According to an Observer Dispatch article on Monday, March 5, 2007, “Two months ago, the Ralph Perry Junior High School teacher (Natasha Homa) had to carry picture books, make catalogs, record tapes and repeat words so that students in her Spanish classes caught the accent. Not any more.” Now, because of a $19.6 million capital project approved in 2002, there is new technology in New Hartford Central School language classrooms.
Well, isn’t that special! So what you are saying is that since 2002, New Hartford School District residents have been taxed to cover the cost of a $19.6 million capital project to include this new technology, but you are just now, at the end of 2006, getting around to spending the money to implement the new technology in the school? Let me guess, the money has been sitting in your capital reserve fund for about 4 years and now we are being asked for approval to bond for an additional $25.7 million which some of the money will probably be used to replace some of the 2002 bond money you just spent from capital reserves. And part of the bonding being voted on March 13, 2007 is supposedly going to fix the job that we paid for with the 2002 bonding--that is, the repair of the football field. The 2002 bond was supposedly to fix a drainage problem on the field and now you tell us that the drainage “fix” of 2002 (which by the way we are still paying for) didn’t work and we now need to put artificial turf on the field. To quote the Town Crier article in February 2007, "Despite upgrades, the persistent problem of poor drainage has raised safety concerns and limited the district's use of the current high school athletic field". Mr. Gilligan maybe you should contact Delaney Construction and let them know that they shouldn't use the work they did for New Hartford School as a PR piece on their website since they really didn't fix the drainage problems of the field.
I find it interesting that the 2002 bond money was spent to fix the football field right away and yet spending the money for the “needed” technology “to prepare students for the future” was delayed for 4 years. So does that mean that if this new round of bonding is passed, we will get busy and install the artificial turf and build the $15+ million Community Arts Theatre (which I heard won't even hold enough people for graduation ceremonies to be held at the school) and then 4 years from now we will be reading about the new classrooms we just built? Will that be just in time to hopefully get residents to pass another bond vote--so in 2011 you can brag about the new classrooms that the 2007 bonding built. What will be the “need” for bonding at that point—a new school on Tibbitts Road?
And to tie this blog entry to the continuing saga of what was missing from the March 1, 2007 Observer Dispatch article, I did not see mention of Councilman Reynolds actual remark at the meeting regarding the property on Tibbitts Road.
At the February 28th informational meeting, a member of Concerned Citizens for Honest & Open Government suggested that it might be a good idea for the town to take a look at the Tibbitts Road property in an effort to consolidate all town offices in one place. This resident was a part of the committee that looked at possible solutions for consolidating town offices back in 2001. It was agreed by everyone on that committee that consolidation was the only thing that made any sense, both dollar-wise over the long term and for the convenience of residents.
In the March 1, 2007 Observer Dispatch article, Councilman Robert A. Payne, III said that the Tibbitts Road property would be inconvenient for the departments as well as the residents. Really? I am betting that it has more to do with the plans for the Tibbitts Road property that the town board and school already have been "cooking" behind closed doors. Right, Councilman Payne?
And according to the OD article, Councilman Reynolds said that "consolidation was impractical". That's not how you put it at the meeting Councilman Reynolds. I believe you quickly pointed out that anyone who has lived here any length of time knows how bad the winds blow up on Tibbitts Road and that would be no place for town offices. Sometimes according to Councilman Reynolds you can’t even see a few feet in front of you when the wind blows the snow around. You know, Councilman Reynolds, since the town is supposedly “partnering with the New Hartford School” it might be nice if you would mention that fact to Dan Gilligan, New Hartford Central School Superintendent. If it is no place for town offices, how could it possibly be a good place for a bus garage and maybe a school as was on the "architectural drawing" that many of us saw at Mr. Gilligan's meeting with Tibbitts Road residents back in December? We mentioned that fact to Mr. Gilligan at the December meeting with Tibbitts Road residents and he “brushed” it off as not a problem. Of course, it might not be Mr. Gilligan who needs to know “how bad the wind blows” because with all the rumors that are swirling around in the Town of New Hartford, many people are not convinced that it was really just the school that was looking at developing the Tibbitts Road property anyway.
Councilman Reynolds, a warning, those words you spoke at the February 28th “informational” meeting may come back to bite you!