Groton: Voters turn down referendums on utilities, police station

Groton — Voters overwhelmingly defeated two referendum questions on Tuesday: a $9.9 million extension of utilities along Flanders Road and a $5.34 million upgrade to the police station.

Voters rejected the Flanders Road borrowing by a vote of 3,606 to 1,229. They voted down the police station improvements 3,167 to 1,669.

Frederick Fischer and his wife, Eleanor, said they both opposed the Flanders Road project from the start.

“I favor growing business in places that already have the infrastructure,” Frederick Fischer said. “Build it and they will come? I’m not sure I buy that.”

Wanted more details

Both said they would have supported the police department improvements if those had been itemized. “I would have supported it if they had been a little more forthcoming with the details,” he said.

The utility extension was billed as an economic development project that would make industrial land off Flanders Road more accessible to business and grow the tax base. The police station improvements were promoted as needed upgrades for modernization and safety reasons, such as correcting “blind spots” in the cells.

Rosanne Kotowski, co-founder of the political action committee Groton Advocates for Tax Efficiency, passed out literature opposing both ballot questions.

She said the Flanders project would cost taxpayers millions more to pay back the debt and take decades to bring a return on the investment. She said the town couldn’t afford the police station renovations, which would also add up to more than the bonded amount overtime.

Voter Joy Hooper said she was “tired of all the rich people spending my money.”

“They know who they are,” she said, adding that both referendums were far too costly.

Dick Wildes, 69, said he also voted against both. He said the utility extension wouldn’t benefit the town in the long run, as far as he could tell.

“If they had people lined up to go in, that’s different,” he said.

He had mixed feelings on the police station. “It definitely needs help,” he said. “But I don’t feel they have to do everything.”

d.straszheim@theday.com

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