We must hope the BET doesn’t have amnesia over MISA costs

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

“The Board of Ed must have amnesia.” “I’m not going to borrow our way out of this. I consider that a lazy man’s approach. I’m not lazy.”

“The BET is being labeled as being in favor of this project at almost any cost. … Not me. Not me.”

Who said this? None other than Michael Mason, chairman of the town’s Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET). He was speaking about the MISA construction. Here are a few more quotes:

“We need to sit down and really have a plan.” “For that reason I don’t support MISA tonight.” “The six members who voted ‘no’ seek agreement from the Board of Ed, to three conditions, before moving forward on this project. … No more than $9,000,000 of capital for the next five years; the Board of Ed must participate equally in addressing any future cost overruns for the MISA project; BOE must acknowledge that the MISA project may impact future capital funding requests.”

“We need to be at the table for these discussions. … We cannot go through what we did last year. I cannot go through that again. I can’t sell a project to this community, and then when the guidelines come out … we talk about this again. I can’t do that. … This is just not good for the community.”

He said this at a special MISA bond appropriation meeting on April 24, 2013.

The week before the start of 2014-15 BET budget meetings, the MISA Building Committee let the community know it spent all its contingency funds on a failed remediation attempt. It doesn’t really have the EPA MISA construction permits it claimed and the $20,000,000 “bifurcated” two-year Greenwich High School field remediation approval has turned into a $178,000,000 four-year remediation proposal.

Pursuant to the terms of Greenwich municipal bond offerings, these facts must be reported to municipal bond rating agencies and bondholders and may result in lower bond ratings and higher borrowing costs along with a possible recall of all outstanding Greenwich municipal bonds, estimated to be in excess of $150,000,000.

These items must be budgeted.

Greenwich taxpayers are hoping BET has not developed amnesia.


Bill Effros

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