Editor's note - For 18 years the Observer has published in-depth Q&A interviews with every mayoral candidate in Waterbury, and after that information was shared with our readers, we stopped covering the race. There are a lot of accusations and excitement during the final weeks of an election, but the Observer, a monthly newspaper, didn't have a forum to respond to the unfolding drama. Now with our website, we can continue to cover issues up until election day. The question is how?
We decided the fairest way was to bundle campaign press releases together and let our readers sort it out. For example, we received a strongly worded press release from the O'Leary campaign last night, and instead of publishing it on the website, we forwarded the allegations to the Jarjura campaign and gave them 24 hours to respond. The result is a point - counterpoint which is published below.
Whichever campaign initiates the first strike, the other campaign, or campaigns, has 24 hours to respond. This new policy applies to the campaigns of Mike Jarjura, Neil O'Leary and Larry De Pillo.
O'Leary Campaign Press Release -
JARJURA PLANNING THIRD MEDICAL DEVELOPMENT IN MIDDLEBURY
Continues to Lure Businesses and Tax Revenue Away from Waterbury
Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura’s real estate company is preparing to lease a development in neighboring Middlebury. The property, at 199 Park Road Extension, will mark the second development that Jarjura has leased in Middlebury; his first complex, “Middlebury Edge”, is home to numerous businesses that were once paying taxes in Waterbury.
“Thanks to Mike Jarjura’s real estate development business, Waterbury has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue every year since 2005,” said Democratic candidate for mayor Neil O’Leary. “We already knew that Mike Jarjura built a multi-million dollar medical and retail complex in Middlebury. We learned recently that he started developing a second office building next door to the first. Now we hear that he and his partners plan to build a third medical office building in Middlebury on Route 64.”
Jarjura’s Middlebury Edge medical complex is that town’s 4th largest taxpayer.
Last month one of Jarjura’s development companies, Pomeroy Enterprises, appeared before the Middlebury Zoning Board to request special permission to construct a two-story office building on Route 64.
”We have plenty of available properties in Waterbury—why aren’t they building it here?” asked O’Leary. “Mike Jarjura is the Mayor of the City of Waterbury. He should be bringing economic growth to Waterbury, not to Middlebury. He should not be luring businesses out of Waterbury. He absolutely should not be making money at the expense of the Waterbury taxpayers—but that is exactly what he is doing. Right now, there is a new sign up at 199 Park Road Extension announcing that his second office building is ready to start leasing. Mike Jarjura has made millions on his real estate deals while the Waterbury taxpayers have suffered. He has betrayed the citizens he is supposed to represent.”
Fact Sheet From O'Leary Campaign:
• Middlebury Edge is the 4th largest taxpayer in Middlebury, assessed at $8.5 million.
• Jarjura and his partners purchased the Middlebury property in 2002, during Jarjura’s first year as Mayor.
• Jarjura and his partners began leasing Middlebury Edge in 2005, the same year that Waterbury had the highest equalized mill rate in the entire state.
• Jarjura has moved his business office from Waterbury to Middlebury Edge.
• At least ten Waterbury businesses have moved to Middlebury Edge, taking hundreds of jobs with them.
• Waterbury Hospital and its affiliates moved about 95 physicians, nurses, technicians and support staff to Middlebury Edge in 2005.
• Middlebury Edge is so successful, Jarjura and his partners have begun leasing another 50,000 square feet of space next door.
• Things are going so well, Jarjura and his partners are planning a third medical building in Middlebury, according to the Minutes of the Middlebury Zoning Board of Appeals (Sept. 7, 2011) and the Bee-Intelligencer (April 16, 2010).
Response From Jarjura Campaign
Neil O’Leary’s latest shrill attack demonstrates his continuing inability to be completely honest with voters and taxpayers in the City of Waterbury.
For over a century, the Jarjura family has worked, invested and provided job opportunities in this city without ever wavering in its commitment. That commitment to enhancing this city continues even during this Great Recession. J.P. Jarjura & Sons has not only been a driver of economic activity in the South End, but it’s been a bedrock supporter of all elements of the community through charitable contributions.
In the last several years, the managing partners of real estate companies in which Mayor Jarjura invests, have spent millions renovating underutilized and vacant properties in the City of Waterbury.
An abandoned factory at Scott Road is now a vital commercial/office center. The work on that property provided dozens of construction jobs while it was being built and continues to create job opportunities for workers at all levels from HVAC contractors, to landscapers, lawyers, clerks and industrial production employees. That one facility alone provides $156,698 in revenue to the city for the real estate alone, let alone the personal property taxes paid by the businesses operating there.
Altogether, businesses in which Mayor Jarjura has some connection pay over $350,000 a year in taxes to the City of Waterbury and that number is slated to increase.
One building in Middlebury constructed nearly 10 years ago is only a tiny part of what Jarjura’s partners have done. Their commitment to investment is, and remains, the City of Waterbury.
Mayor Jarjura, in addition to his record of successful management of the city, has a proven record as a job creator in the City of Waterbury who has enhanced the Grand List through his own efforts. That is something Neil O’Leary, who only moved into Waterbury a few years ago and has never created a private sector job, can’t say.