Letter: Selectman responds to letter


To the editor,

I have read former First Selectman Susan Cable’s letter to the editor, which itself was in response to several articles in the July 7, 2017 Citizen’s News, that was published in the July 21 edition of the Citizen’s News. In her response she spins a tale that everyone but she is at fault for both the condition of the Wolfe Avenue “Tracy Lewis” property and the new opportunity for the town to hire an economic development coordinator now potentially at a higher rate.  So, let me add my own spin.

Ms. Cable correctly identifies that “cost” was the reason that drove the decision to raze the buildings on the property. What she fails to mention is that she herself directed the committee reviewing the property not to use cost as a reason in their decision. The building committee at that time, and for reasons not clearly expressed, decided that the third-party study undertaken to determine both the structural integrity and history of the property as inaccurate and therefore flawed. The study concluded the buildings should be saved and renovated as part of the larger building project. Though this recommendation was deemed to be “flawed,” this committee took the study’s conceptual cost (about $900,000) to renovate the main house as final. The Board of Selectmen voted 2-1 to raze the house on this recommendation, and the Planning and Zoning Commission voted to raze the house because of the Board of Selectmen vote.

It must be noted it was this third-party study that prompted me in my position as the municipal historian to nominate the property for recognition on the State Register of Historic Places. The state committee that awards these designations agreed with the assessment that the property more than qualified as a historic place and it was so designated in October of 2010. The designation opened the opportunity for grants to develop the property, which has never been investigated. In addition, the town never has requested formal bids to renovate the buildings. I invited several individuals to provide informal estimates and those estimates came in as $500,000 to 600,000 — one included adding an elevator to the building.

Ms. Cable states that she left all the details to take down the buildings in a folder after losing the 2011 election. What she had was a quote ($18,000) to take down the buildings “after” the town mitigated all the asbestos and other challenges in the buildings. I provided a verbal quote for approximately $73,000, which included the remediation charges. In the end we actually did not have a real cost to raze the buildings. As to funding, calls to Congresswomen DeLauro ended up a dead end, so no funding was forthcoming. Since then I have requested the current administration (Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance) to include $100,000 in the budget to take down the buildings before they become further blighted and an embarrassment to the town.  Both have refused to execute on my request.

Related to the economic development coordinator position. Her letter appears as her attempt to sell her services to the town by gaining public support. My response to this: I welcome the submission of her resume. It will be reviewed by the Economic Development Commission, which I believe owns this decision/recommendation, along with everyone else who applies.  Does EDC have the final decision on who is selected, perhaps they do, but the final contract must come before the Board of Selectmen. Will the decision be political again? It absolutely will as both of her brothers must recuse themselves from any interviews and decision if an application is submitted by Ms. Cable. Her brother Jack is the chairman of the Economic Development Commission and her brother Peter is currently a selectman. Yep, this is only going to get better.

Michael Krenesky


Beacon Falls

The writer is the Republican endorsed candidate for selectman in the 2017 election and the chairman of the Republican Town Committee.