A View from Glen Hill: Doomsayers drone on

I wrote about the Miller-Driscoll matter right before our town vote and again seven weeks later and have nothing to add to my points made then. On more than a few occasions, though, I’ve been astounded at the positions advanced by the small group whose regular letters to the editor of this newspaper assure that the matter is never left unaddressed in any given week’s issue. In fact, in the issue of Jan. 15, three of them managed to appear with letters simultaneously — truly a triumph of coordination!

I welcome the vigorous expression of political opinion and am certainly not loathe to express my own views on local political issues in this column. So, let me address points these letter-writers discussed two week ago:

Quoting Eugene Flanagan, we are “in the grip of depression … portend[ing] an international financial crisis far worse than that of 2008 and a consequent depletion of the town’s tax base.” Therefore, he argues, we need to redo the Miller-Driscoll vote and presumably cut back all of our town spending on capital projects.

Would those who think we are about to enter a depression (or are already in one) like to re-vote other things such as our town’s bonding decision of several years ago to repave major portions of Wilton’s 127 miles of town roads? Those roads are being addressed in a systematic program of repaving that will pay dividends for years to come. But if depression is truly upon us, can we afford such capital programs notwithstanding that interest rates for towns with top bond ratings, like our own, are at all-time lows? In short, where, if “Sensible’s” revote idea were given credence, would the revoting end? Is every bonding decision of the last few years now up for grabs? That is no way to run a town, and fortunately our town leaders know it.

Ed Papp in that same issue complained that “the voting process was deliberately rigged” and “prior announcements were limited.” While Mr. Papp is a regular letter-writer to this newspaper, he is apparently not a very thorough reader of it since he and others who claim lack of voter notice about the Miller-Driscoll rebuild project seem to have missed The Bulletin’s banner headlines preceding the town vote.

Meanwhile, Alex Ruskewich’s letter seems to be recommending rebuilding just the Miller-Driscoll roof and HVAC system (“improvements are needed at Miller-Driscoll but should be concentrated on items that are needed now for student health/safety: roof and HVAC”). I know that consistency is reputed to be the hobgoblin of little minds, but Mr. Ruskewich is among those who have lamented over the past few years (and extolled the numerous FOIA requests addressed to this subject) that Miller-Driscoll is a vortex of noxious air pollutants not to mention aggressive mold and who have persisted in those assertions notwithstanding air quality tests to the contrary. One would think that anyone holding such views would be on the frontlines of demand for radical rebuilding of Miller-Driscoll for which redoing the roof and the HVAC would be but a part of eradication of those fundamental problems of the structure that he himself has asserted exist.

As I’ve said before, the result of the town vote was to affirm a decision made with the unanimous approval not only of the Board of Education and the Board of Selectmen but also of the Board of Finance whose members have never been considered pushovers by any on either side of the Miller-Driscoll matter. Redoing the vote — even if it were legally possible, as it is not by compulsion of residents’ petitioning — would delay by years a rebuild that everyone agrees is absolutely necessary for the well-being of our youngest school-age children in a building which is one by which the quality of our entire school system is gauged by new young families who are considering moving to Wilton.

The rebuild was presented in great detail in numerous meetings around town before the vote, and the leaders of the building committee continue to confer with those who have constructive ideas to offer. Merely urging “bring it in for $25 million!” as these few letter writers did right before the vote, or “bring it in for $5 million/10 million/15 million!” as they do now, is not a realistic solution to the building’s needs. These needs, as even they acknowledge, are of major magnitude for a building sadly in need of the full overhaul (with state funding support) that the voters approved giving it.

Mr. Hudspeth lives on Glen Hill Road.