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$3.1 Million Athletic Complex Goes Before Finance Board Tonight

Meetings will be held at 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Town Hall.

The boards of finance and selectmen will meet jointly tonight to discuss funding for a new $3.1 million athletic field, track and bleachers at .

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the

According to an agenda posted on the town’s website, immediately following the joint meeting – at 8 p.m. – the Board of Selectmen will hold its own meeting to “consider, act upon, recommend to the Board of Finance, set a town meeting date and take all action necessary to authorize the Oxford High School Athletic Complex Project and bond financing as forth in a resolution entitled: resolution with respect to the $3.1 million Oxford High School athletic complex appropriation and bond authorization.”

The town has been discussing a new athletic complex at the high school since the school was built five years ago. The town did not allocate enough money when it was built to put in adequate athletic complexes.

A committee was set up almost two years ago to draft a proposal to complete the athletic project, but First Selectman George Temple and Selectman Jeff Haney and say they have found a cheaper way to do it. They have solicited bids for the project, and their proposal is the one that is going before the Board of Finance tonight.

Per town charter, the request must be approved at a town meeting before the town can spend the money. The old field proposal would have been more than 10 percent of the tax levy on the town for next fiscal year, so, therefore, it would have needed to be approved at a referendum. However, the $3.1 million figure is now lowever than 10 percent of the tax levy so it can be approved at a town meeting rather than a referendum, per the charter. 

Residents at a town meeting can make a motion to send it to a referendum or they can force a petition to do so.

Ann Krane, chair of the Democratic Town Committee in Oxford, wants residents to force that referendum and has submitted a letter to the editor at Oxford Patch about this issue. .

Temple said last week that he's confident the plan would be approved at a referendum. 

