Letter: Norwalk needs state money for more important things than golf

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Kathleen Mary Tepper is a member of the Democratic Town Committee

To the editor:

I don’t object to paying taxes, they are a necessary part of a civilized existence. And part of that civilized existence means that I should be able to have some small say in how my tax money is spent.

In difficult financial times such as these, I like to think I can trust our legislators to spend my hard-earned tax dollars on the real necessities that my town and my state require – things like education, sidewalks, sanitation, bridges, roads, creating jobs or even summer programs for disadvantaged kids.

Imagine my surprise when I find that Rep. Cafero and the Oak Hills Park Authority (OHPA) have a quite different plan for those taxpayer funds – nothing less than a commercial driving range that will benefit the special interest of golfers! Not to mention the money that OHPA will be sure to want from Norwalk taxpayers in order to provide supplemental funding for this plan.

Am I missing something here? The state is able to find a $1.5 million grant for a driving range that offers no guarantee that it can pay for itself in the future and yet they nickel and dime funds for our schools and infrastructure.

As a taxpayer, I totally object to this misappropriation of our very limited funds. This unnecessary expenditure should be removed from both state and local agendas until there has been a much more detailed and transparent examination of this objective by all of Norwalk’s taxpayers.

Kathleen Mary Tepper


9 responses to “Letter: Norwalk needs state money for more important things than golf”

  1. Lifelong Teacher

    Well said. The ECS formula is skewed against our children, school buildings are crumbling, elementary school libraries decades behind, and classrooms overcrowded, This is Cafero’s parting gift to Norwalk?

  2. piberman

    Well said. Actually its a “gift” from all of Norwalk’s celebrated Legislators. Unable to do important matters such as revising the ECS formula or attending to long dilapidated bridges our Legislators make do with small gifts in this election year. Actually CT’s legislature is well known for its gift giving prowess, e.g. taking good care of our state employees, billions for UCON and gifts for business to remain in CT. And they have no problem with Legislators working for developers in their home towns,e.g. the proposed mall. Take heart. The gift to the City’s golfers ought to remind us to re-elect all our distinguished Legislators. They earned our “respect”. They reflect the best of us. And then some.

  3. peter parker

    Well put! Excellent and on the money…

  4. Oyster

    It’s more like Mr. Cafero’s opening move in his campaign for Mayor next year. It’s stunning that Mr. Cafero moved to put this before the state bond commission when the OHPA hadn’t had it put before them to vote on whether they wished to pursue that funding.

  5. One and Done

    We just forgave a $25 million loan to the aquarium. They are building a $3 million boat. Spare us the phony outrage.
    The state shouldn’t subsidize our largesse in education funding either. $18,000 a year per student is more than enough. This city has spent about $3 billion dollars on education in about the same time it has spent $3 million on the golf course that can be repaid eventually if they can get the facilities to generate the revenue. Get a sense of proportion already.

  6. piberman

    Lets not bring the Aquarium into the discussion. Without initial City funding/guarantees it would never have been built. Its a major Norwalk success story bringing in large numbers of visitors and continues to be an important continuing education resource for Norwalk and surrounding areas.

    Different folks have various views of the City funding a golf course. But I suspect most of us consider a state gift in an election year before the OHA Master Plan has been approved by City agencies “shabby politics” by a well respected Legislator who should have waited until it was approved by the appropriate City agencies. Unless the “gift” was designed to secure City approval. Clearly it was no “oversight”. So far no City official has suggested it was inappropriate. Hmmm.

  7. One and Done

    Oh, and the city shouldn’t be spending $3 million on a field for a middle school. But the council will probably vote for it unanimously like money grows on trees. They can’t even tell you that it will need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years and that it will never generate the revenues they are forecasting, but hey money grows on trees so spend it.

  8. Don’t Panic

    The same is true of Oak Hills Park. Without federal and state money, it would never have become a park. Without the bonds secured by the City, the golf course would never have been built.
    And it really doesn’t matter whether people think the City should be funding the golf course. The charter established the OHPA to have the golf course FUND ITSELF (And the rest of the park).
    Oh, and by the way, Mr. Cafero and the bond commission ought to look into the fact that the presence of the restaurant violates the grant restrictions that limit park development to open space purposes. The state ought to avoid securing more debt for this park when OHPA has already made the City violate the terms of its agreement with the state.

  9. Tom Reynolds

    Tepper – meet me at Oak Hills on Saturday and I will give you the 50 cents of your tax money back (3MM CT residents divided by $1.5MM = .50 cents per CT taxpayer)

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