I write with concern about the recent fast-tracked proposal from the Town of Orange to borrow $8.5 million to buy the Property presently owned by Racebrook Country Club.
I believe this proposal has a number of inherent risks. At the very least, it would be appropriate to allow more time to understand the benefits and long term costs and risks of this proposal, and to allow the Town residents ample time to make an informed decision given the size of this investment.
First, it seems beyond the scope of government to bail out a failing business in the private sector and use public resources to do so. While the benefit of open land is the stated reason, the expense and risks of doing this by propping up a private business does not seem in line with the goals of our local government.
Furthermore, while it seems clear First Selectman Zeoli and the Board of Selectmen have been considering this prospect and negotiating with the current owner for months, the idea was literally sprung on Orange residents in the past few weeks, in a rushed attempt to push this through. This is just not appropriate, and will lead to potential misrepresentations, a lack of understanding, and frankly a rushed and wreck less decision process. I am the CEO of a private fast growing technology Company, and for an investment of this magnitude, I would never rush this decision through my own Board of Directors and shareholders.
This precedent would put the town at risk for other future business bailouts. The owner of every single parcel on the Boston Post Road could conceivably make a comparable development threat to put the town in an untenable position. In government, precedence does really matter.
I urge all Orange voters to reject this proposal at the February 16 referendum, and at least force our government leaders to act in a more measured and responsible manner.