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Brookfield First Selectman Update on Economic Growth

First Selectman Bill Tinsley gives an update on new businesses, new construction and the proposed budget.

The following note was in the April edition of Brookfield Matters, the town newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter on the town’s website.

Springtime is here! The snow cover is gone and temperatures are beginning to moderate. The season of new life and renewal is an appropriate way for us to think about the "JUMP START" path we are on in Brookfield. Growing season!

Economic activity and life is sprouting. Along Southern Federal Road we will see more new construction with the addition of a new Dunkin Donuts (Near the YMCA), a Chic-fil-A across from the ShopRite Plaza, and the completion of a new retail/commercial center across from Costco. Road construction for North and Southbound turning lanes at the Shop-Rite Plaza traffic light will begin soon, and the finishing touches to the water line will be completed.

At the Four Corners, we continue to make planning progress with the Brookfield Village LLC project. The property owners for this project recently purchased an additional 5 acres (19 & 23 Station Road), and have started the project update review process with Zoning and Inland-Wetlands Commissions. Some important transition plans for current businesses at this project site are taking shape. The former Rocco's has reopened as a Steakhouse — Hot Stone. Also in the Town Center District, the project known as the Residences at Laurel Hill has made important pre-construction progress.

In the Berkshire Corporate Park, the first building in the Brookfield section belongs to our newest neighbor, Eastern Financial. They are off to a strong start with approximately 750 employees at their recently opened national call center. They are a very welcome addition to Brookfield and the area — please join me in wishing them great success.

And of course, we are in the thick of budget planning season. Growth in our local economy is the best way for us to take care of funding our local service needs. A budget of $60.5 Million will be presented at a Public Hearing in the High School auditorium at 7 p.m. on April 8. The anticipated referendum date is May 20. Spending at this level would result in a very modest increase of 1.69 percent to the property tax (mill) rate. The Municipal spending proposal addresses some long overdue additional contributions to the capital budget and begins to make a small contribution to our long term obligations for Retiree Health Care Benefits. Education program costs benefit from the favorable cost impact of an early retirement incentive program and a decline in student population. A budget summary can be viewed at www.brookfieldct.gov.  

Our Parks Revitalization Plan proceeds on schedule. Competitive bids have been received for Phase I (Cadigan Park) and the Municipal Building Committee is in the process of reviewing them. We still expect to start construction this spring!

We also plan to lower the town's debt service costs by refinancing our 2006 General Obligation Bonds. We could save $750,000 in interest expense.

All-in-all, Brookfield is moving forward and the momentum is good! In closing, I'd like to wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy spring!

Bill Tinsley
First Selectman
Brookfield, CT
Victor Bucci April 08, 2014 at 09:07 AM
Brookfield – Budget a Case of Priorities In the last electoral race for First Selectman, both Mr. Lasser and Mr. Tinsley supported the renovation of Huckleberry Hills Elementary School. Please watch both candidates express their views. Note Mr. Lasser who is an expert on financial matters explaining there will be little effect on property taxes. Note Mr. Tinsley calling the renovation a “top investment priority for the town” and the fact that the renovation is “past due” in his own words. http://brookfield.patch.com/groups/elections/p/first-selectman-debate-renovating-huckleberry-and-pensions (Brookfield Patch October 22, 2013) For more information on the Huckleberry Hills Elementary School capital project, please see the paragraph on capital projects. http://www.newstimes.com/local/article/School-head-asks-2-7-million-more-5080537.php When cuts are made to an educational budget, what gets cut? Usually capital projects are an easy target. It is clear that all agree that the schools need work. In his state of the town address, Mr. Tinsley again supported the need for the renovation of the HHES but his cuts in the education budget may be the major reason why this work will not be done in the near future. At the March town meeting, residents approved money for sidewalks and streetscapes. The town passed $250,000 for a matching grant of $540,000 from the state. The town has a commitment to pay the developers of the Laurel Hill Road project $106,000 (possible tax abatement). However, town leaders also mentioned that there may be more money needed for the Four Corners, 2.5 -3 million dollars. Residents – what is your priority? When the “Miracle Mile” was built, did the town of Brookfield require the developers to expand Federal Road to four lanes? In recent renovations to the COSTCO site, who paid for the turning lanes and the new traffic signal (red light)? Have Brookfield residents ever been asked to use public funds to improve private property? Brookfield can afford to fix up its schools. Brookfield can afford to have a police officer in each school. In justifying the $106,000 tax abatement for streetscapes at the Laurel Hill Road project, a prominent member of the Board of Finance stated that a homeowner with an assessment of $239,000 would be paying less than $12.00 in taxes. Would you rather pay for sidewalks or security for our schools? Would you rather have renovations to our schools or improve private property at the Four Corners?
John Mainhart April 08, 2014 at 09:12 AM
You all live in a different world than I do. When things are going well in the economy we get a tax increase. When the economy is struggling we get a tax increase. The facts don't seem to have much affect on your decisions.

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