To the editor,
With thousands of people out of work and with no weekly paycheck coming in, it is obvious that come July 1 many people may be unable to pay their town real estate taxes, thus creating a budget gap for the town of Beacon Falls. It is not too soon to review all expected expenditures and list those by priority that can be eliminated or deferred.
At the top of the list will, most likely, be the $80,000 budgeted for the demolition of the town-owned Tracy Lewis house, which officials plan to burn for firefighting training. Instead of a big fire, leaving a vacant lot and a cellar filled with ashes, it may be a better alternative to sell the property. After all, Beacon Falls, although owning the property for many years, has never been able to put it to some productive use, the historical society and library included. Surely there are individuals, partnerships and corporations out there ready, willing and able to purchase this historic three-story Connecticut mansion. A sale would create a win-win-win-win-win-win-win situation for the town of Beacon Falls.
- The town would save more than $80,000, which in turn could be used for more critical expenses.
- The sale revenue would be immediately available for town expenses thus reducing the tax rate to the benefit of all town taxpayers.
- The town would not have the problem of disposing of a burned out residential lot.
- The property would immediately return to the real estate tax rolls and would once again give the town a much-needed additional source of yearly revenue.
- The town would receive statewide acclaim for preserving a valued Connecticut historic property.
- The town will not have to apologize to the Van Vessem family for the unfilled promises made about future town usages, when purchasing their home.
- The town will not have to apologize to the Tracy Lewis House neighbors for the unsightly mess left after the burn, in the middle of a nice neighborhood.
If the town sells, seven wins. If the town burns, one loss — $425,000.
I vote for a sale.
James W. Woodward
The writer is a former chairman of the Beacon Falls Board of Finance.