Sensible Wilton To Present New Petition to Town Clerk Today Asking for M-D Repeal

According to a press release submitted to GOOD Morning Wilton, Sensible Wilton intends to submit their new petition–complete with the number of signatures they believe they need–to Wilton’s Town Clerk this morning, April 1. This new petition asks for a special Town Meeting to vote on a repeal of the $50 million Miller-Driscoll resolution.  

“We will be presenting approximately 300 signatures calling for a repeal of the $50 million resolution. Wiltonians are so incensed by the unjustified $50 million expense and the Board of Selectman’s refusal to vote on our first petition, that even the cold weather could not stop them from coming out to sign the petition,” said Sensible Wilton president Alex Ruskewich.

Ruskewich and other Sensible Wilton organizers collected signatures on the weekend of March 21-22 at Comstock Community Center. Despite cold temperatures, snow and low foot traffic, the group’s members say they received a great deal of support and interest from residents who reportedly went out of their way to stop by at the petition collection spot.

“When people came out to sign, they expressed discontent that they were never adequately informed about the MD project nor were they sufficiently informed about the September 2014 vote which occurred after a solitary public information session that woefully failed to justify the largest capital expenditure in town history. Many people stated that they only found out about the $50 million project after the vote,” Ruskewich says in a quote in the press release.

Sensible Wilton reports that other residents who were not in town during the signature drive have contacted them to “express their dissatisfaction with the current M-D project and be a part of the petition signers.”

Sensible Wilton posits that The Town Charter requires 2-percent of electors, or roughly 230 signatures, to call a Special Town meeting via a petition.

According to the press release, Sensible Wilton believes that all emergency repairs to the building should be made “immediately, not many months from now as contemplated by the current construction timetable, and strongly supports the maintenance of a first-rate school system in Wilton, including for children with special needs. At the same time, Sensible Wilton contends that the $50 million renovation project is both overpriced and ill-suited to meet the needs of a declining student population.”

Ruskewich and other Sensible Wilton supporters have cited enrollment figures to support their argument.

“In Wilton and our neighboring towns school enrollments are projected to significantly decrease. And at last week’s Board of Ed meeting, the third enrollment projection consultant explained that they project that enrollment is expected to decrease even if the housing market improved. With the decreasing enrollment projected, a simple reorganization of the school could provide the preschool with their desired dedicated space without the need of major construction.”

In an interview with GOOD Morning Wilton, superintendent Kevin Smith and Board of Education chair Bruce Likly reviewed those newer, third projection. They said that while the new enrollment information does project a short term decline through 2018, after that they believe that figures indicate enrollment will begin to rise again.

“The Milone numbers suggest that, like everybody else, there is going to be a decline, and we’re facing it statewide–it’s more dramatic in some communities, less dramatic in others–but that curve starts to bend back up again. … they’re suggesting, based on that economic data, that the birthrate will actually experience a rebound beginning in 2015, over a 5-year period to 2020,” Smith said.

GOOD Morning Wilton reached out to town counsel Kenneth Bernhard, who emailed a response to a request for comment: “At first blush, the proposed initiative for reversing the vote of the September Town Meeting, which approved a bonding resolution that is already underway, appears to have significant legal challenges and financial risks. My office will provide a legal opinion after researching relevant constitutional law, state law, and case law.”

18 COMMENTS

  1. Since when is ignorance a defense ?? “We didn’t know these meetings were going on for over two years ? We didn’t know there was going to be a vote ?” We didn’t … we didn’t … we didn’t … Adults who choose not to bother to read our weekly newspapers or read Good Moning Wilton or read Hamlet Hub or serve on a Town Committee have made a conscious choice to NOT be informed about our Town ! While shocking and even a bit pitiful, that is certainly their right. Decisions are made by those who participate, not by those who don’t or can’t be bothered. “Senseless Wilton’s” petitions only document who some off those people are. The 750 folks who signed Petition 1 and did not even bother to vote should be more embarrassed of that than unhappy with the outcome of those who DID fulfill their civic duty! Not knowing there was a Town Vote on an important Town matter is shocking in this day and age. And anyone enthusiastically claiming to fall into that category should either pay attention or sit down and be quiet. Enough !!

  2. Dear Wilton 413 aka? you fail to mention that it was an illegal referendum targeting a subset of Wilton voters namely parents of students. What is more amazing is that all 3 Town Boards have no problems with illegal referendums . 2 bids for construction manager? Middlebrook OSHA reports from 2003 and they still use Turner? Let’s see what Dean Bernhard (as Mr. Hannah titled him) says about this one.

