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Fairfielder Sees Metro Center 'Fibs and Fables'

To The Editor:

Fibs and fables. There is no more classic response to a Fairfield government foible than that combination. Smudged with some fudge, our interim First Selectman, Michel Tetreau, seems to be fitting right in with his spin on the Metro Center financial fiasco.

Tetreau writes that when the town issues not-to-exceed and lump sum contracts, it is better protected than with unit price contracts, which would normally have a not-to-exceed price anyway. Tomlinson was a not-to-exceed contract, and in that one the town spent more than had been authorized by the RTM. The Tide Mill Bridge was a lump sum contract, and in that one the town spent more than had been authorized by the RTM, too. The problem with the Metro Center contract right now is that the town never should have taken on the work. The town was never equipped to do the job, and now the taxpayers must pay for it.

The state was committed to completing the job and had informed the town as much when it first agreed to put up the initial $19.6 million in corporate welfare bailout money to complete the infrastructure work that Black Rock Realty was unable or unwilling to complete. I was at the RTM meeting when State Sen. John McKinney delivered the letter from the state reaffirming its commitment to complete the project and to complete it as a high priority--knowing it would take more than the $19.6 million to do that. However, Ken Flatto needed this project on his resume for his re-election this November, so he signed a back room deal for the town take on the risk the state was already assuming and the work the state already said it would do, although not to Kenny's liking.

When it is all said and done, state, federal and local taxpayers will put up close to $100 million for this Metro Center thing. We needed handicapped access and more train station parking. There were numerous ways to accomplish those two objectives at half the cost and without building this white elephant. As to the non-existent promised revenue for the commercial development, I would have preferred to see my taxes reduced than see one property owner rake in millions in corporate welfare.

Jim BrownFairfield, CT 06824

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