`Bulgaria has

better roads'

To the Editor:

The poor condition of many of New Canaan's roads is a disgrace for a community with one of the highest per capita incomes in the nation. A visitor from Germany recently told me, as I drove him along Cross Ridge Road (which is in deplorable condition), that Bulgaria has better roads.

As much as I would like to see more sidewalks in our community, I will be voting "yes" in the upcoming referendum. Repair of our existing infrastructure should be a priority over a new sidewalk on South Main Street. Frankly, the Town should appropriate $4 million per year until our road system is in good repair.

Further, until the site specific location of the Main Street sidewalk extension is defined; what mature trees must go; which telephone poles have to be moved; which side banks cut and filled, retaining walls built; and a reliable cost estimate is prepared -- there should be no consideration of any appropriation for a sidewalk extension to Farm Road. To do otherwise is poor stewardship of the Town's limited financial resources.

Skip Hobbs

More Information

Fact box

Town won't stand for more of the same

To the Editor:

I welcome Mr. Giusti into the race for First Selectman.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. And the photo of Mr. Giusti surrounded by so many entrenched members of our town government certainly speaks volumes as to the direction, substance and style we all can expect under a Giusti led Town Hall. I firmly believe our community is not going to stand for more of the same.

In his announcement, Mr. Giusti mentions the word trust. I remind Mr. Giusti that trust can not be manufactured or created; it is something you earn over the course and conduct of many years of service to the community. I believe my record and the overwhelming support I have received from all members of our community -- Republicans, Democrats and Independents -- during the past two elections, speaks for itself on that matter.

Mr. Giusti was a worthy and formidable opponent in 2007 when I defeated him in the Republican caucus for the Board of Selectmen. I expect a vigorous and respectful campaign to be waged by he and his supporters again this time around.

Robert E. Mallozzi III

Selectman

Mallozzi thanks

Walker for service

To the Editor:

I was not present, but learned of Mr. Walker's announcement today.

I want to thank Mr. Walker for his work as Chairman of Park and Recreation and for serving as our First Selectman these past three years. As Chairman of the South West Regional Planning Agency, he served our region and Fairfield County with distinction. I am sure the community is grateful for his dedication and commitment to public service.

I look forward to working with Mr. Walker and Ms. Hines during the remainder of our term together. There is plenty of work ahead of us.

Robert E, Mallozzi III

Selectman

Supporting Giusti

for first selectman

To the Editor:

I am supporting Paul Giusti for first selectman of New Canaan. I know he is the best choice. Between his involvement and the love he has for our town, I know the decisions he makes will be the best ones for New Canaan.

He has an unbelievable amount of experience and knowledge between all of the positions he has held in the past and currently holds for our town.

As a parent of two teenaged children he is strongly involved with New Canaan's baseball, as well as our schools.

He has a true understanding of our town, and the people in our community. Since First Selectmen is the CEO of New Canaan, I know Paul Giusti, has the best experience for New Canaan.

Barb McNulty

In support of sidewalks

To the Editor:

I am writing this in strong support of the proposed sidewalk to be put in on Main Street.

Sidewalks promote safety, encourage exercise and improve our town. I have lived in New Canaan most of my life. It is a fantastic community, but one of the things that I would absolutely change would be to have sidewalks wherever possible -- particularly on roads where kids walk or could walk. There are many roads in town where people don't walk, as it is not safe. I have read through the financial implications of this project, and though it is clearly a significant commitment for the town -- the positives far outweigh the negatives.

This is exactly the type of project that the town should undertake as it improves the community and can be enjoyed by the town for generations to come. For example, the sidewalks that were put in on South Avenue across from Waveny have been a great success as they made walking safer in front of Saxe Middle School and the YMCA. I support the town council's original vote on this topic and will vote no on the referendum. I hope that the proposed sidewalks on Main Street will be the first of many new sidewalks in our town.

