To the editor: Tonight, at 7, Mayor Caroly Kirk will ask City Council to borrow $750,000 to purchase 6 acres, Brierneck Crossing, that has already been permitted, and expects Gloucester taxpayers, 12,000 or so, to guarantee the loan.
It appears the mayor believes it is justified to have these 12,000 or so taxpayers pay the developer $750,000, as opposed to having the 25 or 30 neighborhood people who lost the 5 to 10 year court battle against the development pay for it.
If these neighbors do not want this permitted project and feel so strongly against it, then let them put their houses up for collateral, borrow the money and buy the developer out.
Do not let the city front the money, be on the hook for it, and hope the neighborhood group can raise the money and pay it back. Why should a handful of people trump the city’s taxpayers? The developer won fair and square; the neighbors are unhappy with the court decision and are now looking to get out from under and leave the bill for city taxpayers. Also, how much money did the city spend fighting this development in the last 10 years? Add that to your tax bill. Is this the precedent the mayor is establishing for the neighborhoods?
It’s time the city steps away from neighborhood disputes and gets out of the development business — I-4, C-2, and Poles Hill — which is more money on the backs of taxpayers. The city administration should not be in the development business solely to due to the fact it’s not its money on the line, it is not vestered, and when the unaudited and overpayments come due, it will again leave it on the backs of taxpayers.
We are also being told that $150,000 in Community Preservation Act money is being used to bail out the neighbors. Four times a year, all 12,000 or so city taxpayers have to come up with more money and send it to the Community Preservation Committee so it can dole it out as it sees fit. Case in point, Brierneck Crossing receives the bulk of its money while other more deserving agencies and people get a pittance. The CPA does nothing but add to the cost of living in this city and provide taxpayers’ money to the most influential groups.
I believe the mayor has done a good overall job, given what she was left to start with. I will continue to support and contribute to her efforts, but I would ask her to refocus her priorities in the best interest of all the taxpayers in the city of Gloucester.
Ralph Hobbs Jr.