July 29, 2016

Letter to the Editor: Thank You From Organizers of Literacy Volunteers April Fool’s Race

To the Editor:

The 9th Annual Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore April Fool’s Race benefitting tutoring programs for area residents came in like spring this year. A little slow on the starting blocks but run in beautiful weather and finishing with a kick. Racers from all over New England and as far away as Minnesota participated in the festivities to help commemorate the contributions of past volunteers Dot and Erl Nord.

We are especially fortunate to have an extraordinary combination that made this year’s event a rousing success. Special thanks to the Clark Group and Tower Laboratories, our title sponsors. Their generosity reached new heights with their sponsorship, which included the Backward Mile race. AAA Refrigeration answered the call with a Silver Sponsorship this year.

Thanks also to sponsors Edward Jones Investments-Clinton, Andre Prost, Inc., Pasta Vita, Kearney Insurance, Penny Lane Pub, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank and Big Y Supermarkets for their generosity in helping stamp out illiteracy.

A huge thank you to Race Director Elizabeth Steffen, who again worked very hard this year to make this event a success. We greatly appreciate the generous assistance from First Selectman Norm Needleman, the Town of Essex, Essex Police, Essex Parks & Recreation Department, our office staff and our many race volunteers.

Finally, thank you to all our racers and all those who brought “spring” to the race and the cause of literacy.

Sincerely,

John J. Ferrara,
Executive Director Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. — serving the towns of: Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Guilford, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.
Share

Letter to the Editor: Make Sure FRA Hears Your Opinion on Their “Potentially Catastrophic” Railtrack Proposal

To the Editor:

Since the informative Op-Ed commentary by Dr Gregory Stroud on January 29th outlining the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) alternative proposals for the North East Corridor, there has been considerable concern among Old Lyme residents and others over the potentially catastrophic impact posed by the so-called “Alternative 1” solution.

“Alternative 1” proposes a new rail bridge crossing the Connecticut river diagonally between the I95 highway bridge and the existing old rail bridge.  Apparently, this new route would consist of four tracks and will closely follow the I95 bisecting Lyme Street through the Lyme Art Academy campus and a stone’s throw from other historical properties including the Lyme Art Association, the Old Lyme Inn and the Bee and Thistle Inn.  In addition it appears to obliterate the Hall’s Road shopping center.

One might have expected that the proposed potential destruction of the heart of one of Connecticut’s most treasured historical sites would warrant some prior discussion with the local community.  Amazingly, of the eleven public hearings conducted between mid-December and mid-January none of them were held within 30 miles of Old Lyme – arguably the town most heavily impacted by this proposal.

Our elected officials seem to have been equally unaware of the implications until about a week ago. Did any of them attend the hearings in Hartford or New Haven or were they as much in the dark as the rest of us? Why has the local community not been informed or consulted?

The deadline for public comment has been extended from January 31st to February 16th – I hope that all citizens who treasure the beauty and historical significance of Old Lyme follow Dr Stroud’s advice and contact the FRA at www.necfuture.com  and urge them to adopt an alternative solution.

Sincerely,

Peter Eio,
Old Lyme.

Share

An Open Letter to Old Lyme Land Use Commissions, Related Agencies Regarding Sanitary Wastewater

To the Editor:

An Open Letter to the Several Old Lyme Land Use Commissions and Related Agencies

Subject:  Sanitary Wastewater

It has come to the attention of this Commission that sanitary wastewater treatment in plants sanctioned by the State DEEP [Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] are discharging less than potable fresh water into our rivers flowing eventually to salty Long Island Sound.  The view of the DEEP seems to be based on their opinion that dilution is the solution to pollution.  The Connecticut River is closed to recreational shell fishing because they neglect to tell us, that the treatment plants they supervise are the source of much of this pollution.

With the name they give themselves, it seems to be odd that they, of all people, should control the very sewage treatment plants that pollute these waters.

“Seems to be” in the previous paragraph is there because it is difficult to document the culprit.  This Commission believes that the DEEP (formerly the DEP) [Department of Environmental Protection] is the fox in the henhouse.  They spend public money, but the results of their effort, is far from transparent.

Several years ago, one example came to our attention when an official of the DEP told Old Lyme representatives that a proposed sewage treatment plant in Old Saybrook would discharge treated water into the Connecticut River midway between the Amtrak and the Baldwin Bridges.  He told us not to worry because “The discharge pipe would be fitted with a diffuser.”  When asked what a “diffuser” was, he said, “So it doesn’t all come up in one place.”

