Letters to the editor: Proposed girls softball field
Vote no for bonding
Fairfield RTM members -- I urge you to vote no on bonding for the softball fields. Vote no!
I am a five-year Fairfield resident and a single mother. I also am a tax paying citizen and own my own home. That being said, I do not know if I can afford to live in Fairfield any longer because my taxes keep going up. It is not the time to bond more money for a softball field. We are in a national recession, and if you vote yes, you demonstrate that you are totally out-of-touch with the majority of your constituents who don't want to borrow more money unless it is absolutely necessary.
Please, I beg of you. For many of us, we are doing everything that we can to stay in our houses and put food on the table. It is a slap in the face to us to spend tax dollars for softball fields.
Not the right time and not the right place.
It was early in the morning on June 25 when the Communist Army of North Korea smashed across the 38th parallel of latitude to invade South Korea. They succeeded in delivering a deadly surprise, shattering the small South Korean army into a million bloody pieces. The year was 1950, exactly 60 years ago to the day this coming June 25th.
The war ended in a truce agreement in 1953, but not without great human loss for America. More than 37,000 of our soldiers perished, 93,000 were wounded and more than 15,000 were classified as missing-in-action or prisoners of war. Documents declassified in the 1990s revealed that at least 900 soldiers were held captive at the end of the war and were never released. They had fought for freedom and were imprisoned or killed, making the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Now it is 60 years later and we are blessed to live in Fairfield, with so many freedoms to enjoy. These democratic freedoms are in large part thanks to the men and women that served in Korea. Three of those servicemen are Fairfield residents and reside in my district. I have met with them on numerous occasions and all three tell me the same thing: "I can no longer afford to live in Fairfield. My taxes are too high. My senior tax relief is $ 800 per year. No where near enough to offset the annual tax increases or even pay for my monthly medication."
So, in good conscience how can we go ahead and bond another $ 350,000 for a Parks and Recreation softball field project? Are the unsustainable tax increases and limited services for seniors how we repay our veterans?
We cannot do more for seniors because our budget is already over spent and our mill rate is at an all-time high. On top of that, our entire country is in a recession. Many people are working hard to stay in their homes, the victims of company downsizing and Wall Street abuse. Foreclosures are on the rise, the housing market is in a complete tailspin, and yet we are willing to increase taxes for another softball field? As a member of the RTM, I feel that we have an obligation to our taxpayers to help get the out-of-control spending in Fairfield back within a reasonable range.
I am all for girls playing softball -- something which they currently do as they share the same fields with the boys. However, how can we even think of bonding more money for another field when we are pushing seniors, single people and families out of this town with our tax problem? Don't these people matter just as much? Aren't they at least as important as another softball field for Parks and Recreation?
Our taxes have increased every year since 2001 at an average of 7.8 percent per annum. Please reach out your RTM representatives and ask them to vote no on bonding more money for girls softball and Parks and Rec. And if you can remember, on this Friday, June 25, utter a word of thanks to our Korean War Veterans who fought for us years ago as young men. And please say a prayer that they too can afford to stay in Fairfield. They are far more important than softball fields.
RTM District 8,
Project is financially
My two children, my husband and I strongly oppose the development of the open space at Hoydens Lane for the girls softball field. Please do not destroy this gorgeous open space, and spend more money that the town doesn't have to benefit only a small private group that plays there 4 months a year. My children and I -- along with many of our friends -- very much enjoy walking up there. There is abundant wildlife that will be killed or displaced along with beautiful trees and forestation. It is a sanctuary that can't be recovered once destroyed.
Please understand that we thoroughly support both girls' and boys' sports, however, there are already an ample number of playing fields in town where the girls can play softball. Some time and effort in planning to insure the girls get the time they need on the fields is a much more logical and financially responsible solution than destroying more open space to add another playing field that the town can't afford.
I've been a Fairfield resident for more than three years and know that taxes have increased an average of 7.8 percent per year for the past nine years, since my mother, who is a senior citizen, has been here that long. In light of the financial hits that Faifield has taken the past several years through the millions lost in the Madoff scandal, the national recession that has taken countless jobs, devalued our homes and forced some to lose theirs, bonding $350,000 for this project is financially irresponsible at this time.