Patrick O'Connell

Sidewalks would use up necessary resources

To the Editor:

The town's costly scheme to install sidewalks on lower Main Street and Old Norwalk Road -- an area that sees little pedestrian foot traffic, by the way -- would divert significant resources away from the repairs that many of the town's roads so desperately need.

Some numbers: The town has budgeted $2 million for road repair in 2011. Of that, the town plans to spend $600,000 on the installation of new sidewalks on lower Main and Old Norwalk, and another $200,000 on maintenance of existing sidewalks on Main Street.

That means the town plans to use devote 40 percent of this year's road repair budget to the installation and maintenance of sidewalks.

In a different year, when the economy was better, perhaps, or when our roads weren't in such sorry shape, such an expenditure might make sense. But not now. Fix our roads first. They need it badly -- and start with Main Street.

On April 27, I urge residents vote "yes" to send the planned $4 million bond issue back to the Board of Finance, to change the bond issue's wording to say that all the bond's proceeds must be used for road repair, and NONE can be used for installation of new sidewalks.

Matt Stichnoth

Sidewalks

promote safety

To the Editor:

I am voting "no" on April 27 to support present and future sidewalks in our community.

Sidewalks provide freedom for our whole community to enjoy and walk safely around our town. As we age we are often faced with substantial hurdles when performing routine tasks. Lives can change in a split second through an accident, illness, etc.

There are people all around us with disabilities, some we can see, but the majority of them aren't quite as obvious to the public eye. Physical disabilities can make the simplest tasks challenging and whether they are visible to others or not, they are real to you and those who know and love you. Our newer sidewalks have been fitted so that the curbing is sloped in strategic places making them more accessible to both residents in wheelchairs and people like myself who have difficulty getting up a step or curb.

Sidewalks are not a luxury for us; they can often be a lifeline. The more places in New Canaan they can take us independently, without an aide or family member, the more flexibility we have. Sidewalks provide a venue for mobility, as roads are too dangerous to walk on.

Adding this extension of sidewalk on Main Street now, while the road is being paved is less expensive and more convenient for all citizens. Since moving to New Canaan I have been impressed by the generosity and giving nature of the citizens here. Most of the residents I have met give of their time and themselves both in and out of this community. They are thoughtful and I'm sure they would not mind the possibility of delaying three quarters of a mile of road paving to take the opportunity to add the Main Street sidewalk extension now. While there are some in this town who might consider each step towards a more walkable community, a "nice-to-have," I think most of the folks in New Canaan I know, can see why for a significant group of us this is a "need-to-have." I hope you will join me in voting no on April 27.

Violet Doherty

New Canaan

Vote `no' to support building sidewalks

To the Editor:

Vote "no" to the referendum on April 27 if you support the addition of sidewalks. No, I do not wish to postpone the paving bond any longer. No, I do not want the bond to be returned to the finance committee for reconsideration.

Let's keep our eye on the big picture: Additional sidewalks will link citizens to schools, parks, downtown and neighbors. That is an investment in the community. It is fiscally prudent to pave and build sidewalks simultaneously. Sidewalks make sense on main streets with high traffic volume.

It is unfortunate that such a great public works project has been bogged down in convoluted claims and murky language. Vote "no" and move forward.

Emily and Chris Burns

Do what is right:

Vote `yes'

To the Editor:

Our roads need to be fixed. Our tax dollars need to be spent responsibly. Our town needs to make decisions that benefit the majority of residents. Please think through the absolute needs versus the extra wants when you vote on the April 27 referendum.

Do what is right and vote "yes."

Frederick Chang

Roads must be priority

To the Editor:

I encourage all to vote "yes." Let's fix our roads first. Referendum day is April 27 at New Canaan High School from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you want our road conditions to be your priority, vote "yes."

Ginny Apy

Sidewalks benefit a small part of town

To the Editor:

Installing sidewalks along Main Street will provide little benefit to the town. This is a pet project that is supported by a small but vocal group. The addition of sidewalks along Main Street only benefits a small part of town and not the entire community but the entire community is being asked to pay for this program.