For another example, the screens on the discharge at a plant near Middletown clogged up, and the plant operators opened the discharge directly to the River, and raw human waste arrived by tidal flow at Point O’Woods in Old Lyme a few days later.  In this instance, officials in Hartford had the unmitigated gall to say that this human waste originated in Point O’Woods where there are, and were then, no open sewers dumping raw sewage into nearby waters.  None.

One reason why this has been going on is that most people don’t relish talking about human waste.  Another reason is sewage discharges are often located in obscure places like the bottoms of rivers.  We believe the data is all there but “not available”.

There is no denying that in heavily industrialized or densely populated urban areas, conventional septic tank-leach fields are not adequate for the load, but even here the DEEP is abusing both the environment and home owners on lots which are too small for conventional septic tank-leach field treatment.  This is because of still another factor.  The DEEP in this state is in a turf war with the Connecticut State Health Department.  Here, the DEEP holds a monopoly on about all wastewater treatment, except for the old fashioned passive septic tank – leach field, presently the only wastewater treatment available to sanitarians who work under the guidance and rules of the State Health Department.  The result of this situation is that the local Health Directors and local Sanitarians cannot avail themselves of modern, proven systems now in use in Rhode Island and in Massachusetts to digest all septic waste on a small house lot.

So to win this turf war, the Connecticut DEEP resorts to another ploy.  They don’t test the soil.  They simply measure lot size and lump neighborhoods as those having houses too close together.  By a formula that they don’t make public, they declare a lumped discharge of 5000 gallons per day from several sources, and they claim jurisdiction, whereas the State Health Department is limited to control only the individual smaller discharges.  In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, such small individual discharges would get individual treatment with modern technology, thus avoiding the loss of fresh water to the ocean and the costs and hazards of sewage treatment plants and leaky sewers.

So who loses when we have unnecessary sewers?  First, the environment loses ground water.  We exhaust the aquifer and cause dug wells to dry up.  Taxpayers lose as we pay to move wastewater that could easily go back through leach fields into groundwater at no cost to the taxpayers.  Instead, they dump partially treated water into the ocean.

What must be done to correct this situation?  We must get the fox out of the henhouse.  The DEEP should not be permitted to monitor itself.  Data concerning sewage treatment plant discharges for both quantity and quality should be readily available for anyone to scrutinize.  The use of alternative technology for sewage treatment should be made readily available to any registered sanitarian or health director, without any interference by the DEEP.

When sanitary waste water is sewerized and discharged into a river we are throwing away a valuable resource that could, and should be, recycled efficiently to improve our environment and save money too.  Modern technology permits this, but the DEEP prohibits alternative technology for single home installations and hides the data which would indict them.

Sincerely,

The Old Lyme Shellfish Commission

Editor’s Note: This letter was submitted by Mervin Roberts, Old Lyme Shellfish Commission Chairman, on behalf of the commission.

Share

Letter to the Editor: LYSB Gives Thanks to OLPD for Food Drive; Many Benefited, Reflects Community Collaboration

Members of the LYSB Youth Advisory Council stand with Old Lyme Police Officer Martin Lane at the recent Food Drive outside Big Y.

Members of the LYSB Youth Advisory Council stand with Old Lyme Police Officer Martin Lane at the recent Food Drive outside Big Y.

To the Editor:

The Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) wishes to thank the Old Lyme Police Department for holding the recent Thanksgiving Food Drive. The Old Lyme Police officers donated their time to organize the food drive which collected donations on three dates at Old Lyme Marketplace, as well as items donated by residents, groups, and businesses.  Through the kindness of our community, the LYSB was able to distribute food to needy families in Lyme and Old Lyme, including senior citizens, and 97 children.  The food closets at the Lymes’ Senior Center, and the Old Lyme Social Services were also stocked.

The 2015 Thanksgiving Food Drive is an example of how collaboration among organizations can improve the quality of life for our residents.  The Lyme-Old Lyme community has a history of generosity and volunteerism, and for this I am grateful.

On behalf of the LYSB staff and board, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Mary Seidner,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the Director of Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau.

