Letter: Basic economic questions for Stockbridge officials

To the editor:

There is one large piece of property left in Stockbridge that is not owned by a nonprofit entity. The owner wants to save the main Great Estate building, and create an economic "engine" for the town. The plan to do so includes some forward thinking, wherein it will use "European-styled" cluster housing in order to keep over two-thirds of the property as open space. The details are known to most town residents. The Selectmen, and other town boards, now have an opportunity to work with the owner.

Briefly, the jobs, ongoing tax revenue of approximately $1.5 to $2 million per year from the project, in addition to the individual property taxes and other income to our town will be substantial.

After receiving the following questions from another town resident, who "doesn't know where to go to ask these questions without affecting our social life in town," I am willing to "sacrifice" my invitations to Christmas parties, etc., and ask them for this town taxpayer.

— What is Stockbridge's economic development plan?

— What is the plan for commercial/business growth?

— Where are new jobs coming from?

— What can be done to halt the steady decline in population?

— What are the implications of all the new debt to be issued for the highway garage, bridges, etc.?

— What will the town's share of the renovated or new high school going to be in our imminent future?

— What will you do to help take the tax load off the individual property owners in Stockbridge?

While one selectman recently stated that "our town is not in dire financial straits," how much longer can Stockbridge continue to rely on individual property taxes to keep up with increasing costs? We will soon get an indication of our town's economic future, as the selectmen will finally be meeting with the owner of the proposed project.

Jim Balfanz,


The author notes that he writes as a private citizen and not as a member of any town committee.


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