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Letter: Its Time to Undo the “Bad Deals”

Cathy Wick asserts the Arbor Haven Proposal will produce a large financial loss for the town.  The Proposal – and Ms Wick – persist in using average costs instead of marginal costs.  That is, what is the cost of adding one more residence and family?

To determine this, we should look at the families that have moved into Woodbridge in recent years – say, five years – and see how many school-age children they had and have.  For the same period, we can determine how many children attended Woodbridge schools, and what was the percentage of capacity use of our schools.  With this information, we can begin to calculate the costs of an additional 153 students – or however many additional students we may reasonably expect over time.  Similarly, we can estimate the marginal cost of police, library, roads, and general overhead to estimate “the additional cost of adding adult residents to the town” in Ms. Wick words.

If we “sharpen up our pencils” I am reasonably sure that the deficit projected by Ms. Wick is illusory.  The sale of the land will enable the town to pay off the remaining debt associated with its purchase and have a substantial sum – perhaps $5.5 million – left over to use for town capital projects.  If the Board of Selectmen is interested in this Project, they should prepare the necessary calculations and present them to the voters, with a complete explanation of the assumptions underlying them.

It was a bad deal for the town when the WCC property was acquired, a bad deal when the town leased the property to a golf club operator, and a worse deal when the town tried to operate a golf course.  It is past time to undo these “bad deals” and put the property to productive use for the benefit of the taxpayers of the town!

Hillel J. Auerbach

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