This letter is written by Bradford Sullivan:
I support the proposal that the Town of Clinton should build a new high school. I should end this letter at that but many would gripe about the curtness of such a simple statement. It is, however, a straightforward statement of my intentions when I vote at the bonding referendum on April 11, 2012, sometime between 6:00 AM and 8:00 PM at Town Hall.
The Morgan Building Committee (“MBC”), the ad hoc committee originally formed to investigate the Morgan roof replacement, performed its responsibilities admirably. It began the thankless odyssey of investigating Clinton’s choices two years ago and ultimately recommended that building a new high school in Clinton is the best utilization of financial resources for our community. Overall, I think the MBC got it right.
This issue should not be one that splinters taxpayers into factions hell-bent on attempting to convince the “other side” that the “other side” is obdurate and wrong, or worse: lying. That is counterproductive. Unfortunately, our little town’s politics have degraded over the years into a “gotcha” culture whereby some with political affiliations, or other special interests, parse words in an impressive and entertaining display of “spin-doctoring;” engage in grossly inappropriate intimidation tactics; and generally ignore the basic rules of civility by morphing into unrecognizable, obnoxious participants in the overall debate.
The lack of respect for the MBC’s proposal is inexplicable despite the honest, hard work invested by a dedicated and diverse volunteer committee that was charged with the extremely difficult task of performing the required due diligence to submit its recommendation. We have elected leaders who appoint committees in order to help the decision makers (you and me) make our decisions. A town meeting or referendum is required when Clinton wants to spend more than $15,000. Period. There is no sleight-of-hand or “back-room” deal making. The bottom line is that voters decide upon the where, when and how virtually every dollar is spent in Clinton.
I have been involved with Clinton’s government long enough to understand and communicate to Patch readers that Clinton’s infrastructure is dilapidated, but slowly improving in spite of the perennial underfunding; and that planning, zoning and economic development are sorely lacking leadership and money to ensure that Clinton can become competitive in this region in the near future. A new school will improve Clinton beyond the obvious synergies associated with creating an educational campus encompassing the Peters Complex, the Joel School and a new Morgan School.
Voters should not underestimate the impression that a $64 Million Dollar building will have upon even casual observers of the Shoreline. This project could be a decisive declaration of Clinton’s intention to expand its commercial and industrial tax base while providing some relief to our residential base, not mere platitudes but real action. Neither I nor anyone else for that matter can divine the long term economic impact a vote rejecting a new Morgan School would have on our town. Suffice it to say, we would just need to go back to where we were a couple of years ago and ask the following question: How much to replace the roof on Morgan?
The decision is in the voters’ hands now. Do you want to spend millions on maintenance over the next 20 years, or do you want a new school building for your millions and all of the advantages that come with that choice? As a business owner, family man and member of the Board of Finance, I truly hope that there is a significant turn out for this important referendum, and that we collectively choose to chart a course for Clinton that we will all be proud of for many, many years.
Very truly yours,
Bradford J. Sullivan