NEWS ALERT!ELECTION DAY 2020.THE $55 MILLION DOLLARS INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT. VOTE YES OR NO BY NOVEMBER 3RD.
City’s Voters will be asked to decide the fate of the $55 million infrastructure project for the November 3rdelection.
Mayor Florsheim said earlier that this project is “specifically oriented towards economic development and growing the tax base beyond where it is today.” He clarified his responsewith “this project will allow more businesses and residents to come into town and do well, increasing the amount of revenue coming into the city and allowing us to hopefully lower the tax rate.”
How will it be done?Mayor Florsheim said that it would add “significant more parking to downtown, which has been a longstanding need both for businesses and for us to be able to add more housing; it will bring the city hall site and the arcade site onto the tax rolls, bringing in potentially millions in new revenue.” According to Mayor Florsheim this project will enable the city to start the process of “moving forward on the riverfront, which we also hope will bring more people and business into Middletown. It also continues our investment in roads and public spaces, both of which are key factors in attracting businesses and residents.“
Will people’s taxes increase as a result of this project? Mayor Florsheim responded with “One of the main goals of this is to lower taxes in the long run. The only tool we have in our local toolbox to reduce taxes is to grow the tax base, which this project does in a significant way. “ Mayor Florsheim went onto say “I firmly believe that the only way to meaningfully get our tax rate under control is to bring in the type of economic vibrancy that these projects provide.”
Joseph Samolis, the Director of Planning, Conservation & Development stated “I will say, if the City is going to authorize and borrow money, this is a good time to consider it, with rate at 1% or even lower, the interest paid on the bond is minimal.”Also, if this project wins on November 3rd“there is no guarantee that the City will utilize the total amount of 55 Million dollars authorized” because of a state Urban Act Grant the city applied for “that would ultimate reduce the total need to be bonded by that amount. We are hoping to hear this month or next month if we receive this money” according to Samolis.
Why Move City Hall?Samolis said this about the City Hall lot “over the past 9 years, we have dealt with approximately 4 major developers that we have been working with to do a mixed use development at the old arcade site (parking garage behind Police Dept), and all of these developers really like the City Hall location and preferred it over the arcade location.”According to Mayor Florsheim “The key factors about it that make it particularly attractive and valuable: large site, easy access to public parking and downtown amenities, views of the riverfront, and visibility from Route 9.”
If the referendum passes how soon would the City move into the former Citizens’ Bank Building on Main Street? According to Mr. Samolis it would take the city approximately two to three years.Samolis stated “The current owner has tenants in some of the 1980’s building and those leases continue to 2023. At the same time, the City would need to do some upgrades to the building….”
How long would the project take to complete? Both Mayor Florsheim & Mr. Samolis both agreed it would take about ten years to complete. Samolis stated “it will take the better part of 10 years to probably spend the money associated with the grant. Specifically, the $15,000,000 for Road improvements takes time for the Public Works Dept. to design and engineer road improvements, build and then construct.”
You may contact Mayor Florsheim at 860-344-3401 & emailMayor@MiddletownCT.Gov.Mr. Samolis phone860-638-4840 & email is joseph.Samolis@MiddletownCT.Gov
If you support this proposal or oppose it please vote on November 3rd.The most important issue that will be on the ballot will not be this question but rather the offices of President & Vice President of these United States of America.When President Ronald Reagan campaigned for this office in 1980, he asked “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”Is the nation better off now than it was four years ago?Please consider these questions when you vote for President and Vice President either by absentee ballot or in person by November 3rd.Polls open from 6 a.m.-8 p.m.