Vinny Yacovelli June 12, 2012 at 12:20 PM
If the former Tax Collector paid back what she stole from the town over all of those years it would probably pay for the whole complex!
Dave June 12, 2012 at 01:17 PM
An insurance claim was settled with the town, now hopefully we can get more back from her (our) personal funds.Her day in court is fast aproaching.
Joe Blow June 12, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Put it to a town referendum and see where it goes. Although personally, I'm against spending the money now let's see what the other taxpayers say. Interesting how they get the cost just below the threshold for a referendum. It's a government project and we all know it will cost more than budgeted. Read the bid sheets that were just put out for this project and note the words "prevailing wage". Yes folks, the unions raping us again.
MOM June 12, 2012 at 02:25 PM
AGREED, Vinny!!!
MOM June 12, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I, too, agree that this should go to a Town Referendum. If the First Selectman says he isn't concerned about it passing at a referendum, then JUST DO IT!
Brett Olbrys June 12, 2012 at 02:31 PM
There are MANY steps required before this item can move to a town meeting to be voted on by the residents of Oxford. The process that the Charter Revision Commission put in place was a prescribed set of steps to be followed, which was intentional, to make sure the item was fully vetted by the Board of Finance before going to the residents to be voted on. The sections of the Charter that govern this item are 6-10 and 6-11. 6-10 must first be followed and then if the BOF gives its "favorable recommendation", the item moves to 6-11, which in section B, prescribes the steps for the town meeting. The Charter Revision Commission worked very hard on these sections so that all administrations would have to work diligently to pass items such as this. As the former Chairman of the Charter Revision Commission, if anyone has any questions on the revised Charter process, I would be happy to answer those questions.
Roc June 12, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Force that referendum. Just getting it below the 10% tax levy for the town is a typical political move. They don't care what we think. They just want to run OUR town anyway they want. Just like the money for the over 55 communities who voted him in and will keep voting for his decisions.
David Yish June 12, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I too am concerned that the total for this project conveniently happens to be just under the threshold that requires a referendum vote. I look around town and see the shortsighted effects of this. An unfinished baseball field at Great Oak School to match the softball field that has no drainage or seating. Oxford Glen which is a soccer field, 3/4 of a softball field and lacks a paved parking lot. The baseball and softball fields at OHS that are barely playable and lacked seating until temporary seating was installed recently. The current football field that is still suffering drainage issues also falls into this catagory. All of these were underfunded and never finished. Despite what is stated above, we will never know what the old committee's final figure would have been because they were disbanded before they could complete their work. It saddens me to see us repeat the same mistakes again and again in Oxford for the sake of expediency and interject politics into something that rightfully should be an investment in our town. How many times must we pay for a rushed job that falls short of our needs only to let that project wither away like most of our fields do time and again? Yes send it to referendum, please.
Roc June 12, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Do we need to be at the 7:30 meeting or the 8:00 meeting to send it to a referendum?
Ed Rowland June 12, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I strongly agree with Dave Yish.Too many times in the past Oxford has not finished projects.The existing fields in Oxford should be completed first and before any additional fields are constructed.I also struggle with putting bid specs out and accepting bids when the town as not come up with a way to pay for it.The hurry up and get it done approach will end up hurting the whole project in the long run.The former committee working on this had almost everything in place.At this point Oxford can't apply for grants so in reality it will cost the town more money.I will gladly sign a petition to bring the project to a referendum.
Brett Olbrys June 12, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Both meetings are "Special" meetings, therefore you will not be able to address any of the Boards. Meeting at 7:30pm is to discuss the item and talk about funding sources. Meeting at 8:00pm SHOULD BE for forwarding it to the BOF for their actions, nothing else.
Paul Singley June 12, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Meeting is at 7:30 after all. Sorry for the confusion.
Sue Martovich June 13, 2012 at 12:36 AM
I agree with a referendum. What is being done, in the process of, and/or continue and expand our Industrial Grand List? How are we picking up where our prior ED Director left off? In May Mr. Temple stated he will work 24-7 on bringing taxes down for next fiscal year. He said the town has plans for economic development that will bring in large taxpayers who can shift the burden onto commercial and industrial businesses which would give residential homeowners a bit of a break. We now have an Aa2 rating through Moody's Investors. Reason being, Oxford has a relatively stable tax base as a result of rapid population growth and economic expansion over the past ten years. All this mentioned in previous Patch articles. I tried to find the minutes and details relating to monthly EDC Meetings and this is what I discovered. Last meeting held where there were people present, March 7, 2012. The Director was not able to attend due to illness and discussions would continue next regular meeting. March 23rd, meeting was cancelled. All meetings through May were cancelled. If we wish to move forward with the "Ideal Athletic Complex", what is the strategy for off setting the financial burden on the Oxford residents. I would like to see made public a report from Mr McGeever outlining his future plans for incoming business to help support our $3.1 million dollar investment.
Common Sense June 13, 2012 at 01:58 AM
I support the athletic complex for the visibility and future growth. Dont' forget the high school is not only for our youth, but it is a 'community center' - something our town doesn't officially have until we finally get our new library (yes- those missing taxes sure can pay us back -with interest!). However, the posts here make some valid points about rushed projects/incomplete projects. Are there plans to improve Oxford Glen as well as the new park/(field) Tetlak Park?
kathy johnson June 13, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Dave Yish I agree that when you interject politics into the equation it always costs the the town more money in the long run·
kathy johnson June 13, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Just remember that there would not be an Oxford High School today if the BOF was allowed to overule the BOS. For those of you who did not live in Oxford ten years ago you should know that it took great effort to keep the BOF from stopping the high school from going to referendum·
kathy johnson June 13, 2012 at 02:57 AM
I do not see my last comment. Was it deemed unworthy?
kathy johnson June 13, 2012 at 02:58 AM
oops my mistake
Roc June 13, 2012 at 10:55 AM
I remember the high school was voted down several times. All major changes to the town should go to referendum.
kathy johnson June 13, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Roc,I agree. It took my administration lots of hard work to give the citizens the vote that the BOF did not want to even happen. The third vote lost by only 7 votes.That is why many wanted the charter change. They felt that the BOF was disrespected. Brett and his committee did a good job to balance things out. I in fact voted yes for these changes. I do not think this referendum on the athletic fields will be an issue as the people will prevail by petition and get their voices heard. When Former First Selectman Palmer sent the high school to a forth referendum it then passed. Sadly it was more expensive and lacked the fields. Why do I bring up history? Because history in Oxford repeats itself. By all means lets vote in referendum for the fields but remember the more this issue becomes a political battle the more expensive the fields will be. As Former Selectman Yish pointed out Oxford is full of half done projects because of politics and an effort to pinch pennies not necessarily moving too quickly. I believe in being frugal but not stupid. As far as economic development is concerned I feel that every single BOS both D and R have done everything possible to bring in business. The rt 8 corridor is pretty much developed. Oxford will be next when the developers feel the time is right. So far no one is parting with their money right now because of the poor economy. Whoever is the First Selectman when this happens will be viewed as the hero.
Roc June 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Oxford needs to finish the projects that have already been started. It is a waste of time and money to start projects and not finish them. It is also not productive and will keep our town behind not moving forward into the 21st century as First Selectman Temple has talked about. Again, my belief of the athletic project is that it's Temple's agenda because his kid goes to the school. He's not thinking with ALL of us in mind.
kathy johnson June 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Roc, I have lived here for 35 years. I would not just blame Temple. The whole town is guilty of being one issue voters. I long for the day that we all can get along. If only we could all step back and take a breath. You may be a parent of a Oxford High student or a member of an over 55 community or a life long resident. I have no way of knowing but I do remember when new comers were called carpet baggers, when the elderly did not want a high school, when some in the town did not welcome the over 55 people, when the young did not vote for the senior center because they were affraid the high school would not pass, when the library vote failed or when politicos played on peoples fears that taxes would price them out of town.I would not focus on Temple and the BOS. I would however watch closely as to how the BOF handles this issue. Hopefully we will get this referendum and allow the people to speak. We still have a town meeting form of government which can not be run by politicians if the citizen pays attention and attends and votes.
Roc June 13, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I focus on all aspects of the Town.
kathy johnson June 13, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Bravo Roc, I am sure you do. You come across though as not liking the project. Others may want it to go forward regardless of Temples reasons. My point is do not just focus on Temple focus on the BOF too. Watch how this becomes a political issue rather than a benefit to the town. Many times if one does not care for the messenger they do not care for the message. Anyway we both agree that this should in fact go to referendum. Thanks for the dialog. I enjoyed it. Have to go back to work. I'll have to throw in my 2cents later.

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