrowing funds over time to complete them.
Under Mayor Mark Lauretti's republican administration, Shelton has been awarded very low and favorable interest rates on bonding because the bonds are paid off in five years.
Four of the referendum issues on the ballot for Nov. 6, if approved, will be bonded for a total of $10.9 million. They include $4 million to continue the repair, resurfacing and replacement of our 220 miles of roadways. You can already see the progress made in the city daily while driving many of our main thoroughfares or by going onto the city web site. A complete map of the roads completed by our Highway and Bridges Department and through purchased services are on the city web site for your review at (cityofshelton.org).
Shelton has been in need of a new animal shelter for many years and after an exhaustive six-year planning process the site and building plan have been developed. This project is scheduled to begin as soon as bonding is available. Both dogs and cats will be housed there. The facility has three functions: It is a state of the art animal shelter, care center and adoption facility priced at $1.4 million. The same facility in a nearby town built several years ago cost them $3.5 million. This is a very worthy and do-able project.
Our Shelton firefighters have always cared for and utilized their inventory of vehicles respectfully. Some of these firefighting vehicles are now ready for retirement and four new trucks are needed. Each fire company will receive a vehicle which is customized to be more adaptable to the fire and rescue missions our firefighters respond to each day. The referendum for the purchase of the vehicles is $3.5 million.
The growth of downtown Shelton is on track to house over 600-plus people. The new complexes will be providing more than $500,000 each year to our tax base. And this does not include the additional business it will be bring to our local merchants and restaurants. The city is proposing a $1 million referendum to put in the utilities underground. The city is responsible for constructing the road and bringing utility infrastructure to the curbside in this area and it cannot be completed or funded by contractors building the new condominiums. This referendum will assist in generating taxes that will allow the city to re-coop this investment in less than two fiscal years.
The Shelton City Charter is the document which guides our city and by which all elected officials, departments, boards, and committees follow to protect the residents and the many assets of our city. This document has not been revised since 1994 and several areas of it needed to be updated. A bipartisan committee has worked diligently to recommend revisions to the charter with input from many of our boards, commission, and local citizens. The committee invited public input at each public meeting. This referendum does not require any bonding but is very important to how the city will progress in the future. The complete charter and proposed changes are all available for review on the city web site also.
Each of us can recognize that the city of Shelton is unique in many ways. We are not deficit spending like many other Connecticut municipalities and have made great strides in providing a safe and healthy environment for family's and businesses alike. We have recently completed fixing, renovating and replacing our aging schools for over 15 years and now need to concentrate on city infrastructure, firefighting equipment, and our lost and needy pets, along with updating the charter.
I encourage and recommend each voter to vote "yes" for all five of the referendums on the ballot on Nov. 6.
Anthony F. Simonetti is the chairman of the Republican Town Committee and serves on the Board of Aldermen.