To the Editor:
My name is Elliot Alchek, and I am a candidate on the Democratic slate for the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET). My wife Nancy and I have lived here with our three children for nearly 30 years. This town was here for me and my family when our Old Greenwich home burned down during Hurricane Sandy. I am running because I have a deep sense of gratitude and from a desire to give back.
I decided to run for the BET because Greenwich needs first class financial management. I have over 40 years of experience in finance, with over 15 years of experience in municipal and infrastructure finance as an executive at Goldman Sachs. I graduated with a BS Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and received my MBA, with honors, from the University of Chicago. I also have experience as a real estate investor and have led several construction projects, so I have a deep understanding of the design regulatory process.
Greenwich is an iconic town with many talented and well-meaning people that pull together for the collective good. Yet we are now engaged in a heated debate over how to address our deteriorating infrastructure, particularly our schools. It was well known, certainly from at least May 2018, when the town’s consultant (KG+D) reported that schools such as Central Middle (CMS) and Old Greenwich Schools (OGS) needed substantial investment.
It’s important to note that when the Board of Education recognized this need – perhaps later than they should have – they moved aggressively, by forming bi-partisan building committees and immediately submitted RFPs for consultants, etc. The BET, on the other hand, has simply continued to deny funding. Do you know how much this delay is costing taxpayers? As a result of double-digit construction inflation, the additional cost is tens of millions of dollars in the case of CMS alone! About six months ago our opponents were unwilling to approve $70 million for the project. Yet the latest estimates are now over $112 million, and we are still a year away from producing construction documents and a firm bid.
This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. This is a commonsense issue. We need to move forward on our infrastructure needs immediately, both from the vantage point that we need the infrastructure as well as keeping our costs low in an inflationary environment. Delay is costing us money …and we all pray to avoid possible injury to those who work and learn in these crumbling buildings! In the future we must learn from our mistakes and anticipate and work with urgency, like any well-run corporation would.
Democrats on the BET voted to responsibly move these projects forward so our town can spend less money now rather than more money later. There are many Republicans who agree with Democrats and want to keep our costs and mill rate as low as possible. This November, please vote for the entire Democratic slate of the BET on Row A because the party which receives the most votes for its candidates will get the chairmanship, the tie breaking vote and the ability to set Greenwich on a financially prudent course. Our group has complementary skills, significant financial experience, and a deep commitment to the prudent management of our town’s finances to keep taxes low and town services robust. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.