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Letter to the Editor: A Wise Vote is "No" at the Referendum on Powder Ridge

Middlefield resident says the town can do better.

 

I write this because I am concerned about integrity and ethical issues.

As one of deemed "substantial citizens," as designated by Jon Brayshaw in a recent email, along with Carl Zanoni (one of the three founders of Zygo, our largest taxpayer) and with Mickey Fowler, (also not only a large taxpayer, also a former Planning and Zoning chair among many other past leadership roles in our community), Jon's comments have motivated me to speak out and address my position; what I think is best long term for our town regarding the sale of Powder Ridge. Mickey and Carl have recently expressed their opinions publicly.

Since the dismissal of the Ad Hoc Committee, I have attended almost all of the public meetings regarding the Ridge. However, Town Clerk records will verify that since Nov.6, 2008 through Jan 12, 2012 the BOS had 47 executive sessions, 30 of which were regarding Powder Ridge.  From Jan 3, 2012 through July 17, 2012 there were 9 executive sessions, of those, 6 were regarding Powder Ridge. The public is excluded from these meetings. Were these all over the recent Sean Hayes proposal? The answer is "no," but they were BEHIND CLOSED DOORS so that the discussions among the Selectmen are completely without record. And, repeatedly the First Selectman said that the Hayes agreement was "very similar" to the Alpine agreement. The most important point is that the public was excluded from "the making of the sausage," a term often used by Kevin Boyle, an Ad Hoc Committee member.  We, and others who worked on the former Powder Ridge Ad Hoc committee know well how important this is. Because of the Executive Sessions, we as the taxpayers and owners of the Ridge have no idea how or why in these closed door sessions the Selectmen arrived at their decisions.

However, we now have, again without public input, a signed agreement, on which we can only vote yes or no, with the following: 

1. If the Ridge is sold to Hayes before Nov. 30, 2012 we must make a $225,000 payment to Middlefield Holdings which benefits a friend/colleague of Jon Brayshaw's son.*

2. The town is financing $600,000 for 6 years, interest free* 

3. Hayes can build 4 houses on the Ridge*

4. Our bond cost is $238,000 yearly for 15 years, this is better than 1/2 mil on our taxes* If the Hayes deal does not happen the taxpayers will continue to own PR for a better deal with many other options.  According to our First Selectman every time someone pulled away from buying the Ridge he was inundated with other prospective buyers! * 

Bottom line: Hayes pays $700,000 (in 7 years) we the taxpayers pay $225,000, Hayes buys 240 acres of prime Middlefield land for which we receive $475,000. It is a bonanza for Mr. Hayes and a loss for Middlefield and Rockfall taxpayers. 

Therefore, I cannot support the sale of Powder Ridge to Hayes under the above circumstances. We can do better; a wise vote is "No" at the Referendum. 

Sources:    *Town Hall, email (#1)

                 *Agreement of Sale, page 2 (#2)

                 *Agreement of sale, page 10 (#3)

                 *Middlefield Finance Director, Board of Finance (#4)

                 *Emails on record ( #4) 

Sincerely,

Marianne Corona

Middlefield

Dad August 08, 2012 at 01:22 PM
1. This complaining party was part of the "Ad Hoc" commitee that met at Zygo and other secret locations outside the view of the public, without complaince with required disclosure laws. Sounds a little hollow to say that she is concerned about legally-conducted executive sessions at which the minority party (democrats) was always, or could have been, present. She knows, therefore, every word of what was said and done in those meetings. She would be the first to accuse the Board of Selectment of incompetence if it had publically debated the terms of a real estate sale. Who would broadcast their strategy in such a situation? 2.She actively supported the "substantailly similar" Alpine sale. Why does she condemn this one? Simple-the egos, not the terms, are the problem. Hayes is not her boy, and she was not properly defered to.
Dad August 08, 2012 at 01:23 PM
3. Where is the better idea from the objectors? Who are the mysterious "others" and why haven't they come forward before now? They see the two imaginary birds in the bush-not the one in hand. 4. Attacking the person, and not the problem, is the method of choice for the opposition. Show us the proof that Jon or his family beneift financially from the Middlefield Holdings payment. What are the facts you rest this slanderous and libelous conclusion on? That a member of Jon's family incidentally knows a person associated with Middlefield Holdings is nothing but coincidence, but evidently more than enough for the opponents to imply that Jon's family will financially benefit from the Ridge sale. The writer of this letter owes the public more than innuendo.
Mickey August 08, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Shame on you Marianne, twisting the facts the way you do- You and your other six cohorts- All of you are pathetically transparent. I am hoping this vote passes 20-1 this time around.
Fed Up August 11, 2012 at 12:03 PM
I understand mentioning Carl Zanoni, the largest tax payer. Actually, I understand that he is larger than the top 9 tax payers in Middlefield. That's why I wonder why he would be so opposed to helping out Sean Hayes. After all, the way I understand it, Zygo didn't pay taxes to the town for the first 10 years they were in business. If that is a fact, and if they are the largest tax payer in Middlefield, that must have added up to a very large sum. If I had as much time on my hands as Marianne Corona, I would research some of those pertinent facts to share. It makes me sick to think that we have people in our town that want to rip off another company by waiting and postponing this sale to save $225k. Not that I am against saving money, but we made a deal with someone. To intentionally delay this sale is to screw them out of what we promised. It does not surprise me that Marianne and her few friends support the idea. The last thing Marianne Corona should preach about is ethics and integrity. You are publicly stating that you have NONE!
sue August 16, 2012 at 02:08 PM
If Zygo moved out of town we may go bankrupt , when it was sold the Board of Selectmen were sweating, go check your facts.
Mickey August 16, 2012 at 02:36 PM
What does Zygo have to do with anything about Powder Ridge? With Carl Zanoni living in the neighborhood with Powder Ridge- I don't credit his opinion as based on what is best for the town. Mind you, I am certainly okay with his being against this, in fact if I lived there, I may have been too- But I don't. And I don't think his comments are at all reflective of what is best for the town. I think he uses his position at zygo to impress those who have trouble thinking for themselves. Because I don't live in that neighborhood, I vote for the town- and I voted YES.
Concerned August 16, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Fed up, You are wrong about ZYGO...There were some tax abatements...but they certainly didn't get a free ride - no taxxes at all for 10 years. We gave abatements on building expansions, but not on the high tech machines that filled those building additions. It made perfect sense at the time and still does. They needed to expand their building in order to bid on a JPL RFP, and they also needed to have fixed costs, we helped them and they in turn got the project which long term benefits the Town, in more taxes ultimately and more employment opportunities for the larger community.

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