Last January, when I paid my Woodbridge property tax, I asked myself what do I get for giving fully 10% of my income to the Town. My initial assessment was, “let’s see”. So I did a rough calculation. When I had children in school, they got a high quality, subsidized education. When they played baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, ran track, cross country, or swam, they had subsidized facilities in which to do them. When I want to use the Blue Trail, walk on the Fitzgerald property, go to the Fitness Center, or use the Library, I count on the Town to maintain all those through my taxes. Clearly that is money well spent.
But when I attended the preliminary budget meeting on April 25th, I was shocked to learn that there had been no negotiations to keep my recreational activity, golf at the Country Club of Woodbridge, operational. I have heard the argument that golf is an elite sport. We have a high school golf team, do we not? I have heard the argument that one can play golf at one of the other public or private courses. True, but I can also pay to send my kids to Hopkins or Hamden Hall.
We support town tennis courts, but we have the option of joining a private club. We pay for Beecher Road Pool, but we could swim at the Y or the JCC. We support the fitness center, but private gyms abound. Why do we discriminate against golf? Is it an age thing? Can’t be, that’s illegal. s it underutilized? Nope, there are 400 members. Too expensive for the town? Cost about $130k last year. The combined cost of supporting the gym, pool, recreation department and parks department was just shy of $1 million.
The budget is full of what I consider waste. I voted yesterday, and after getting my name checked off the voter list, I was handed a carnival ticket. It entitled me to walk to another table and to receive a ballot from a poll worker, clearly a featherbed job. Two such workers x 14 hours x all the elections is not money well spent. Paying a town attorney $71k and then another $50k for litigation is another puzzlement. So is $70k for incentive pay for our volunteer firemen. And a union contract that pays 4 hours of overtime for 5 minutes or more actually worked. Lots of livestock at the public trough.
So let’s look at the capital improvement budget:
Animal Control $516k requested $516k approved
Thomas Darling House $61k requested $46k approved
Parks Dept $!00k requested $50k approved
Recreation Dept $17k requested $17 k approved
Country club of Woodbridge $109k requested $ 0approved
So what is the explanation for lack of funds to support golf? Could it be that a failed club would be easier to sell for development? That is speculation on my part, but it does make you think.