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Canton Capital Projects Town Meeting Set for Wednesday

Meeting will adjourn to referendum.

A Town meeting on the upcoming capital projects referendum will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. 

The meeting is designed to provide information on the two projects that will go to voters on Nov. 6 — the track, multi-use field and parking lot improvements at Canton High School and partial roof replacement and repair at the Canton Community Center and all three schools. 

If passed, the town would sell muncipal bonds for the projects, essentially its way to borrow money and pay it back with interest over time. 

The cost of the roof projects is estimate at $3,236.575. Officials expect a state reimbursement of 35 percent but need to fund the entire cost. 

The track and field project cost is an estimated $3,615,000, broken down as follows. 

  • $2,092,000 on the 6-lane track with 8-lane spring area and enclosed multi-use synthetic field
  • $1,043,000 on parking lot and driveway improvements
  • $480,000 on design fees and contingency.

First Selectman Richard Barlow said no votes would be taken at the meeting but that it offers a good chance to learn more about them. In addition to town and education officials, project architects will be there, he added. 

"It's going to be an excellent opportunity for people to come, ask questions and get information about both of the projects," he said. 

Depending on the advice of the town attorney and moderator, town officials may also provide a brief update on the status of a planned town garage and road improvements. Those projects were originally going to be on the ballot as one question but were pulled after appraisals for the potential garage property came in lower than the purchase price.  

At a meeting last week, some Board of Finance members were concerned that having only two questions on the ballot would leave voters without a complete look at the potential tax impact of projects before they vote.

Finance board chairman Richard Ohanesian even advocated pulling the questions so all could be presented in the spring.

Barlow, however, contended that some projects may pass while others may not, essentially creating the same scenario. He also said many had already voted via absentee ballot.

Tax impact from the projects would vary from year to year but town has drafted some numbers projecting the average annual mill rate percentage increase for the years 2013-2026. The numbers do assume a 2-percent annual growth in the town budget, 2.5 percent in the Board of Education budget and 5-percent increase in the capital improvements budgets. Those percentages for the projected average tax rate increases per year for 2013-2026 are: 

  • Track only — 1.7 percent
  • Roofs only (net of state reimbursement) — 1.69 percent 
  • Tracks and Roofs (net of state reimbursement) — 1.73 percent 
  • All Four Projects (as originally proposed) — 1.88 percent 

More information about the projects and November questions can be found on the town's web site:

Click here for the Legal Notice

Click here for more information on each question/project

 

Betty October 23, 2012 at 02:07 PM
As I understand it: We budget $400,000. each year for road repairs. We may not know which roads will need to be repaired and which will need to be replaced in advance. We do know that the cost to replace the roads is 4 to 5 times more expensive. What happens if we have budgeted $400,000. but find out we need $2,000,000. to replace those roads? Repeatedly? We have been unable to build a town garage in 25 years, a little less than half my lifetime. We have needed to defer far too many repairs for far too long, and created more expense for the town in doing so. We need more non-residential revenue in Canton to repair and maintain our town and create funds for amenities. There are many really good amenities we would all like to see happen in Canton, we need repair what we already have.
Andrew Charron October 23, 2012 at 03:07 PM
John Do the figures at the bottom make any sense? How would the track project alone be at 1.7% and the combinded roof and track be at 1.73 and then you triple the amount and it is only 1.88%. I am curious where these numbers came from and who presented to you. On Track for Canton has been working with the town and they have not been able to completely state the impact yet? We got a spreadsheet that for some reason does not make sense. Sad part is this information should already be out there for the absentee voters
Canton Taxpayer October 23, 2012 at 06:18 PM
You're right and thank you Andrew -- those numbers don't make sense. I'd like to have the bottom line tax/increased mill rate impact numbers in hand when I vote NO on the track/field bonding issue. Because no matter how you slice it, it's still borrowing $3.6M for 13 years on all property owners' backs.
Andrew Charron October 23, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Canton Taxpayer - property owners should want the track. If the average property owners allocated cost is $50 (based on review of the information given to us but yet to be verified) a year ($650 over 13 years) would you not say your property will be worth more because of the track. Canton house prices are based on several factors but it is well known people buy based on schools and facilities in town amongst other factors. So I would be willing to bet you would more than make up your investment in the track in the value of your property. I think any capital improvement project should have a positive impact on our property values before voting yes. Think about what drives real estate and attracts businesses and this is not about just wasting money on the track. Finally remember $1m is money that should have already been taken care of years ago in the school parking lot repairs.
Andrew Ziemba October 23, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Even in CT it is surprising how many are shocked to learn that not everyone enjoys paying $8,000 a year property taxes. Not all of us work in a cushy, overpaid government job. Many of us believe that taxation is theft even if very few speak up about it. Canton will continue to become an excellent place to rent and a horrible place to buy. This will LOWER home prices because nobody will want to buy. Ask anyone in their 20's or 30's. Everyone I know is trying to GET OUT of CT. They are looking to places like North Carolina to buy. The taxes are lower and there are actually JOBS. Connecticut is dying, house prices have a long ways to go down too. Connecticut will be one of the worst states to live in soon because it is so over run by sevice sector jobs and government jobs. It's going to crash HARD. Oh, and lastly, I think everyone should remember what happened during the great depression. People could feed themselves, and they could keep warm, but their property was brutally stolen from them by the government because they could not afford the taxes. Tax tax tax, look out for those taxes when inflation gets worse. Of course all of this will go over the heads of those who got rich off of the public through either direct government jobs or a sudsidized career field.
Betty October 23, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Is the $50 based on an acre of property? Which is really great for people that own no land or little land, however in a town like Canton you have so many families that own large parcels of land. Some of these families go back many generations, some go back to King George. Those property owners will be paying a incredibly hefty price to finance $3,615,000. for 13 years. The benefits will be realized by the smaller property owners the burden by the larger property owners. We have so much that must be repaired,those expenses add up for those that own more land.
John Fitts (Editor) October 23, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Hi folks. Sorry for the delayed response. I had computer issues today and trouble getting ahold of the finance officer but those numbers are the ones in the spreadsheets the town provided. Again they are averaged out annual projections of tax-rate increases, not an overall percentage increase. However, it is certainly an issue that can be clarified tomorrow.

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