Demand fiscal responsibility

To the Editor:

Yes, a lot of money has been and continues to be misspent and wasted by New Canaan Town Government. Although it is somewhat difficult to total the exact amount, the estimate may be approximately $4,260,000 for the eight months in this current fiscal year from July 1, 2010 to Feb. 28, 2011. And we still have another 4 months to go until the start of the next fiscal year on July 1, 2011. Are there proper and effective checks and balances in how decisions are made by the various town bodies?

Furthermore, are there proper and effective internal controls in place in the verification, disbursement, tracking and auditing of how our tax dollars are spent for various purposes? Can we, the voters, residents and property taxpayers of New Canaan have full confidence that spending decisions by the town decision-making bodies are being made with the highest levels of thorough deliberation, extensive analyses, fiscal responsibility and in the interest of and for the benefit of the community-at-large and not for a small minority or some special interest group?

Be courageous, speak out and demand the highest standards of fiscal responsibility in how your tax dollars are spent by your elected and appointed town representatives. If you want to contact anyone in town government, all you have to do is to go to www.newcanaan.info or refer to the "Know Your Representatives" mailing that was recently sent to each household by the League of Women Voters.

Frederick Chang

Sidewalks make sense

To the Editor:

I have sidewalks in front of my house on Main Street and I'd like to clarify some misinformation regarding the plan to extend sidewalks on Main. The proposal is part of a broad town initiative to close gaps in our in-town sidewalk system while the town is in the process of paving a number of in-town roads. The town saves money by extending the sidewalks while they are paving these roads.

Extending this small section of sidewalk on Main from Oak Street to Farm Road would link Main to South Avenue and other sidewalks in town. This connection would create a logical loop accessible to three schools, Waveny and shops in town. The project would also include a small portion of Old Norwalk Road to connect Waveny and Kiwanis so townspeople could walk between those parks and all around town.

Opponents of the sidewalks, many of whom don't want them near their homes, would have you believe that these sidewalks are being installed on a random street with no forethought other than to waste taxpayer money. Recently a group has petitioned for a referendum. A significant portion of road paving is now frozen because of this petition for a referendum. Ten roads that have been bid and approved are on hold. In addition to those 10 roads, Main Street is also on hold. If this group obtains the required signatures for the referendum, which would cost the taxpayers between $8,000 and $9,000, then paving of these roads could potentially be stopped until early May which is the latest the referendum could be held.

This is town land, and extending these sidewalks is a safety issue. Schoolchildren, moms with strollers and people of all ages are walking on Main where there are no sidewalks. Not only is it dangerous for the pedestrians, but for drivers who are often forced to veer into the left lane to avoid them. Once Main is paved the traffic will pick up speed even if the speed limit is reduced, making this road even more dangerous without a sidewalk.

Extending sidewalks on Main is budgeted at $400,000 and these sidewalks will be here for future generations as the pedestrian and automobile traffic in our town increase. This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us. This is the kind of progressive thinking that has made our town a desirable place to live.

Diane Hobbs

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