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1,075 Signatures Force Special Dollar Tree Meeting

Windsor Town Clerk Agnes Pier will be working throughout the weekend to validate signatures of a petition against a tax abatement for Dollar Tree.

It will be loud. It will be bright. It will drive down home values.

These are the complaints of those who could become neighbor's of Dollar Tree's one-million-square-foot distribution center on Stone Road.

In accordance, residents in the Rainbow area have united and collected more than one thousand signatures on a petition against the Town Council's decision to grant Dollar Tree a 40-percent tax abatement.

Pursuant to Windsor Town Charter Section 9-4, residents can make a push to reverse a Town Council decision by forcing the council to call a special town meeting, opening up the vote to Windsor residents.

Opponents of Dollar Tree's plans have done just that, surpassing the required number of petition signatures, which is 965.

All that now stands in the way of the Town Council's decision being reversed is the turnout at a special town meeting on Sat., April 7 and the validation of each signture on the petition.

According to Town Clerk Agnes Pier, signatures can be found to be invalid for a number of reasons, including illegible writing and the signee failing to be a registered elector.

She will likely spend the entire weekend varifying each signature, she said.

Should the number of varified signatures still surpass the required 965, the April 7 meeting will be held at Sage Park Middle School at 10 a.m.

According to Pier, those seeking to overturn the Council's tax-abatement decision must have a minimum of 100 people in the majority when residents vote at the meeting.

If they are successful, it would be a first in the town, at least since Pier took over as Town Clerk in 2002.

"To my knowledge it has never happened," she says, adding their have been petitions and meetings in the past, but she cannot recall a group that was ultimately successful.

The special meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Sat., April 7 at Sage Park Middle School.

The question voted on will be "Should the Town Council's vote on March 19, 2012 to authorize the Town Manager to execute, on behalf of the Town of Windsor, a fixed assessment agreement with Dollar Tree Distribution, Inc. be ratified?"