Share

Letter to the Editor: Still Not Seeing Eye to Eye–Bernblum Challenges Hutchinson’s Latest Argument on Town Spending

To the Editor:

In my letter of November 2 to LymeLine I asserted that Nancy Hutchinson’s letter of November 1, in which she argued that a Reemsnyder administration would mean excessive tax increases for Old Lyme, was based on misleading information.  For example, I pointed out as incorrect her statement that “this year we face a 9.8% increase in Town expenditures,” when the actual increase in “Total Expenditures,” as stated in the Town’s budget, is 3.67%.

Mrs. Hutchinson again wrote to LymeLine on November 6 and claimed that her 9.8% statement was correct.  It was not.  As she admits in this letter, she was not referring to total town expenditures, but only the 28% of those expenditures for “Total General Government and Capital Outlay,” omitting the 72% of the budget going to our schools.

Taxes were the subject of Mrs. Hutchinson’s original letter.  They are a function of the entire budget, not 28%.  When Mrs. Hutchinson referred to “a 9.8% increase in Town expenditures,” she made no mention of the fact that she was talking about only a fraction of those expenditures.  The reader was therefore led to believe that the entire town budget went up 9.8% and, therefore, that taxes would likely rise in a similar amount.  She cannot credibly claim that the phrase “Town expenditures” is the same as “Total General Government and Capital Outlay.”  Her 9.8% phrase as written was not accurate and the message it conveyed was clearly misleading.

Sincerely,

Bennett J. Bernblum,
Old Lyme

Editor’s Note: The author is a member of the Old Lyme Board of Finance, the Democratic Town Committee, and the Halls Road Improvement Committee.

Share

Letter to the Editor: (Post Election) Rebuttal to a Rebuttal — Clarifying the Facts on Town Spending

To the Editor:

The increases in Old Lyme Town expenditures summarized in my original letter published in LymeLine.com Nov. 1 are correct, and taken directly from the Board of Finance presentation made at the Old Lyme Annual Town Meeting on the 2015-16 Budget:

  • Increase in General Governance:                6.84%   ($8,736,432 budgeted)
  • Increase in Capital Outlay:                         44.01%   ($1,006,129 budgeted)
  • TOTAL TOWN BUDGET INCREASE:       9.77%   ($9,742,561 budgeted)

In Mr. Bernblum’s “rebuttal” letter published on LymeLine.com Nov. 2, he does not distinguish between the Town of Old Lyme Budget and the Region 18 School District Budget; one is controlled by the Town of Old Lyme and the other by the Region 18 Board of Education.  The 3.67% increase he refers to is the combined impact of both the Town (9.8%) and School (1.5%) increases.  He also does not mention that the 4.9% Mill Rate increase would have been 6.9% had the Board of Finance not taken $600,000 from the Town Surplus that is carried over year-to-year primarily for emergencies and one-time capital expenditures prioritized as part of the Annual Budgeting process.

The fact that the reduction in the Grand List exacerbated the Mill Rate increase speaks to the issue I raise in my letter:  property values have fallen and many people are struggling financially.  The Selectmen’s decision to champion approval of $405,000 in Town funds for the Boathouse Hains Park Improvement Project without prioritizing this non-emergency, non-budgeted cost versus other town needs (e.g.: road repairs) resulted in nearly half of the 9.8% Town budget increase. Hopefully the re-elected Selectmen will be more cognizant of the financial impacts of their decisions moving forward.

Also the claim that the Boathouse Hains Park Improvement Project costs have been reduced to $600,000 is not true.  This estimate is for only one portion of the project; when one includes costs already spent on the withdrawn plan, this number is closer to $660,000.  Total project costs will be much higher once the remaining project costs are added:  for example, costs for renovating the public restrooms now that new Boathouse will not include toilets. 

Because the remaining costs will be significant, and have yet to be defined, there is a question whether the entire $883,000 budget ($478,000 STEAP grant plus $405,000 in Town funds) will be adequate to fund the total project based on the newest Boathouse plan.  Please recall that when originally approved, the Boathouse project was to be fully funded by the STEAP grant, without any Town funds as discussed in my Op-Ed published on LymeLine.com Oct. 26, 2014. 

Sincerely,

Nancy Hutchinson,
Old Lyme.

Author’s Note: Information Sources:  Information on the 2015/16 Town Budget was derived from materials available from Town Hall upon request; information on the Boathouse Hains Park Improvement Project comes from attending nearly all committee meetings this year and reviewing associated materials. 

Editor’s Note: The author was elected as an Alternate to the Old Lyme Zoning Board of Appeals in Tuesday’s election.

