ARE THEY TO DISAPPEAR DEC. 31, 2017?
N.E.CT Crumbling Foundations :   http://www.ct.gov/dcp/cwp/view.asp?a=1625&Q=569328

Above are links to Education funding stories re: 169 CT Towns  Danbury - Region 12
                      
CT Commissioner of Education Wentzell reminds Norwalk that local boards of education are creatures of the state..."...'Furthermore, while it does not appear that you are trying to do so, we are of the belief that you legally cannot bar elected officials from serving on statutorily required councils.'”


CONNECTICUT UNDERWATER?  MOST EXPENSIVE RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE:  http://www.greenwichtime.com/business/article/Greenwich-real-estate-among-priciest-in-the-nation-9217925.php
AERIAL OF 48 NORFIELD ROAD (WATERCOLOR) PLUS A MORE RECENT GRAPHIC DEPICTION.  SHARED SERVICES TO THE FORE...AGAIN...OOPS THE UNIONS DON'T SUPPORT IT NOW?  Car tax on the way out?  What would replace it?  Hedge tax?

FORMS OF GOVERNMENT IN CONNECTICUT:   HOME RULE BUT WHERE IS HOME?   HOW IS THIS ISSUE RELEVANT?  A REVIEW OF ITS REVIEWS HERE.









Please read the Hartford COURANT OP-ED that explores some question:  When the state runs out of money, then what?

     

When will any of the candidates for governor mention M.A.R.B.?
And CCM Forum (Chair, above right also on ACIR) discussed this:  https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20180723_analysis_pension_shortfalls_loom_large_2_experts_talk_solutions/







Alternatives?  On another note, we read in newspapers (Norwich Bulletin &The Day) of taxing non-profits: 
           
WELCOME TO TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY CT
"Cul de sac" option?  Senator Boucher explains "tolls" at "Speak Up."  The original Gallas Report.  Regarding tolls as a solution - FAQ page 2





"Short" Session 2018 - SNOW JOB?

A  joke unto itself as the ink on the "biennial budget" is barely dry...









What do you think if her replies, the AG is going to say?
THREE SOLUTIONS:  Those of the Governor (#1 and #2) and House Democrats.  GOP had to revise theirs after union deal approved by Legislature.

 
PAGE 44 & PAGE 48 - and then there is this one:  TEACHER RETIREMENT
We have been waiting to see what the revised word would be...so here it is in complete ninety-nine (99) pages:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/upload/2017/05/may15budget_final.pdf

PILOT  (State property and hospitals and colleges "payment in lieu of taxes") - we were scheduled to get $4017 PILOT (although we hadn't gotten any $$ previously);
Pequot/Mohegan Grant - $8893, reduction to "zero"
Town Road Aid - no change - $251,771 grant.

The big ticket is still $2,000,000 plus (actually $2,311,475 per year for both years of the biennial budget and as we all know this can be expected to increase every year into the future unless contracts are torn up. 
---------
Q.  How is the total eclipse of the sun like CT's fiscal situation?  A.  Ours will not go away in a matter of minutes or hours.

And why is it that the I-BBC had the best story about the total eclipse of the sun?  Giving significant information such as:

 "It is the first such event since 1918 where the path of darkness crosses both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

"Indeed, it is the first total solar eclipse to make landfall exclusively in the US since independence in 1776."








U N F U N D E D    M A N D A T E   W I T H    P O T E N T I A  L    I M P A C T    O N    S M A L L  T O W N S   - ? ? ?



WESTON VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT WATCH OUT:  https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HB07047&which_year=2017
No prolema, as it turned out!






ADVISORY COMMISSION ON INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS
About Town was a member, appointed and reappointed.  For many years previous, attended all of the meetings as a member of the public.

  




  
SHORT MEETING







Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 (we watched online after the fact).
Sock it to 'em, ACIR members!!!  (Just joking!) - a terrifically informative meeting.

               
Education, top official and administrator cut to the chase.- Legislators are being misinformed by OFA.(R)("apples to oranges" comparisons")

The topic of the day is how to rate mandates. 

NEXT MEETING DATE AND TOPICS...Oct. 5th unless it is changed.

Adjourn (90minutes).





While the cat's away for the summer...


A.C.I.R. May 18, 2018 meeting
Post-Session meeting - excellent!!!
      
CCM Chair. now ACIR Chair.
Discussion about Session just completed and the frustration with "no fiscal impact" comments on bills- example of why is that bills thay appeared to be dead came alive at the end...

