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From Across the Aisle – Woodbridge Selectman Maria Kayne 10/30/15

Continued Town ownership of the Country Club of Woodbridge (CCW) and the negative budgetary impact it creates are back in the forefront of Town discussions. What should be the future of the CCW? Many have called this the most important issue facing our Town.

Recently the First Selectman began a new round of meetings to restart a process that will, we all hope, this time, produce a solution. So far, two joint meetings of the Boards of Selectmen and Finance have been scheduled, and two tours of the clubhouse building have occurred. The first joint meeting on September 29th was not well attended by the public, perhaps because it was not posted on the town website until that morning. After complaints from residents, the subsequent meetings were posted well ahead of time. I hope this is the start of a more open and transparent dialogue. I also hope that public comment and questions will be a feature of all future meetings on the subject of the CCW.

The meeting on September 29th consisted primarily of a presentation by Town Finance Director Tony Genovese outlining both a current financial report of operations as well as historical background on the Town’s purchase and six year ownership and operation of the CCW. If you were unable to attend, I urge you to view the PowerPoint and video of the meeting which are accessible from the town website (click on Archives and scroll down).

Notwithstanding a study and advice from town consultant Milone & MacBroom, a series of public meetings referred to as “Woodbridge Listens,” the creation of an Ad Hoc Committee, and the production of an RFP (Request for Proposals), the previous two plus years have proven unsuccessful in defining a viable long term plan for the CCW. There were only two responses to the RFP and one quickly dropped out, leaving Toll Brothers as the sole option. It has been more than a year since Toll submitted its proposal. At the October 14 Board of Selectmen meeting, the First Selectman stated she has recently been conducting “informal negotiations” with Toll and they may be presenting some modifications to the original proposal.

Ultimately, of course, Woodbridge voters will decide the future of the Country Club. It is to be hoped that this time, the First Selectman will create a better process, one that defines a much broader range of options, quantifies those options in terms of both financial and quality of life measures, and does not occur behind closed doors in “Executive Session.” Furthermore, I urge the First Selectman this time to put the responsibility for driving this process where it belongs – with the Board of Selectmen, we who were elected to solve this problem and we who are directly accountable to the voters, not foist it off on a group of handpicked volunteers.

I am eager to hear from you directly, and invite you to contact me at: mkayne@woodbridgect.org.

 

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