Share

Our Policy Regarding Letters to the Editor

Our Inbox is overflowing with letters to the editor so we thought it would be helpful to clarify our publication policy.

Letters must observe a 400 word limit.

Letter writers must supply their name, address and telephone number for verification purposes.  They also should note any political memberships/affiliations.

We will publish letters related to the Nov. 3 election through midnight on Sunday, Nov. 1.  The only letters published on Monday, Nov. 2 will be those directly related to letters previously published.

No letters related to the election will be published on Nov. 3.

Share

Letter to the Editor: Writer Rebuts Letter Suggesting Reemsnyder Overspends, Says First Selectwoman Controls Expenses

To the Editor:

In Nancy Hutchinson’s letter to LymeLine yesterday, she advises readers, in typical scare tactics, that they should vote for the Republican candidate for First Selectman because re-electing Bonnie Reemsnyder will “result in further financial hardship to hard-working and retired taxpayers.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Bonnie’s administration has been scrupulously careful to avoid any unnecessary tax increases, working in tandem with the Republican-controlled Board of Finance.  Four of the Board’s six members are Republicans.  Two of them serve on the Republican Town Committee, and one Republican alternate is that Committee’s chairman!  The RTC’s campaign literature asks voters to “Maintain the excellent record of cost control by the Board of Finance.”

Mrs. Hutchinson attempts to support her claims with misleading generalizations.  Capital projects, and their costs, evolve as projects develop.  Under Mrs. Reemsnyder’s administration, however, they have been kept within tight financial controls, massively subsidized by state and federal grants.  The Boathouse/Hains Park Project was approved by Old Lyme voters at $883,000 but is now expected to cost $600,000, $478,000 coming from a STEAP grant.  The Sound View improvements project was reconfigured at an estimated cost of $751,000,  $601,000 coming from a federal grant.  The $108,000 of over-budget expenses for the wastewater study commissioned by the WPCA were incurred by the engineers in violation of the terms of their contract and are likely to be paid by Clean Water funds and from bonds to be repaid by the users, not the taxpayers.

It is also true that town expenses, and budgets, vary with the circumstances.  The 2015-16 town budget, which was carefully developed by the Boards of Finance and Selectmen, protects a 3.67% increase in total expenditures, not 9.8% as asserted by Mrs. Hutchinson.  The mill rate increase of 4.88% reflects, in large part, a decrease in the town’s grand list of 3%.  The increase in projected tax revenue is only 1.65%.   Finally, the Board of Finance’s decision to use $600,000 from the town’s accumulated surplus to fund $400,000 of road improvements and $200,000 for removal of gas tanks at the town garage was made possible because, under Bonnie’s leadership, the surplus has grown and, therefore, is available for exactly this kind of purpose–one-time, unexpected, capital expenses.

Please, voters, do not be misled.  Come out to vote tomorrow for Bonnie and Mary Jo.

Sincerely,

Bennett J. Bernblum,
Old Lyme

Editor’s Note: The author is a member of the Old Lyme Board of Finance, running for re-election. He is also a member of the Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee.  He has recently been appointed to the Halls Road Improvements Committee.

Share

Letter to the Editor: New Old Lyme First Selectwoman Needed in Difficult Economy to Control Spending

To the Editor:

As an independent, I feel it is important to vote on an individual’s record versus their party affiliation, especially in local elections.  My concern with re-electing Bonnie Reemsnyder is that it will result in further financial hardship to hard-working and retired taxpayers, many of whom are the backbone of our community and have helped to make Old Lyme such a wonderful place to live.  While the current Selectmen may mean well, that is not enough; they have been responsible for overseeing three major projects that have each grossly exceeded the scopes and budgets initially approved by Town vote:  the Boathouse/Hains Park Improvement Project, the Sound View Improvement Project, and the exploration of a Local Sewer Treatment option.

As town leaders, instead of challenging these excesses or admitting that the plans put to Town vote were not adequately developed, the Selectmen supported approving additional Town funds or significant changes to project scope, as well as using the Town surplus to cover large unbudgeted cost overruns, and circumventing prioritization of those costs versus other Town needs.  As a result, this year we face a 9.8% increase in Town expenditures, a 4.9% increase in mill rate, and a $600,000 (8.5%) reduction in our Town surplus!  This seems out of touch with the financial realities of many in our community struggling to make ends meet.