Part of what makes a community attractive is a low tax burden. If the tax burden is to be increased the project in question needs to benefit the entire community, not just a small group. Justifying the expense by saying that the marginal cost to individual taxpayers is minimal is not a smart way to manage the town's finances. If every time a project was considered with this logic, there would be no way that the town could effectively control spending. If every project were evaluated on a marginal cost basis they would all look small. At some point these projects add up. Increasing our debt levels to fund pet projects is not a wise decision which could jeopardize the town's future credit worthiness. Debt should only be used for necessary expenditures.

The Board of Finance presented several statistics illustrating New Canaan's credit worthiness. Two statistics caught my attention. Overall Net Debt Per Capita at $6,550 is higher than Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, West Hartford, Westport and Wilton. It is noteworthy that New Canaan has fewer people to service its debt than other towns. Further, Debt Service as a Percent of Operating Expenditures at 10.5 percent is higher than all of the above communities except West Hartford. Our debt levels are not low compared to our peer communities. Although New Canaan has an excellent credit rating, we are not guaranteed to have one in the future unless we carefully manage our finances.

Installing sidewalks is not a need. It is a want. Paving our currently disgraceful roads is a need. Paving needs to be done first and additional sidewalks need to be considered in the context of the plans that are developed and funded as part of an integrated urban plan. Vote "yes" in the referendum.

Carol M. Graham

YWL fundraiser helps local organizations

To the Editor:

On Saturday, March 19, The Young Women's League of New Canaan transformed Waveny House into a Wild West saloon and held our Hope and True Grit Fundraiser.

The event was a great success and raised thousands of dollars for local youth charities including Circle of Care, Children's Connection, Tiny Miracles and many more worthy organizations. The event included wonderful food from Fabulous Feasts, authentic line dancing led by Steve and Ellen Parker, margaritas with Don Julio tequila donated by Diageo North America and an amazing silent auction with donors too many to list here. We thank everyone who contributed.

We are proud to continue our history of charitable fundraising, particularly in a time when so many organizations are in need. We could not have put together such a fun event without many volunteers including New Canaan Field Club for donating saloon bar tables, Hoyt Landscaping for helping us to transport the tables, and Steve Benko, Steve Steward, Beatrice Watkins and all of the Recreation Department staff for helping us to host the event at Waveny.

There is an amazing amount of time and effort that goes into organizing events such as these, and we were fortunate to have a talented group of women working tirelessly on this one. I want to thank the entire committee for all of their hard work and making that work fun.

Jody O'Donnell, Vice President

Ways and Means

Save road repair and sidewalks

To the Editor:

Vote "no" on Wednesday, April 27, and keep the town's long-range road repair plan going forward. Remember continuing repair and sidewalk construction will not increase taxes. It is an improvement of the town's infrastructure and will promote safety for school children and adults who want to walk to school on Main Street and into town. Sidewalks are green and safe. Vote "no."

Edward Vollmer

Fund roads, not sidewalks

To the Editor:

No one can argue that our roads in New Canaan are in horrendous condition. It seems like every road in New Canaan has pot holes, cracks, and is in desperate need of repair or repaving. As Tiger Mann has documented in the Town of New Canaan Pavement and Improvement Program and has stated publicly, the plan for 2011 will cost $2,030,000, the plan for 2012 will cost $2 million and the backlog list will cost $993,000. It is a total of cost of $5,023,000 needed for 2011-2012 and we are only issuing a bond for $4 million.

Tiger Mann also documented on this program and at the Town Council meeting that the cost of the sidewalks on Old Norwalk Road and Main Street are not included in the $5 million needed for road repair, road repaving and repair of existing sidewalks.

Please review all the facts and vote "yes" at the referendum on Wednesday, April 27, at New Canaan High School from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Absentee ballots are available on the town website and contact the town clerk with any questions as soon as possible. Check out our website at www.ncresponsiblespending.com or email us at ncresponsiblespending@gmail.com.

Vote yes for the $4 million \ to be spent exclusively on road repair, repaving and repairing our existing sidewalks. Fix our roads first. Vote "yes."

