By an 8-1 vote, the Cheshire Town Council has (tentatively) committed the community to spending more than $58 million on projects over the next several years (see page one for story).
It’s difficult to find fault with the list put together by the Town, as most of the proposals are for needed upgrades the community must address in order to maintain a certain standard of living that Cheshire residents have come to expect. But the price tag for these improvements, and what it will mean for the local taxpayer, places even more emphasis on the Town’s need to expand economic development and address aging school buildings.
With municipal elections fast approaching, we expect that many of the candidates will spend a considerable amount of time speaking about these particular issues, as they should. To the Town’s credit, many steps have been made to encourage diversification of the tax base and, if the right kind of development is seen in the north end, commercial dollars may finally begin to relieve the financial burden on local homeowners.
The next step will be to come up with a legitimate long-term plan for the schools. A quick look at the just-approved capital budget shows that hundreds of thousands of dollars are being dedicated to maintenance issues, and with the buildings getting older, the cost for keeping them in shape will only rise. A more cost-effective solution must be found.
Collaboration between the Council and the Board of Education is needed and, no matter who wins in November, we hope all remain dedicated to seeing a plan put in place sooner rather than later.