We need a First Selectwoman who can balance the desire to implement multiple large projects against the financial realities of our community, and can ensure that any project brought to a Town vote is sufficiently developed that the community can be confident that it will be implemented as promised.   Please consider bringing a new voice to the Old Lyme decision-making process, regardless of your political affiliation.  Balance is the key to working well for the benefit of all.  Cathy Carter supports a fiscally responsible approach to Town projects, and she brings prior governmental experience and a Master degree in Public Administration to ensure the implementation of the necessary checks and balances to support responsible local governance.

Sincerely,

Nancy Hutchinson,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is an Independent candidate for the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Share

Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme First Selectwoman Offers Overview of Police Grievance Situation

To the Editor:

In a recent letter to LymeLine, the author asked whether grievances filed by our Police Union members reflected mismanagement.  The answer is no.  Management of our police department has been consistently professional, respectful and objective.  Although details regarding personnel matters may not be publicly discussed, it is appropriate for me to give an overview of the facts.

Serious internal discord arose in our police department which, by last spring required intervention.  An independent consultant was retained to identify the causes of the problem and recommend solutions.  All personnel were interviewed in confidence.

The consultant recommended, in short, that all members of the department should work collaboratively to resolve the issues, and to establish a clear chain of command consistent with our Resident Trooper program. This program is conducted under a contract between the Town and the State of CT for supervision of our police force, with the Resident Trooper in charge.  Other officers may provide assistance with tasks, but they must report to the Resident Trooper.

Our efforts to implement the consultant’s recommendations (i.e., to have the officers work together cooperatively to resolve their issues, under the overall supervision of the Resident Trooper) were met with resistance and refusal by some.  It was therefore necessary to make decisions regarding management of the department, including clarification of the chain of command leading up to the Resident Trooper.  The Resident Trooper then worked closely with this office to prepare for the busy summer, met with concerned citizens, and established criteria for assignments to assure proper performance of duties, compliance with the union contract, and fairness to employees.

Certain officers were unhappy with the changes made, and filed grievances.  In consultation with our labor attorney, these were reviewed by me, and dismissed.  Some were then appealed to the full Board of Selectmen which, at two public meetings, unanimously found them to lack merit.  Several of the grievances have now been appealed to the State Department of Labor, where our attorney expects them to be dismissed again.

In short, problems developed within the police department that could not be allowed to continue.  I and the full Board of Selectmen took the necessary corrective action. Fees incurred were money well spent to assure that order was restored to the department in a careful, fair, open-minded manner.

Sincerely,

Bonnie Reemsnyder,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is currently First Selectwoman of Old Lyme and also a candidate for the same position in the upcoming election.

Share

Letter to the Editor: Carter Ready, Willing, Able to Lead, Manage Old Lyme

To the Editor:

This is politics.  Media and mailers, resume challenges and even personal grievances are expected.  That being said, one should not diminish a person’s educational background and employment history.  It is this type of judgmental attitude that prevents volunteers from stepping up, feeling that they’re not educated enough, they don’t work/have the right job, or their pedigree is inadequate.  A person’s mind, opinions and capabilities are limitless.  It is the passion one has that will lead to their success.

When you set aside the usual quarreling, tit for tat personal views and opinions the independent thinkers will vote November 3rd that:

Managing a town takes more than simply creating committees.   We have 22 commissions in town, some with sub-committees and some with vacancies or expected vacancies depending on the results of the election.  There are committees to discuss salaries, pension, public works, and even committees that are designated to specific neighborhoods-all listed on the town’s website.  These committees and commissions need a strong and respected manager that can communicate timely and effectively, demands accountability and seeks immediate resolution and solutions to discord.  We depend on our volunteers to help our town be the best it can be.  Volunteers, just like employees, look to our Manager to ensure deadlines are met, costs are monitored, ideas are appreciated and projects and charges are completed. 

Managing a town takes more than borrowing or being awarded free money.  Really, is anything “free” anymore?  Once the money is in, it is how it is spent.  Asking for an accounting is unacceptable.  Monthly reporting to ensure expenses are not incurred beyond a budget is common business practice.  Concerning the WPCA issue, the attorney’s finding was that the additional invoices were not invoices but an “outline of the costs of additional services…not expected to be paid immediately.  So, where will the additional money come from to pay these future costs that are relative to a design study/plan, not the project itself?  Remember, the plan is to design a budget for the work that has been done and needs to be done in order for a project to be approved and/or implemented.  The actual project is subject of “free” money, not the planning process.

