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Letters to the Editor - Winsted Journal - 3-24-17

Northwest Corner getting shortchanged 

Litchfield County residents, don’t you think our county has taken one hit too many from the state legislators and Gov. Malloy? 

Where are our Litchfield County state legislators? Are they asleep at the wheel?

Our small towns are very frugal in spending taxpayers’ money. Yet, our towns constantly get penalized on state funds in favor of the large, wild-spending cities. Enough is enough.

Our country is severely getting shortchanged in state revenue and upgrades. Look at the billions spent on road improvements for I-84, I-95, Quinnipiac Bridge, the new bus line from New Britain to Hartford that is almost empty with ridership. Nothing here. How about upgrading the rail lines along Route 7 and Route 8 up to the Massachusetts border?

Give us a break. The rail lines are upgraded through most of the state but not us. 

Also, the large cities spend millions on bloated education and municipal employees. Many of their workers are unnecessary, political payback employees. Our small towns who wisely spend their money must subsidize these bloated payrolls. Once again where are our county legislators? 

The state of Connecticut is in an economic free-fall for years. Some Connecticut state employees and UConn professors retire with up to $250,000 pensions. Many of them move to Florida where it is much more affordable. Also, the state and cities just throw money at the state education institutions including municipal and UConn.

What happens? The graduates have to leave the state to get decent jobs because Connecticut’s bloated budgets are driving companies out of state.

Maybe Litchfield County should leave Connecticut and join New York state or Massachusetts. Maybe we should become part of the Indian Nation in Kent. This state is in continuous decline. Don’t take my word alone, ask General Electric!

William Bures

Norfolk

 

Proposed health clinic would hurt town

Lives have been saved and health care made accessible by the efforts of the Winsted Health Center Foundation.  Since 1997, after Winsted Memorial Hospital closed, the Foundation initiated hospital-level services at the Center, including emergency room and LifeStar resources with its partner Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and physical therapy with its partner Saint Francis Hospital, primary care for veterans with its Veterans Administration partner, and senior residences at the Susan Perry facility.

Community Health and Wellness of Greater Torrington is a recent member of the Winsted Health Center community. In 2015, it received a $1.2 million federal grant to expand services at the Winsted Health Center, as stated in its application for the grant.

But now, Community Health and Wellness wants to convert space on Main Street in the center of downtown Winsted into a non-profit health clinic. It will pay no taxes and it will be next door to another non-tax paying entity, Faith Bible Church. This is a mistake.

Winsted needs a thriving commercial downtown. An underlying objective of the Plan of Conservation and Development and the Planning and Zoning Regulations is to keep the town center commercial district intact and occupied with taxpaying, commercial and retail entities. This encourages shopping, dining and other entertainment and commercial activities and generates tax dollars for the town.  

Winsted has multiple health services conveniently located at the Winsted Health Center, which has space for expansion and has recently increased local bus service to ensure adequate transportation to the Spencer Street facility, which has been the location of health care in Winsted for over 115 years.

Finally, some suggest that nothing should interfere with the private transaction between John Dwan and Community Health and Wellness. Certainly, Dwan has been a supportive community member and friend and everyone agrees that he deserves his comfortable retirement in Litchfield.  But residents and officials in Winsted must act responsibly and consider the economic and other impacts of losing more of the valuable commercial Town Center to nontaxpaying expansions. This is not personal. The future of our town is at stake.

Community Health and Wellness has applied for a special change of use permit for the current IGA Super Saver location. The required public hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 27 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Please attend the meeting to protect the town center.

Charlene LaVoie

Community Lawyer 

Winsted