Karen and Scott Mackle

Chairman

New Canaan Citizens for Responsible Spending

What's also at stake next Wednesday

To the Editor:

Whether you think new sidewalks on lower Main Street are a good idea or a lousy one, I urge you to vote "no" next Wednesday, because something far more important is at stake.

Our town officials made a decision to go ahead with sidewalks after plenty of deliberation and public input. I believe that subjecting that decision to a referendum is a dangerous precedent, and the referendum should be rejected. Vote no.

In a few short months we will be electing half the Town Council and the full Board of Selectmen (including a new First Selectman). In our town, about 70 percent of all spending is done through the Board of Education, and we will be electing half of that Board as well. I'm sure spending issues will dominate the upcoming campaigns. The people of New Canaan have every chance to elect officials this year who will cut spending, if you think real spending cuts ought to be made. Eliminating an expenditure of less than one-half of one percent of one year's budget is not a real spending cut in my view.

But before we get to that election, we have a group -- unaccountable to voters -- attempting to "undo" the decision of our Town Council with a petition and referendum. That is a perilous precedent. I believe we vest the authority to make these decisions in elected officials for a reason, and I think we undermine the very principle of representative government by subjecting this relatively small item to a referendum. It should be rejected.

You might think it's unwise to put in sidewalks. But I think it's downright foolish to embark on the slippery slope toward California-style governance by referendum. Join me in voting "no" on April 27 and embracing the upcoming municipal election as the proper forum for a debate on the future of our town.

David Kostek

Town Council's action was divisive, but it can be fixed

To the Editor:

What a wonderful privilege and responsibility it is to vote. The situation that prompted use of the referendum shouldn't have happened, but it's good we now have the option to vote. The Town Council's action is reminiscent of the slippery slope Social Security went down after it was initially established and money was collected from workers' paychecks. Some leaders couldn't stand the thought of money sitting in an account and not being used for other very worthwhile projects. They put the money to use in other projects and left an "IOU" note in the Social Security "bank account." The end result is a system that is in serious financial trouble. Do we want to follow that pattern in New Canaan?

The issue is clear and you can dig out the facts yourself from your own computer. Go to www.ncresponsiblespending.com to see the budget figures and the math. This time the Town Council wants to divert road-repair funds for roads and sidewalks. Next time it could be roads and sidewalks and Project X and Project Y and the fundamental job of repairing our crumbled and broken roads will continue to be neglected. If the funding for each project is kept separate, the discussion and debate can be done in a way that clearly serves the needs and desires of the whole community.

The angst you see with dueling yard signs and in letters-to-the-editor arose because the Town Council decided to divert funds from a road repair bond everyone agrees is a basic need. We can tell them we don't like having neighbor pitted against neighbor by voting "yes" in the April 27 referendum.

Pete Wray

New Canaan

Thanking Fresh Air Fund volunteers

To the Editor:

It is with sincere gratitude that I recognize the tireless efforts of Fresh Air Fund volunteers in the Southwest Coast as the country celebrates National Volunteer Week. Their commitment to helping New York City children is exemplary for all community members and truly embodies the spirit of the 2011 National Volunteer Week theme, "Celebrating People in Action."

Fresh Air volunteers work in several capacities throughout the year in 13 Northeastern states and Canada to help make The fund's programs possible. Caring Fresh Air host families open their homes and share the everyday joys of summertime with their Fresh Air guests. Our local volunteer leaders -- many of whom are also hosts -- serve on our local committees, plan summer activities, publicize the program and interview prospective host families. Additionally, individuals and businesses give generously of their time and resources to make the Friendly Town host family program throughout this area a great success each and every summer.

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.7 million New York City children since 1877. For more information on how you can help to continue this wonderful tradition of volunteering, please call The Fresh Air Fund at 800-367-0003 or visit www.freshair.org.