Every project needs a manager.  Every town needs a leader.  Cathy Carter is ready, willing and able to be our Selectwoman.

Sincerely,

Stacy Winchell,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is a Republican candidate for the Region 18 Board of Education.

Share

Letter to the Editor: Despite Claims to Contrary, Carter’s Experience Not Relevant to Old Lyme’s CEO Position

To the Editor:

Proper leadership of Old Lyme requires sound judgment, patience, sensitivity, integrity and experience.  It has been asserted that Cathy Carter has 15 years of experience in government and, therefore, she is ready to lead our town. I have reviewed the facts and determined otherwise.  Rather, it appears that her “experience” has been elaborated only for purposes of the campaign.

The campaign brochure handed out at the Selectmen’s debate on October 29 includes a brief biography of Mrs. Carter.  It refers to her service as a lacrosse coach and a PTO president.  It mentions no government or leadership experience.

Mrs. Carter’s LinkedIn page cites her skill at sales, marketing, public relations and lacrosse coaching.  It makes no mention of any government or leadership experience.  It states that she graduated from high school in 1982 and received a BA in 1986 and an MPA in 1990.

In a letter Cathy has distributed to voters, and in Jim McQuade’s October 30 letter to LymeLine, Cathy’s experience is described as follows:

— Internships in Meriden City Hall and the US Congress in 1983, 1984 and 1985.  Hence these were undoubtedly unpaid internships during her college summer vacations.

— During the period 1986-1993, working for housing authorities in Meriden, Bridgeport and Stamford, and as a housing advocate while serving as a “Governor’s Fellow for the State of New Jersey.”  The letters do not state the scope of this work, let alone why it is relevant to serving as a town’s CEO.

— Working as a sales rep for EnviroMed Services, Inc.–a private environmental consulting firm and not a governmental entity—from 1993 to 1998, presumably trying to sell the company’s services to towns in New Haven and Fairfield counties.

Cathy’s letter lists no positions after 1998.  What’s wrong with this picture?  Cathy has no relevant experience but pretends otherwise.  This is not a good recipe for town leadership.

Bonnie served eight years as Selectwoman before serving four years as our First Selectwoman.  She has done an excellent job and knows it inside out.  Bonnie is, beyond dispute, the better candidate to lead our town.

Sincerely,

Judy Burdick,
Old Lyme.    

Share

Letter to the Editor: Correcting Carter’s Negative Mailer About Reemsnyder

To the Editor:

A few days ago the Republican candidate for Old Lyme First Selectman circulated an “attack mailer” purporting to set forth “The REAL Reemsnyder record.”  Portraying Bonnie Reemsnyder in an ominous black and white photo and misstating her record, the piece typifies the sort of disinformation we see in negative, dishonest campaigns elsewhere.  It also foreshadows the tone and substance we could expect in Town Hall were Cathy Carter to be elected.  Some corrections to Mrs. Carter’s misleading statements are these:

Bonnie supports the efforts of the beach communities to pursue a sewer solution and has done nothing to impede them.  She agrees with the WPCA that sewers are the most cost-effective response to the DEEP’s orders to correct shoreline pollution, given its attitude toward a local solution.

The design changes in the boathouse project have reduced the estimated cost from the $883,000 approved by town meeting to $600,000 ($478,000 of which to come from a STEAP grant).

The earliest cost projections for the Sound View improvements project were based on a conceptual plan and not a defined project scope or engineering estimates.  They were too low.  The project is NOT going to double in cost but, instead, will decrease in scope until additional funds can be found.  A $601,000 federal grant will pay most of the current construction budget of $751,000.

The DEEP’s requests for additional work increased the cost of the WPCA’s wastewater study.  Mrs. Carter’s public statements that the potential sewer project would result in a $50 million expense to Old Lyme taxpayers is patently false.  The cost of the study and the project are subject to reimbursement from Clean Water Funds, and the balance is expected to be financed by bonds to be repaid by users of the sewers, not any other Old Lyme taxpayers.

When the Old Lyme police department encountered internal discord impairing its effectiveness, Bonnie had to step in.  Some officers were unhappy and filed grievances, which were rejected unanimously by the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen and are expected to be dismissed on appeal.