Bill Generous April 01, 2012 at 12:51 PM
All the town would benefit with higher tax revenue if Dollar Tree came to town without the tax abatement. I do not support giving a tax abatement when I do not think it is necessary.
Malvi Lennon April 01, 2012 at 01:46 PM
The dems on the town council have selective worries. If the business getting the big tax breaks, is a mega corporation that could potentially employ relatives like those recent college graduates needing a job, suddenly they become much more “flexible”.
Carol April 01, 2012 at 02:00 PM
A 4 year abatement to give Dollar Tree is minor compared to the benefits Windsor will receive over the many years to come. No one is really in favor of abatements but it is what is necessary to get companies to come to Windsor. Many companies have received abatements over the years.
Carol April 01, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Jim you choose any forum to Bash Democrats, Wish I could copy paste your email to the Council in SUPPORT of Dollar Tree. Too bad it is too long, but here is the start of it. Says it all! From: "James G. Walsh" Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2012 17:00:33 -0400 Hopefully you can all see past the emotions of the neighbors and approve the Dollar Tree development?
Robert Mayo April 01, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Mr. Simon, by the fact that you would even consider allowing a facility such as this to be built in close proximity to people's homes, not to mention granting them a substantial tax abatement to do so, shows us all that there are 12-15 families in Windsor that you don't care about. no matter how many times you make the claim that this is for the good of the majority, that simple fact remains. there are 12-15 families that YOU DON"T CARE ABOUT!
Carol April 01, 2012 at 02:38 PM
If your definition of flexible includes job creation at ALL income levels then I guess they are!!!!!! If your comment about relatives needing jobs is a reply to Mayor Trinks statement, clearly shows your lack of knowledge. His recent Graduate is Very much employed.
james walsh April 01, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Carol whoever you are? I didn't say I wasn’t in favor of Dollar Tree nor did I say I wasn't in favor of tax abatement. What I was referring to in my post if it wasn’t clear Carol is if it weren't for dem's spending wildly we as a town wouldn't be so compelled to give sweet heart deals on abatements to less than desirable developments if we didn’t need to fuel the dem's addiction to spending wildly. Thanks for reading my prior article I hope its very clear any and all my messages are simple the spending in this town is out of control and the dem’s are reasonable for it.
Carol April 01, 2012 at 02:46 PM
and the people of Windsor keep voting the Dems in!
Robert Mayo April 01, 2012 at 02:49 PM
For it's size, Dollar Tree will create very few jobs, most of which won't be filled by Windsor residents because they don't pay particularly well. I don't see a lot of benefits, other than an increase in tax revenue, which could be accomplished just as easily by building a smaller facility that doesn't operate around the clock. I don't know where you live, Carol, but I'll bet you aren't within 5 miles of this proposed site.
Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Apparently, Carol is a FRIEND of the Mayor and she has never had to live in Windsor on a salary of $25,000 a year, which apparently will be the salary for workers at Dollar Tree after a six-month probationary period. An important question is how many of their workers will be still employed after the probationary period, but Carol doesn't appear to be concerned about such things. Another important question, can someone earning $25,000 a year qualify for a mortgage on a house in Windsor? Or will they be sharing a one-bedroom apartment with another warehouse worker in Windsor Locks?
Carol April 01, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Maria... you need to RE READ what i wrote. I copied and pasted what James Walsh said in an email to the Town Council! I did not say the comment "see past the emotions".
Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I apologize that I mistakenly attributed this comment to you, Carol. So you saw an email from Mr. Walsh that was sent to the Town Council? This was not clear (to me) from your earlier comment. Do you work for the town? Is this how you have access to emails to the Town Council or are they published on the Town website? Obviously, I need to correct my comment and will do so.
Carol April 01, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I am a Voter of the Mayor's. And as a second house hold income, 25,000 is not a bad salary. I do support jobs that will help all walks of life. Better then being on unemployment and Taxing the ppl that way! 25,000.00 yr jobs can help Second Income, Recent Grads, High School Grads, and for someone who needs Benefits!
Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 03:16 PM
"Hopefully you can all see past the emotions of the neighbors and approve the Dollar Tree development?" Ah, lower property values are not "emotions," polluted air and water are not "emotions," loss of habitat for wildlife is not "emotion," noise pollution that has deleterious health effects is not "emotion." And please take it from a resident of the much-burdened town of Windsor Locks, a poor quality of life is not "emotion." These are realities, but of course we might have to act in a moral and ethical way about "realities." If we can call them "emotions" we can sit back and close our eyes.
Carol April 01, 2012 at 03:21 PM
I would like to see Facts that property values will be lower, that air will be polluted, that there will be loss of habitat for wildlife and that there will be noise pollution.
Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Yes, as a second income $25,000 is not bad, but in our society at present the reality is many people are single and $25,000 is their only income. My real concern is whether these Dollar Tree workers will still be employed after the six-month probationary period. My understanding is that their benefits do not start until the six-month probationary period is completed. (Please correct me if I am wrong.) What do these employees rely on during the six-month period. Most of these jobs are going to be held by men I believe because of the lifting requirements, although some women are perfectly capable of lifting 50 pounds.
Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I'm afraid the true facts will not be known until after the damage has been done. As far as property values, the homeowners currently trying to sell in the affected neighborhoods would know if their property values have fallen. The noise levels are very high at the C&S warehouses and the recyling and trucking facility next to the Windsor Locks Canal. The homeowners next to the recyling and trucking facility are frequently disturbed at night by noise from the facility. I am frequently awakened by a CVS truck unloading merchandise at 2 a.m. I urge all Windsor residents to come to downtown Windsor Locks to see for yourself the result of bad development decisions. Compare Windsor's downtown with that of Windsor Locks. Look at the condition of the Dexter Plaza parking lot, see the trucks idling and parked for long periods at Dexter Plaza, look at the abandoned and deteriorating eyesores on North Main. Look at the pitiful condition of the Montgomery building. Compare the property values of the homes in downtown Windsor Locks with the homes in downtown Windsor. Unlike Windsor, downtown Windsor Locks does not have a supermarket, a bakery or a cafe. Go online and compare the list of calls to our Fire Department with the list of calls to the Windsor Fire Department. Compare the number of large fires Windsor Locks has experienced with the number in Windsor. Compare the numbers of murders we have had in Windsor Locks during the past 10 years with those in Windsor.
Catherine & Dennis April 01, 2012 at 05:24 PM
It seems others in this post have an idea who Carol is?