Thank you for voting no.
Denise and Randy Lauro,
No tax dollars for
private club's field
On Monday June 28th elected members of Fairfield's Representative Town Meeting will vote 1) whether to allow Parks & Recreation to develop 9.42 acres of our "fair fields" town-owned open space for recreation; and 2) whether to use our tax dollars to construct on this land -- for a small private club -- a softball field complex including a fenced-in softball field with bleachers, two-lane paved road to a new parking lot, new well for water, install electric service and construct a restroom building with a septic system. RTM Representatives should vote no on both of these proposals.
A small private club of about 300 girls, Fairfield Little League Girls Softball, wants its own field. Fairfield has many needs, but a new softball field is not one of them. RTM representatives must consider the 56,000 Fairfielders who do not play girls softball. There are lots of fields in town, so many that Parks & Recreation gives fields to adult teams that include out-of-towners. Order Parks & Recreation to renovate an existing field for girls. It will save many hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars!
It would be disgraceful for the RTM to vote to spend $350,000 tax dollars to destroy $1.8 million of public open space land -- now available for all to use -- and develop it for use only by a small private club, especially this year, after $3 million was cut from the education budget for 10,000 town children, teachers gave up their raises and the RTM cut another $200,000 for worthy projects.
For the last few years officers and supporters of Fairfield Little League Softball have been arguing that the town must give them exclusive use of a town field; that they "deserve" one because "Fairfield continues to discriminate against girls." This specious argument by a private club must be rejected.
The Parsells property at 520 Hoyden's Lane at the top of Hoyden's Hill in Fairfield was purchased by the town in 2008 with $1.8 million of our tax dollars. For 50 years the Parsells family kept the property as almost completely grassland. In its current use as open space its annual cost to us taxpayers is the price to tractor mow it a couple of times a year. The benefits of this open space to all Fairfielders are many: Open space increases the value of all property in town because it preserves the natural, rural beauty of Fairfield, distinguishing our town from overdeveloped towns. At one of the highest points in Fairfield, this open space is an important part of the Mill River watershed. The Hemlock Reservoir, only about 1,000 feet west, is the public drinking water supply for almost 600,000 people. This open space provides scarce grassland wildlife habitat at a high elevation, which the State of Connecticut and Audubon advocate preserving. Hoyden's Hill already has hundreds of acres developed for public active recreation: H. Smith Richardson Golf Course and Driving Range.
The Fairfield Citizen's disappointing editorial of June 18 reads like a rewrite of Fairfield Little League Girls Softball's supporters' talking points because it contains exactly the same errors. The Citizen's editors wrote --¦the Parsell's (sic) property on Hoyden's Lane in Greenfield Hill." and --¦the paper has received letters from residents claiming that the field will urbanize Greenfield Hill..." The Parsells property is not located in Greenfield Hill, which is in northwest Fairfield bordering Westport. The Parsells property is located in Hoyden's Hill, in the northeast corner of Fairfield bordering Easton. The editors failed to do even the basic research to determine the location of the open space land they advocate destroying. A "hometown newspaper" without even a Hagstrom map of Fairfield.
The Citizen's Editors wrongly conclude "Objections to the project seem to be more from the Not In My Back Yard mentality than anything else." It is not, as the Citizen says, a "no-brainer" for the RTM to develop $1.8 million open space land paid for with Fairfield's taxpayers' dollars and now available to all and spend another $350,000 to build on it a softball complex for use only by a private club. It is a big deal! The Citizen has completely ignored current economic conditions. Many Fairfielders are struggling financially. Taxes increase every year.
Last year the RTM wisely refused Parks & Recreation's $500,000 request for this same private club's field at Parsells. Now this year, although the project has expanded, the request has strangely decreased to $350,000. Too good to be true! Like Penfield, will the cost will be doubled. True cost to taxpayers of this private field: $1.8 million for land + $350,000 + irrigation system + annual field maintenance costs = too much!
We taxpayers must insist on fiscal responsibility from our RTM. Please email or call all RTM Representatives today. Tell them: vote NO!