Referendum Results

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Feb 162021

Well, Orange, you listened to the presentation and over the past two weeks heard all of the pros and cons regarding the purchase of the Racebrook Country Club Property.

You took it so seriously that a very large number of residents — 2,476 of you — came out to vote in the referendum.

The traffic at High Plains was steady all day long according to the moderators.

In the end, 772 of you said “NO.” But the majority, 1,704 voted in favor of it.

Thanks to you, the town will control the destiny of 287 acres of land and improvements for future generations.


Racebrook Referendum: Do You Know What You’re Voting For?

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Feb 142021

The  Recebrook Referendum will take place at the High Plains Community Center Gym on Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.

A Town Meeting was held via Zoom, see link below.

After much discussion, the entire bi-partisan Board of Selectmen is in favor of the proposal.

If you are unsure of why the purchase may or may not be a good idea. Keep in mind that it will preserve the land from ever being developed. That alone from what residents have told me is enough to make them want to vote YES.

But not everyone feels that way.

See the question and answer section below for more detailed information:

My apologies for not posting it sooner. I tore a hole in my cornea and was unable to read or post anything for a few days as it was terribly sensitive to light.


Answers to your questions that have been received by email and phone calls regarding the Race Brook Country Club purchase. 

Can you explain how the bond indebtedness of $10.3 mil equates to actual cash outlay from the town budget? Can you explain the bond repayment? 

The bond payments start out at approximately $567,000 and drop to approximately $426,000 at the end of the twenty years. The lease has Race Brook paying about half the bond to start, payments will start at $250,000 per year and move to $380,000 per year for 40 years. One mil is currently about $2,000,000, so the Town would be paying about 1/8 of a mil then that amount will shrink over time as the payments from Race Brook increase. 

What is the financial impact to me the taxpayer? 

These are the current best estimate figures we have available at this time A $357,143 home assessed @70% $250,000 could be a $52 increase
A $714,286 home assessed @ 70% $500,000 could be a $105 increase
A $1,071,429 home assessed @70% $750,000 could be a $158 increase 

What does the country club pay in taxes now? Are they up to date? Will they continue to pay any taxes? 

Race Brook Country Club paid $125,323.88 in real estate taxes, and $27,617.18 in personal property taxes this past year. They are up to date. They will continue to pay only the personal property taxes. 

Are there any provisions in place to protect the Town of Orange from Race Brook going bankrupt? What will happen if Race Brook goes bankrupt? 

This is a strong reason for the Town to be proactive. If this did happen the Town would then decide the future. 

Who is responsible for the upkeep to property and buildings the Town or Race Brook? 

Race Brook is responsible for all maintenance and upkeep. There will also be an independent yearly review to make sure things are kept up. 

Will Town residents be able to play golf? 

The Town is purchasing the land and buildings not the business of operating a golf course. There are two other public courses in Orange, and we do not want there to be a conflict of interest or hurt their businesses. 

How is this different than the Woodbridge purchase of the Woodbridge Country Club property? 

The Town of Woodbridge bought a bankrupt property that had been closed and was not operating. The buildings were in poor condition and paid $7.4 million and put money into it and thought they could operate it. It was too far gone for the Town of Woodbridge to make it work. 

Can residents use the banquet facility? 

The banquet facility is available for rental for events, you have to contact the club. 

Who did the appraisal and review of the business operations? 

The appraisal was done by Kerin & Fazio and review of the business operations was discussed with the Town auditors. 

Will the Referendum be held via ZOOM? 

No, The Special Town Meeting being held Tuesday February 2, 2021 is being adjourned to a referendum. The Referendum will be in person on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at High Plains Community Center. Absentee ballots are available by requesting a ballot from the Town Clerk. You may do this by downloading the form from the Town of Orange website www.orange-ct.gov or by calling the Town Clerk at 203-891-4730. Absentee ballots must be returned to The Town Clerk by February 16, 2021. The ballot box outside Town Hall is also available for returning ballots for your convenience. 

Will the Town be managing the golf course and banquet facility? 

No, The Town is purchasing the land and buildings not the business of operating a golf course. 

Will the Town have liability costs or have to insure the property? 

The Town will ask Race Brook to indemnify us by having the Town of Orange listed as an additional insured and hold us harmless. However, it will also be on the Town’s umbrella to assure full coverage. 

When do the bond payments begin? 

That will depend on when the sale is completed, there is usually a six-month grace period before you make your first payment. The payments are scheduled to begin September 2022. 

Is Race Brook being asked to make a reserve capital fund? 

There is a provision in the draft lease that Race Brook has a capital account for maintenance and upkeep. There is also a provision that the Town has the right to do a yearly review of the property and building and notify the tenant of needs to be done, if the tenant should fail to perform The Town could have it done and charge them for the services. 

Why does Race Brook want to sell? 

Race Brook does not want to sell the bank is forcing them to pay the debt that was borrowed in 2006 for a new clubhouse and maintenance facility. That is how I found out about the situation, they were having test holes done for a subdivision on the parcel that is bounded by Race Brook Road, Shepard Lane, Lambert road, Orange Center Road, and Derby Avenue. 

Are there any environmental issues the Town may be responsible for? 

There are no issues that I am aware of. 

How is this beneficial to the Town? 

The benefit to the Town is to control the destiny of 287 acres of land and improvements for future generations. The purchase price equates to about $29,600 per acre. The Town would have the choice to leave it as open space, lease it, sell it, or develop it into something else. This is the first time the Town would have a land purchase and be paid back for buying the land. 

Town Meeting On Zoon.