Staff hits the mark in lots of ways!  Same face (3rd from the left) from CT COG meetings on ACIR.  Helped get ACIR back on its feet and coordinating, we think, all the good things being suggested (r.)

We are impressed with the observations of the Chair., who noted that small town around Waterbury seem to be swallowing higher taxes rather than get rid of their autonomy over municipal services.

And big news here.  D.E.C.D. representative mentioned this and before I could look it up I checked CT MIRROR!!!  HERE IS A MAP OF THE LUCKY DISTRICTS

NOTE:  ACIR to invite Fiscal Stability & Economic Growth to September (?) meeting.




Pictured below, first meeting of 2017


A.C.I.R. January 5, 2018

10:30am Friday.  We missed it.






A.C.I.R. March 2, 2018
10:30am Friday.  No quorum.

     
SHRINKING PIE (quoting OPM Sec'y at CCOG meeting)
(L.) New executive director from OPM suggests redefinition of mandates.  What is the objective of A.C.I.R.?  We can answer that but no one is listening to us:  It was to form a bridge to permit free discussions between levels of government.

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM DEPT.
We tuned in during CCM presentation - see immediately below.  Will follow up with thw rest of the meeting via CT-N re-run.


CCM research staff talks of the perceived "whacking" of towns.
Renters rebate cut.  Shifting direction of how to avoid conflict.  Motor vehicle rebate?  Or eliminate it completely?  Shift of teacher retirement coming back - the "elephant inthe room."

           
COGs = County equivalent?
On agenda review of draft mandates report, presentation:  Regionalism to Help Achieve Fiscal Stability.  Lots of interest and news that OPM is spearheading effort to get all six COGs to adopt the WestCOG mission to have our COGs be considered as "Counties" only for purpose of receiving $$.  This is the test - will it he the AHAH moment for Greenwich?  Who always saw a plot  along with New Canaan and perhaps Wilton, who only became members of SWRPA in the mid 1970's when transportation funding came along with requirements to have REGIONAL ENTITIES in order to qualify.

Meeting ends, stilll no quorum.








A.C.I.R. Dec. 1, 2017
Friday meeting that we watched on Saturday because Committee on Economic Competitiveness met at about the same time.



A.C.I.R. meeting December 1, 2017
There is a new budget in place, new Acting Chair. cannot make meeting.  OPM staff presides.  A quorum present.

Minutes and notes approved.  Bad internet connection to 2 more members.

Section 106
Session mandates reports delayed under new budget.  Budget section says ACIR can do it sooner.



COMPENDIUM


Discussion ensued.  Technology issue - usefulness questioned.  We note that this was intended as a way to curb spending caused by regulations written to implement bills passed mandating stuff.
Upshot:  Will do a "last one" as it has been done - thereby permitting ACIR to discuss (on a level playing field - my words) what the 21st century version should morph into.  Regional "back room" mandate for small communities discussed.



OTHER
Sub-Committee report and comments re:  "Research" entities who don't want to be involved in what might turn into political football and harm them (again, my interpretation).  Regionalization mandates..
Adjourned (Meeting dates for 2018 approved earlier in meeting).






A . C . I . R .
meeting October 6, 2017
Having expected to have a CT budget by this time, A.C.I.R. stymied.


NO QUORUM SYMBOLIC
One result of lack of budget is inability of A.C.I.R. to mount a quorum to make decisions.


ABSENCE OF REGIONAL PLANNING FUNDING NOTED
No quorum.  But discussion of why planning doesn't seem to ever turn into implementation in CT.






A.C.I.R. meeting Augusr 4, 2017


  
ACIR members report
A quick meeting held to hear from sub-committees on status of budget (not yet) and role A.C.I.R. can play in the future.  Our observation is that the COGs are being representerd here more than ever. 








THE ADVISORY COMMISSION ON INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS;  LINK TO ABOUT TOWN'S REPORTS ON CCOG HERE.
A.C.I.R. LINK ON O.P.M. SITE: 
http://www.ct.gov/opm/cwp/view.asp?a=2985&q=383062



A BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH
The day after the "Long Session"ended with both a bang and a whimper, ACIR had its second meeting televised on CT-N.

A.C.I.R. staff moving ahead with compendium of mandates but seeks new and more up to date way to make it useful.  Continuing to pull together bibliography of A.C.I.R. documents.