In summary, Mrs. Carter and her team are making things up for purposes of soliciting votes.  (It would have been helpful to have a truth-meter at the October 29 debate.)  Rancorous, deceptive politics have no place in Old Lyme.  We need Bonnie: open, honest, inclusive, moving forward.

Sincerely,

George Finley,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is an elected Democrat on the board of assessment appeals as well as on the  Democratic Town Committee, both in Old Lyme. He also sits as an alternate on the Harbor Commission.

Share

Letter to the Editor: Reemsnyder/Nosal Listen to Residents, Implement Improvements

To the Editor:

As the Reemsnyder/Nosal power duo readies for its third victory, I think back how true leadership reversed trends perpetuated by their predecessors. Old Lyme had become accustomed to a barrage of lawsuits from numerous lake and beach residents; all of them no-win for the town. The coastal areas were driven to pollution status by town laws supposedly authored for returning clean water to the aquifer. Numerous school plants and facilities reached embarrassing condition levels before any renovations began.

In contrast, Reemsnyder/Nosal have listened to all homeowners concerned about the value of their property. They have used forward thinking to reverse the environmental harm done to water front communities and they supported the seamless high school renovation,
the timing of which impacted taxes in the least possible way.

Superior schools, clean environments, home value protection, and modest tax increases are reasons we need to stand behind the Reemsnyder/Nosal team in November.

Sincerely,

Paul Gallo,
Old Lyme.

Share

Letter to the Editor: Carter’s Extensive Government Service Supports her Candidacy

To the Editor:

I am pleased to write this letter to inform fellow voters how Cathy Carter’s many years of experience in government service have prepared her for the job of Old Lyme First Selectman.

Cathy earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in public management with a concentration on municipal government.  In the early 1980’s, she served in two consecutive internships in Meriden City Hall and in Washington in the US Congress.  Following her internships at the municipal and federal levels, she served in positions with the Meriden and Bridgeport Housing Authorities for several years.  Cathy was also selected as a Governor’s Fellow for the State of New Jersey and served in a position created to address the famous 1983 Mount Laurel NJ Supreme Court decision.  Cathy then spent several years in positions with the Stamford Housing Authority and a sales role serving Fairfield and New Haven County municipalities.

Finally, Old Lyme residents will recall Cathy was a girl’s lacrosse coach for many years as well as a Lyme-Old Lyme High School employee for several years.

Old Lyme will be well served by Cathy Carter’s many years in government service.  I urge Old Lyme voters to join me in supporting Cathy and her team on November 3rd.

Sincerely,

Jim McQuade,
Old Lyme.

Share

Letter to the Editor: Democrats Accuse Republicans of Breaking Long Observed “Gentleman’s Agreement” Regarding Political Signs

To the Editor:

The Republican campaign literature purporting to compare the candidates for First Selectman is so misleading that one wonders if the authors understand our community at all.    Similarly, the Republican Town Committee has blatantly violated town party custom by posting campaign signs at locations other than their campaign headquarters.  The Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee posts the following letter after requests to remove the improper signs were initially ignored.   The good faith agreement has been breached.

For years the Democratic and Republican parties in Old Lyme have abided by a “gentleman’s agreement” to avoid the use of political signs during elections, except at party headquarters.  Now, with a new Republican Town Committee chair and an unknown candidate for First Selectman, this long-held tradition is being ignored.  Clearly, the Republican campaign headquarters is located in the Hideaway shopping center, and yet massive signs are displayed at the corner of Route 156 and Halls Road.

This breach of agreement raises more serious questions than a change in advertising practices.  If the new guard in the Republican Party is going to ignore the longstanding agreement on signage, will their candidate respect in the future other past practices, traditions and preferences of the Old Lyme community?  Tough to tell, as there is no record to review of her performance on any town government boards, commissions or even special committees.  What is known is that she has not objected to this activity.

Old Lyme is a unique community whose residents appreciate our character and history.  We deserve to have our traditions respected by our leader.

Bonnie Reemsnyder is a just such a leader we can count on.

Please join me in voting for the Reemsnyder & Nosal Team, Row A on November 3rd.

David B. Woolley,
Old Lyme

Editor’s Note: The author is the Chair of the Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee.

Share

Letter to the Editor: Misinformation Abounds on Sewers; Reemsnyder Supports Best Plan, Needs Re-election

To the Editor:

Misinformation is circulating in Old Lyme regarding First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder’s positions on sewers.  The facts are as follows.

