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From the First Selectman: February 6, 2015

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Volunteer Fire Department and our Public Works, Police and Human Services Departments for their exemplary response to last week’s winter storms. Our Public Works crew stayed on the job for 30 hours straight and plowed through very frustrating conditions in which they often saw their work undone by the blowing snow. Human Services, Fire and Police personnel were ready to deal with whatever emergency came their way. The preparation and coordination of our team was impressive, indeed.

Our budget process is moving along, with Departments presenting their budget requests to joint meetings of the Boards of Finance and Selectmen. Once the presentations are concluded, the Board of Selectmen will send its recommended budget to the Board of Finance, which will draft the preliminary budget to be presented at the budget hearing on April 27th. The Board of Finance may make additional changes after that hearing, and will present its final proposed budget at the Annual Town Meeting on May 18th.

As you may know, the Town has a proposal from Toll Brothers for construction of active adult housing on the Country Club of Woodbridge property (CCW). This was one of two proposals the Town received in response to its request for proposals, but the other one was withdrawn due to that company’s increased work load, leaving Toll as the sole bidder. Both proposals, which are available on the Town website: www.woodbridgect.org under the “Government” tab, were reviewed by an ad hoc committee of your neighbors representing a broad range of backgrounds, expertise and political affiliation. The committee recommended that the Board of Selectmen consider the Toll proposal, and only consider the other proposal if in conjunction with Toll. The ad hoc committee’s report is also posted on the website.

Toll Brothers is proposing to build 170 units and offering $7.5 million to purchase approximately half of the 150 CCW acres. This amount exceeds the Town’s outstanding debt on the property of $5.9 million (amount remaining of the original debt of $7 million). The Town has the option to use $1 million of the $7.5 million to have Toll demolish the existing clubhouse and replace it with a small pool house, and renovate the parking lot, tennis courts and pool, all of which would remain Town property and for the use of Town residents. The other half of the property would also remain in Town ownership and could be used for walking trails, a 9-hole golf course, or other use identified by the Town.

Toll has presented its plan to the Board of Selectmen and will present it again at a public informational meeting to be scheduled. Vetting of the plan will continue after that with referrals to appropriate Boards and Commissions.

Please keep in mind that presentation of the proposal to Woodbridge residents is in no way an endorsement by me or by any member of the Board of Selectmen. I am committed to a robust, positive and productive public conversation about Toll’s proposal, and I want to do all I can to assure that the conversation is based on facts. Woodbridge residents deserve the opportunity to hear, review, question and evaluate all aspects of the proposal.

Very importantly also, I remind all Town residents that the sale of Town property is ultimately up to you. If the Board of Selectmen decides that a plan is worthy of going forward, it goes to Town residents for a vote.

As always, please share your ideas and concerns by contacting me at Town Hall and keep up to date with Town news by following us on Facebook (Facebook.com/WoodbridgeCT) and signing up for our e-newsletter at tinyurl.com/WoodbridgeEnews.

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