Economic Strategy by Alex Karsanidi

1/14/16

The expression the only sure thing is Death and Taxes has never been truer.  Government Spending and Taxes , whetherthe Federal Governmentor Town Hall on Main Street, go hand in hand and have become as predictable as the sun raising every morning.  And, as economic growth and demand for services continue to increase, it's only going to require more money to keep things going.  Since technically Government does not generate any revenues itself, it must rely primarily on taxes from you and businesses to fund the services they provide.  So, the goal is find more people who can pay taxes (but that's partially offset by the services they require) and more businesses (who typically generate more taxes, plus jobs).

Ridgefield is at stage where its future success at staying Connecticut's #1 town and being a vibrant, growing community will be tested unless significant efforts are made at Economic Development though short term and long term plans to utilize the resources available within its borders for new, continuous sources of tax revenues, while controlling taxes.  This will call for public-private cooperation, between landlords and businesses and especially townspeople.  More projects such as the sale of the Schlumberger acreage for a hotel by developer Steve Zemo and age-restricted housing by Charter Construction will bring in needed taxes, which will more than offset any additional services called for.  Plus, prudent balancing of the development of the remaining Schlumberger 30 acres could assure further additional revenues, while balancing some cultural and public use for townspeople.

Other development possibilities include the corridor going south along Route 7 from Haviland Road. There are some wetland concerns, plus none of the available acreage tracts are suitable for a corporate park or big box store, but no one wants a Federal Road scenario in Ridgefield anyway.  However, efforts could be ramped up to find new businesses and developers for smaller projects along this path.  Being a major road, with train/bus transportation already in place, plus this further compliments development plans already started for the Branchville business district.  Improved downtown Ridgefield parking should also be part of any development plan since shoppers for the stores and restaurants require adequate time to conduct their business, which is presently discouraged with time limitations and overtime parking fines.  The idea of a 2 story parking garage has been discussed for more years than I remember; it's time to put this into action. 

At the same time, efforts must be made to avoid distractions for new development as happened with the proposed microchip assembly facility on Route 7 which was held up and eventually killed by a small group, losing Ridgefield tax revenues and local jobs.  Unless truly valid concerns require further investigation, the overall benefit of a project should be the overriding factor, otherwise, progress can be held up indefinitely.

The Republican Town Committee will be holding a Meet & Greet Reception on Sunday, January 17, 2016 starting 4:00pm at Parks & Recreation on Danbury Road and will include guests Larry Kudlow and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, plusother officials.  No admission charge, so come and discuss your ideas.

 Alex Karsanidi