Residents should oppose ER move
Barkhamsted residents are being asked to subsidize the Borghesi/ Charlotte Hungerford Hospital project so that the developer can make a profit.
A former Barkhamsted selectman recently wrote that he objected to the tax abatement proposal. He generally supports tax abatements, which are traditionally used to draw businesses to towns. He objects to this particular abatement because it is at the expense of Barkhamsted’s neighbors in Winsted. He thinks this is not good for the region and that economic development should be planned with “an eye toward regional stability”. Many agree with this analysis.
The proposed project is a classic example of bad corporate citizenship and reeks of conflict of interest (the owner of the property for the new development is on the Charlotte Hungerford hospital board). This is a cynical insider scheme to profit a few at the expense of many.
There is no question that the developer intends to make a profit. What does this mean? The rental rates to Charlotte Hungerford, the physicians and other tenants must necessarily be high enough to ensure profit. This is in contrast to the rates that the Winsted Health Center charges as a nonprofit entity dedicated only to providing health care services to area residents.
Some on the project say that rents cannot be kept low enough without the tax abatement. So what will happen when the abatement expires? It is likely that the rental prices will increase. When that happens, Charlotte Hungerford, already financially challenged, will close up shop and this region will lose access to emergency care and other medical services. All of us will have to rely on getting to Torrington (and eventually, who knows where) for life-saving and other medical services.
This will be yet another loss for Winsted and the surrounding towns.
Please attend the Barkhamsted town meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. and vote no.
The writer is the community lawyer in Winsted.