SPILO: Alarmist Bells Are Going Off

Submitted by Michael Spilo

Ms. Swomley and her various political organizations have been a major factor in our new low-brow discourse. Ms. Swomley’s personal attack on First Selectman Fred Camillo and me aside, her fear mongering using children and vilifying the BET is politics at its worst.

The pandemic resulted in families hurting and residents losing jobs. Businesses lost income, schools shut down and kids lost irreplaceable classroom time. Yet, no one can dispute Mr. Camillo’s outstanding leadership throughout the pandemic, from his early and quick response closing parks and beaches to his finding innovative solutions to keep our local businesses functioning as best possible, to his recent efforts in helping drive an exceptional rollout out of the vaccines locally.

Similarly, our fiscally responsible BET upheld our trust, keeping our schools functioning without overspending, while Ms. Swomley and her squad were busy urging our schools remain shut and get immediate access to funds that were never needed.

Ms. Swomley’s criticism of the BET’s good work and demeaning of town officials is unwarranted and in poor taste. While families and businesses are trying to get back on their feet with the help of town officials, Ms. Swomley’s directive to “wake up” and spend additional hundreds of millions of dollars is irresponsible.

The BET and administration have spent $710 million dollars on capital projects over the past 14 years, prudently and with careful consideration as is their duty to our town’s taxpayers.

As Ms. Swomley should be aware from data I sent her, this $710 million includes $89 million revamping 3 schools, a $45 million 80-foot auditorium at the High School, $33 million on HVAC upgrades at the schools, $63 million on other school building upgrades. A new Stadium at the High School is in the works and we spent a prescient $18 million on tech infrastructure used extensively this year.

An additional $81 million was spent on new buildings for police and fire, $35 million fixing bridges, $63 million keeping our roads well paved, and $32 million on public safety, including a revamped hydrant system for the North West.

We also spent $34 million improving our parks and beaches, $13 million on a public pool, $8 million on libraries, $10 million revamping our town run nursing home, and we’re now redoing the Eastern Civic Center and Ice Rink at $17 million each.

For her part, Ms. Swomley ignores these facts and claims that we need to spend our hard-earned tax dollars freely on anything and everything she wants. Ms. Swomley presents a false trade-off. If we follow her advice, we will be paying more in both the short and long run.

As for North Mianus school: no one at the Public Works Committee proposed delaying anything, much less to 2035. We suggested starting future projects now to gain efficiency and prevent future school closings.

Regardless of Ms. Swomley’s false claims and fear-mongering opinions, I support Greenwich officials, businesses and residents as we work together to recover as quickly and prudently as possible.