Catherine & Dennis April 01, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Carol, spend time with experts, educate yourself as we have all had to do in a hurry. The experts will give you those answers.
Bill Generous April 01, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I happen to think Dollar Tree Distribution Center is coming to Windsor whether they are getting the $1.6 million in tax abatement or not from Windsor. They would get the $375,000 in projected permit fee reductions as that is not being contested. Dollar Tree has many things to consider when making this decision and many of these things make Windsor attractive already. I would rather have the town get an extra $1.6 million in taxes than have it be added to Dollar Tree's bottom line. Dollar Tree would not be as successful as they are if they didn't ask for tax abatements or assistance from the State of CT. Four companies have received tax abatements in Windsor. Each is a unique case and the fact that one company was given an abatement doesn't mean that every company that asks for one should be given one. I respect that at least the Town Council lowered the tax abatement to 40% to recognize that this is not as attractive an opportunity as the buildings/businesses that were given an abatement in the past. Even if Dollar Tree didn't come to Windsor with the current tax abatement offer, the land in question will no doubt be developed and add to Windsor's tax rolls. Griffin Land is not going to want to hold onto that land forever without developing it. Like Dollar Tree, they are in the business of making money too.
james walsh April 01, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Carol Unanimous. It’s a shame a monstrosity like this could have been possible so close to a residential zone, but the fact is it meets the regulations. The neighborhood can and is fighting hard to block this development in any way possible which is good to see the people come together. It’s too bad they didn’t know what the regulations allowed before now and done something long ago as a group effort to get the regulations reduced so the impact of what is now on the table known as Dollar Tree couldn’t have been proposed. Good luck with your fight to block Dollar Tree unfortunately it meets regulations and has tax advantages which Al Simon and the democratic majority already have plans to spend. For Windsor’s future get out and vote no in May to any budget to increase spending!
Catherine & Dennis April 01, 2012 at 06:17 PM
We knew what it was zoned. No one in their wildest dreams thought they would allow something like this in. We thought that our Town Councel would consider that a neighborhood was here. We were naive..what can we say. However now that Dollar Tree admitted to Chlordane on the property and the Town let slip about the Dieldran we did our research. The land is pure dust there-there will be no way to prevent anyone from breathing it from the construction workers to those that live on all of the streets previously mentioned. Dieldren becomes more volitile when exposed to the sun. It is no one's fault that the facts are the facts about the contaminated land. When the chemicals were used they were legal. We do not know about the concentrations of other chemicals used that may or may not have been used in legal amounts. The fact it is known what dieldren can cause when breathed that is indeed something that the Town should act on. It MUST be removed in a safe way for all prior to construction. One that the EPA agrees to. Mixing it with "clean" dirt doesnt work. Read the issues with Riverbend Associates in Simsbury on line-that town fought for their folks for 12 years to force them to clean it properly. How is it that Simsbury, Suffield, Enfield (the list goes on) is able to address the issues yet Windsor cannot? The issues there were the chemicals not zoning.
Catherine & Dennis April 01, 2012 at 06:21 PM
PS for those that do not know Riverbend Associates is part of Griffin Land, Culbro et al...they are all divisions of one company. They are also the owner of the site Dollar Tree wishes to build on
Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I am not certain that the property does meet local regulations or common law requirements. I don't think anyone can make a judgement at this point, even Mr. Walsh. A great deal depends on the state of the land. If there are dangerous chemicals in the soil, then someone will have to clean it up, whether it is the current owner or the new owner. I believe that clean up can be done in a way that will not harm the air or water, but it will be expensive, which cuts into profits.
Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Progressive though I am, I do think the individuals who feel local governments should reign in their budgets have a point. We used to have low property taxes in Windsor Locks, but they continue to increase every year, yet we see declines in almost all indicators as well as a Main Street that is on life-support. Despite a recycling facility and large warehouses, the town continues to decline, particularly when it comes to quality of life. There are many exceptions to this grim picture, including some great young people, responsible and articulate parents, and hard-working public employees and officials. But continuing to follow failed economic development policies eventually catches up with a town. Efficiencies should be the norm for every (and I mean, every) line item in a town's budget. For example, all government facilities and vehicles should be energy efficient. I'm not talking about buying electric vehicles, I'm talking about turning off the lights when not needed (use a motion sensor) and make sure diesel fuel for large trucks is used wisely.
Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 08:25 PM
If it is only 12-15 families as Mr. Simon claims, then it would not be very costly for the town to buy them out, if they wish to move, and if some do not wish to move, the town can ameliorate their situation. The town can stop the abatements and use those tax moneys to buy out the 12-15 families. (How much is 15 times $200,000-250,000?) And the families can get priority at the new Great Pond development.
Bill Generous April 01, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Maria, I follow the issue of property taxes and budgets of towns in CT. Windsor Locks has indeed raised their taxes a lot as of late. Over the last 10 years, Windsor Locks has had the 135th highest increase in their effective tax rate (i.e. tax rate increase excluding the effects of revaluation) of the 169 towns in CT. Relative to other towns in CT, their taxes are still low. As of 2008, homeowners there had the 5th lowest property tax burden (taxes as a percent of their income) of CT towns. Unfortunately, some towns are so desperate for the added revenue, they are willing to sacrifice the quality of life in an area of town just to get it. Over the last 10 years, Windsor's grand list growth not due to revaluation has been 10% higher than the typical town in CT, and yet it is not enough for some.
Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Good comment, Bill. If Hamilton Standard leaves town, Windsor Locks will be in deep trouble financially. Warehouses and recycling facilities could never make up the tax loss. Hamilton Standard and Ahlstrom (formerly Dexter's) have done more for Windsor Locks than any warehouse could ever do. In my opinion, these two companies have also done more for the town than Bradley Airport over the years. Our economic development efforts in town should be directed at retaining these two companies and bringing in similar companies. You build on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Maria Giannuzzi April 01, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Sorry, it is Hamilton Sundstrand (formerly Hamilton Standard). My age is showing.
Maria Giannuzzi April 03, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Whatever business name the landowner choses to call itself, it is the principals (persons) of the company who are making the decisions. This information should be available on the Secretary of State's website.

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