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Tough Choices for Woodbridge: Pool Closure, Tax Increase, and Growth Strategies

July 4, 2024
Time to read:
Mica Cardozo standing next to a wall

Dear Neighbors,

When I travel around our Town, I’m grateful for the physical beauty of our community and for the many places that have created lifelong connections for me and my family. It is easy to understand why many residents tell me they would like to keep Woodbridge just the way it is.

I am convinced we can maintain what we value most in our community while embracing opportunities that will help us improve and grow.

Since coming into office and working on our budget, one thing is abundantly clear - We Need Growth.

Ths past year our Grand List declined. Without growth, we have to make difficult decisions related to the services we provide. I believe my responsibility is to make data-driven decisions on behalf of our Town.

Our Town Pool

An example is the pool at Beecher Road School. I feel an emotional connection to the pool. 

Many of our children first learned to swim there. Many others in our community made regular use of the pool. 

It feels like an obvious asset, but the data shows there is more to consider:

  • The pool is no longer open during Beecher Road School hours 
  • Early and noon swim declined 80% from 2017 to 2022 due to limited hours and Covid 
  • The 2025 budget impact for our Town would be well over $400,000 
  • The pool will not be available at all in Summer 2024 due to roofing and other projects
  • Our pool is deteriorating, leading to increased maintenance costs and would ultimately need to be rebuilt at a multi-million-dollar cost

Looking at this data, I recommended we keep the pool closed for the 2024-2025 fiscal year. 

During this time, we will receive a professional assessment on how we can address the growing population of students at Beecher (see below for more on this) and consider how the current pool or other options might best serve the needs of Woodbridge residents in the future. 

We are working with the JCC and the Town of Orange to arrange alternatives for our pool users. It is a hard decision, but I believe the data shows it is a prudent one.

Our Taxes

The Board of Selectmen started planning for the 2024-2025 fiscal year by reviewing requests from Town departments that would have resulted in an almost 8% tax increase. 

No one was being extravagant in their requests, but the reality is that it had to be pared down to the essential “must haves” to keep our taxes in check. After careful consideration and review, the Board of Selectmen presented a proposed budget to the Board of Finance with a 3.6% tax increase. 

This past week, the Board of Finance voted to further reduce what the BOS sent to them, and they will present a proposed budget to you with an increase of 2.7%. In the coming weeks, we will provide you with the details of the budget, and you will be able to ask us questions directly at our Town’s Preliminary Budget Meeting on April 25 at 7:00 in the Center Building gym.

Our Schools

Over the next several years, the student population of Beecher Road School is projected to grow to over 1,000 learners. 

The last time this happened was in the 1990s, when the curriculum was less focused on individualized instruction, far fewer students received special services, and the building itself was 30 years newer. 

To prepare, we have supported the school in seeking an expert consultant. The options we will explore range from trying to reconfigure the existing structure to thinking about what new configuration may be needed to ensure that we continue to be a top-performing district for our 21st-century learners. 

This is the first step, and rest assured that there will be many opportunities for community input as we go along.

Our Business Development

A top priority for me over the next two years is growing our commercial tax base by making Woodbridge more attractive and accessible for businesses. 

My partner in this effort is our Town’s Economic Development Commission (EDC). Our newly refreshed EDC is made up of volunteer community members with varied expertise in business development and other essential areas.

With assistance from the South Central CT Regional Economic Development (REX), the EDC will create new strategies to ensure that our community retains existing businesses and attracts new commercial activity. 

An example of the new businesses we will work to attract is Cure Rare Disease, a biotech nonprofit relocating its headquarters from Boston to a 30,000-square-foot lab and research facility in Woodbridge.  

Our Country Club Property

Over the past decade, Woodbridge received proposals from developers for specific parts of the former Country Club property.

We need a more holistic approach that provides a Master Plan for the entire 155 available acres that combines the best of the options we’ve heard — from open space, walking trails, and recreation to clean energy generation, small commercial enterprise, and housing— and that can work together to best serve the needs of our community.

The Board of Selectmen has narrowed down the list of consultants who specialize in this type of Master Planning. We will select one that will provide the factual data and market analysis that we as a community require to assess options and determine the value and cost of each to our Town.

The consultant we choose will have proven experience and success with projects that have created vibrant, beautiful and welcoming community assets.

Other Priorities:

The Sustainability Committee continues to prepare for what will likely be our largest-ever community Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 27th. I hope you will come and contribute your ideas for making Woodbridge a model environmentally friendly community. And next up for the Committee will be establishing community-wide composting. 

At the same time, while we are committed to doing all we can to support a healthier planet, as Town representatives, we must be fiscally responsible. 

Reflecting that balance, please note we will begin charging for use of the EV chargers located in front of Public Works and at the Library.


This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.

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