  3. Excuse me, but all registered voters were entitled to vote. Not just “some subset with children”. It was well publicized in all forms of media for weeks if not months in advance. Those who “claim” to being ignorant of the scheduled vote – probably shouldn’t be weighing in on important issues anyway. We actually want a thoughtful electorate deciding important matters. And when the ballots of those who have taken the time to Show Up and participate in the process are counted – a decision is reached and we move forward. If “Senseless Wilton” had showed a modicum of its recent energies when it actually mattered, they might have made a real difference in the outcome. But they didn’t and now seem to the vast majority of the town as sore losers. And are wasting Town resources and time in the process.

    • Wilton 413 aka? It is the right of every citizen to petition the government which is one of the fundamental freedoms of all Americans. BTW, what is your real name or are you just going to hide behind a moniker?

  4. It is also your right to Vote (as long as you are not a Felon) … And I t is also your right NOT to Vote, but then you should have the DECENCY not to complain about the outcome !!

  5. It is also the right of those who do choose to stay informed and who choose to participate in the democratic process not to have their choices repealed by those who don’t. Everybody that Sensible Wilton represents were exactly as informed about the Miller Driscoll vote as they CHOSE to be.

    And Kevin – you are the only person who makes an issue out of people who don’t give their full name in comments, yet you never call out people use “monikers” if they’re on your side of the debate. Therefore it is obvious to everyone that you’re using it just as a ploy to distract from core argument of the discussion. So my suggestion, if you wish to appear less hypocritical, is to either call out everybody equally, or to get over it and just stop.

  6. Hi Rick, I would characterize that as a typical condescending response from you (as with your other missives on SW) without calling out Wilton 413 aka? for immature name calling of an citizen group trying bring about transparency in Town government. Sensible Wilton is just getting in gear so get used to American Democracy in action.

  7. Kevin – Democracy in Action ends at the voting booth. Even Al Gore understands that now. Wanting a “do over” is 5th Grade Dodgeball not American Democracy in action. Maybe one of our fabulous Middlebook Teachers could run a short course at night for those interested in learning or being reminded how Voting and Democracy works …

    • Wilton 413 aka ?, Democracy in Action also means correcting illegal referendums by upholding Federal and State Statutes. Gotta go to work now finding more customers to pay for the Turner tax increase…

  8. Kevin, please stop misrepresenting the truth. The referendum was NOT illegal. There was no voter fraud. Even the SEEC has stated that unless there is actual voter fraud, a vote cannot be overturned. As for transparency: town meetings recorded and posted online, multiple electronic and paper news sources publish notices of upcoming votes, issues are discussed in paper and online in social media.

    The simple fact is town government is more transparent now than at any time in Wilton’s history. But transparency only matters if your eyes are open.

    • Thanks Rick for your analysis of how it is interpreted by the SEEC. It is amazing how some people are still not concerned about voting illegalities in this town…just amazing!

      • Was the legal standard for public notification of the upcoming vote met? Yes. Were the meetings fully documented and transparent? Yes, was there fraud at the ballot box, or in the counting? No.

        If the SEEC finds the town was guilty of campaigning, that won’t change the fact that the legal standards of information, notification and balloting were met, and there is no legal basis on which to invalidate the votes cast by involved, engaged Wilton voters.

        While there are open questions about the campaigning, the vote was legal. Move on.

  9. Kevin – Run for Town Registrar (there are 2 positions) take on and fix all the problems that you see or imagine. Have at it !! Step up rather than complain.

  10. But that would allow you to play a role in the next election Kevin if you think the process is flawed. Illegal or whatever you think is wrong. You could try to help fix it – rather than comment from the bleachers. Senseless Wilton’s Monday morning quarterbacking and besmirching the reputations of dozens of hard working Volunteers and elected officials is offensive and just plain wrong. These Wiltonians deserve our thanks for giving so much of their time and talents. What they don’t deserve – are people who unwilling to be aware of the important town issues and events and who can’t be bothered to vote – who then carp on and on about what was decided.

  11. Wilton 413 or whoever you are…I have attended MDBC, Ethics Council, and BOS meetings. That is not sitting in the bleachers. My opinion is that there we are very lax in government ethics, transparency, and responsibility for illegal referendum actions. As for volunteering to sit on certain boards, I know 3 people who wanted to sit on the MDBC and were bullied out and now we have many who under Town rules who are sitting on the board who should not.

  12. Bullying should never be tolerated. I assume they raised their concerns to the appropriate folks – as that would be the appropriate adult response. Whining about it now suggests they really didn’t feel that strongly about it … But it does give you a strawman argument that is a year too late to worry about at this point … So again – move on – get involved for the future or be quiet … Rather than Carp carp carp … Whine whine whine …. Read a paper and/or watch the news Senseless Wiltonian complainers !

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