Jenny Morgenthau

Executive Director

Vote `no' Wendesday

To the Editor:

Next Wednesday, April 27, you will be asked to vote on the sidewalk and paving referendum. Vote "no" on the referendum to affirm the Town Council's deliberate decision approving the appropriation and bond resolutions to repair and repave the town's roads. Although Main Street sidewalks are not specifically mentioned in the referendum, we understand for many this is the central issue.

The most recent Plan of Conservation and Development, a state required plan, was prepared by Planning and Zoning with resident input in 2003. It stated "New Canaan should continue to require sidewalks in the center and adjacent higher density areas" and specifically included Main Street.

Pedestrian safety remains the number one concern as there are walkers every day on Main Street. Walking is a healthy lifestyle choice appropriate for all ages. Sidewalks also provide connectivity to points of interest, downtown, schools, parks, the farmer's market and the cemetery. Extending the sidewalk on Main Street down to Farm Road will provide a continuous walkable loop. Each walker creates an extra parking space in town and saves on gas improving the environment. Sidewalks create a sense of community and studies show that home values rise the fastest in pedestrian friendly areas.

Our town representatives have approved many projects with the town's best interests in mind, not all projects benefit everyone directly but all have had a positive impact on the town of New Canaan.

Please join us and vote "no" on April 27.

Jill and Mickey Stayman

Mary Beth and Tim Smith

Lisa and Fred Corrado

Margaret and Al Kokoth

Krista and Bruce Colthup

May Rawls and Will Rogers

Helen and Richard M. Crowley

Jan and Ernie Greywacz

Maureen and Ken Malizia

Bobbi and Robert Lasek

Robert Manna

Lee Greywacz

Stacey Impellizziere

Dan McAuley

Molly Stayman

Vote `no' to support sidewalks

To the Editor:

Support a walkable community and paving of our roads by voting no in the referendum on Wednesday, April 27, at the high school.

1. On April 27 the ballot will not mention sidewalks. It will say: "Shall the action taken by the Town Council on Feb. 16, 2011, approving a $4 million appropriation and bond resolution for the town's road network be repealed, overuled and returned to the board of finance for reconsideration?" Sending the bond back to the BOF is a stall tactic that resolves nothing. Vote no.

2. The proposed Main Street extension of sidewalk should be done while Main Street is paved which will reduce costs and inconvenience by shutting down the road once.

3. The sidewalk issue on Main Street isn't disappearing. There are safety concerns as pedestrians walk in the road to reach other sidewalks in town.

4. Eliminating the $400,000 Main extension will not open up a huge backlog of roads that need paving. This money is the equivalent to paving half a mile of road.

5. Sending the road network bond back to the BOF for reconsideration is serious business. A rating measures the capacity and willingness of a town to pay. We already know we have the capacity to pay from the BOF subcommittee on debt report and the Moody's Triple A bond rating. One could become concerned about the perception of approved debt being constantly overturned by popular referendums.

6. Contrary to claims made by NCCRS, our road bonds are not "a slush fund for pet projects" and to suggest this, is an insult to the hard work of our all-volunteer Board of Finance and the Town Council. The BOF wrote our road network bonds broadly to give Public Works the ability to repair our roads more efficiently. Roads needing new drainage, more lighting or clearer signage are fixed without requiring a separate bond issue. Public Works, with approval from the Board of Selectmen, has the flexibility to repair or add a stretch of sidewalk while they are paving a road which is why there are either new or improved stretches of sidewalk on South, Farm, Seminary, Elm, Forest (upper and lower), Burtis, Church, Lakeview and upper Main Street.

Stefanie and Bruce Anfindsen

Joe and Kathy Bucci

Ashley and Andrew Burr

Kimberly and Chris Connors

Jill and Thomas Crystal

MaryBeth and Bill Fessler

Suzanne Fredericks

Stephen and Maryalice Gelhaus

Cobie and Neal Graber

Keri and Boyd Harden

Diane and Ian Hobbs

Jeff and Kathy Holland

Tori and Jonathan Legge

Robin and Patrick O'Connell

Brian and Katherine Ong

Kim and Steve Quinn

Kristin Seelert