In 2012 the DEEP concluded that some Old Lyme beach communities had a pollution problelm and ordered the residents to find a solution.  In 2013 the town commissioned an engineering study to evaluate alternatives.  The DEEP strongly resisted a local solution, preferring instead that the wastewater be conveyed by sewer to New London.

The beach communities subject to the DEEP orders independently pursued a sewer solution.  Bonnie supports a plan that would facilitate these efforts by having a town authority (the WPCA) construct and maintain the main trunk line into which the beach communities would connect, bringing management and financial efficiencies to the overall project.   If the project is completed as anticipated, the entire construction cost and most of the study cost will be financed by tax-exempt bonds, and repayment of the bonds and operation of the system will be paid by the users of the sewers, not the other taxpayers of Old Lyme.

Bonnie is in the best position to ensure that this plan is implemented properly and cost-effectively.  We need to re-elect her on November 3.

Gil Soucie,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is Democratic candidate for Treasurer in Old Lyme.  He is also a member and current Treasurer of the Democratic Town Committee.

Share

Letter to the Editor: Challenging the Challenges to the Carter Candidacy

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to a letter sent in by Bennett “BJ” Bernblum on the 25th.

Contrary to what BJ Bernblum would have you believe, there is no “expiration date” on a Master’s degree.  The fact is, Cathy Carter has 15 years of experience working in positions of responsibility in municipal, state, and federal government.  To suggest as a working mother, and as someone who volunteered countless hours teaching and coaching the youth of our community, that her hard earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in public administration as a young professional are irrelevant – is both ill informed and arguably sexist.

It’s interesting also that Mr. Bernblum fails to disclose that he’s both a Democratic candidate on Bonnie’s Team this year and a maximum $1000.00 donor to Bonnie!

BJ Bernblum just doesn’t speak the facts. And, no matter how much he wants Bonnie, himself, and his team to win, as they say, “while you are entitled to your own opinion, you are never entitled to your own facts!”

Bottom line, Cathy Carter knows her way around government and will no doubt hit the ground running on day one as First Selectwoman.  If you support a common sense approach to government and savvy practical experience, vote Cathy on November 3rd!

Sincerely,

Wayne Buchanan

Old Lyme

P.S.Congratulations to Cathy for her vision and community direction advocated in the Selectmen’s Debate.  She is a community leader with plain to see administrative and government experience.

Editor’s Note: The author is a member of the Republican Town Committee.

Share

Letter to the Editor: Tooker’s Record as Tax Collector Merits Her Re-election

To the Editor:

I write in strong support of our Tax Collector, Judy Tooker, for re-election on November 3rd. Old Lyme relies on these taxes to pay for our schools, services, and public safety – so whoever is collecting them needs to be reliable and Judy is. Her track record of collecting over 98% of Old Lyme’s taxes year after year is a testament to her work ethic and her consistency. Judy is clearly committed to ensuring taxes are collected quickly and efficiently and she has done an outstanding job, so there is no reason to change the course now.

Judy is a proud, lifelong Old Lyme resident who has built up so many strong relationships with people of all walks of life. Her love of Old Lyme can be seen through many aspects of her personal life. Her children and grandchildren all live in Old Lyme and Judy can frequently be seen supporting local organizations such as the OLFD, the Lymes’ Senior Center, and all of her grandchildren’s school activities. Our town’s sustainability means the world to her and it makes me feel better knowing we have someone so dedicated to us collecting our taxes.

I hope you will join me in casting a vote for Judy Tooker (4B on the ballot) for another term as tax collector – she’s earned it.

Sincerely,

Lisa Knepshield,
Old Lyme

Share

Letter to the Editor: Misinformation on Reemsnyder’s Record on Sewers Widespread, Get the Facts & Re-elect Reemsnyder

To the Editor:

As a member of a beach community in Old Lyme, I feel it necessary to correct some misinformation that is circulating in connection with the upcoming Board of Selectman election.

Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder has been, is, and will continue to be supportive of our efforts regarding sewers. To state otherwise is false. It is imperative that all voters seek the facts on every issue and not rely on idle chatter or hearsay. After all, a properly – informed electorate forms the basis on which we can all benefit from a meaningful and fair election. Let’s all do our homework.

When the facts are known, I think you will agree that Bonnie is the right choice for First Selectwoman.

Sincerely,

Mary Finley,
Old Lyme

Share