Chair. of A.C.I.R. is a staff member of O.P.M., who reported that they were all tired out but had to be ready to go back to work to assist in Special Session.  I found out that the "call" is the usual three items - the biennial budget, bonding and the ever sneaky Implementer.  Discussion ensued - with those who'd been around for previous Special Sessions to put together the budget telling tales.  However, they all seemed to agree that this year was different.  Why?  Because of the looming deficits projected and uncertain revenues and practically no "Rainy Day" fund left.  If the money to spend is the money that comes with no new taxes or revenue sources for the State - given that no new budget may be in place July 1, it is going to be lots of layoffs?  No nothing from Hartford. Or not???  And speaking of Hartford, no mention of what's up for the city...

      









Chair. and staff above.
ADVISORY COMMISSION ON INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONSCIR MEETING MAY 5, 2017


BROADCAST ON CT-N...
Around the table, statements not necessarily in order of photos:  Unions an issue in doing some regional solutions.  Regional taxation.  Continuity on fees Contacting COG's.  Municipalities now on Nutmeg Network (originally just schools).  Invisible to the public.  Regional taxation.  Seeking students and university by-in.  Grant Portal bill.  RESC's offer to assist in figuring out how to be more efficient in supplying education services.  90 minutes approx.



FINANCE REVENUE AND BONDING
had a public hearing:  https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/TOB/h/2017HB-07322-R00-HB.htm
CCM reports on this bill which included powers to go to A.C.I.R. and COGs.

January 2017 A.C.I.R. meeting here.

Previous work products...a couple of my favorites!

  






BESIDE THE FACT THAT FROM THIS SAME SOURCE ("MUNICIPAL FISCAL INDICATORS" from O.P.M.) WE LEARN THAT WESTON IS NUMBER ONE IN MEDIAN INCOME...(not per capita income)
And then some really great news - we are no longer number one in debt per capita!!!















NO DICE?
Public Safety Committee (now there is a misnomer if I ever heard one) sends 2 bills to the floor.  This after receiving this report (or will they say "We didn't know there was such a report?").





WHAT DO THE RACCOONS REALLY THINK?  DO THEY SEEK CHALLENGES?




ENVIRONMENT
RECYCLING BILLS MAKING IT TO THE FLOOR?  OR JUST FALLING ALL OVER THE FLOOR? 







"Norwich $2.9 million water system upgrade ordinance falls short of votes needed" headline in the DAY today, Dec. 20, 2016.
A very interesting matter... http://www.theday.com/local/20161220/norwich-29-million-water-system-upgrade-ordinance-falls-short-of-votes-needed

When you read this painful story you get the feeling that losing even tho' it won by a bare majority might have been good...consider that the public utility company involved could re-apply.  Rule number one in the "Robert F. Wagner School of Public Administration" is if you can put something off, do so.

E.P.A. report on water quality in New England.






         

CITY OF HARTFORD SWIRLING INTO INSOLVENCY?  AND WHAT OF GRAND REGIONALIZING IDEAS SET FORTH BY THE CT ADMINISTRATION?  WATCH FOR APPOINTMENTS...AT HUD, HHS AND EDUCATION - BUT WAIT!!!
http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-metropolitan-district-commission-bankruptcy-plans-1026-20161025-story.html








AT THE COG, REPORT ON PROGRESS OF STUDY...WILL IT LOOK LIKE THIS?

CCM SUGGESTS A FEW THINGS, INCLUDING...COG TAXATION POWER.




How does this related to a small state like CT?  FYI - The Twin Cities region total population is the same as CT, but we suspect that's where the similarity ends...


"SHARING ECONOMY" UNDER ANOTHER NAME IS CALLED...
Redistributive economic theory very popular in Connecticut outside Lower Fairfield County.  Property Tax changes coming?

Interesting news article:  https://www.minnpost.com/cityscape/2011/09/affluent-suburbs-challenge-twin-cities-unique-tax-base-sharing-law
From the Regional entity itself:  http://www.metrocouncil.org/Communities/Planning/Local-Planning-Assistance/Fiscal-Disparities.aspx

(Weston perhaps too small to be counted statistically?) 

...Fiscal Disparities (link to a different report from the same authors)

When the property tax and local sales taxes are basic revenue sources for local governments with land-planning powers, fiscal zoning occurs as jurisdictions compete for property wealth and sales tax revenue. Through fiscal zoning, jurisdictions deliberately develop predominantly expensive homes and commercial-industrial properties with low social service needs. In such a way, they prevent the construction of lower-cost housing that has associated social needs, thus keeping demands on tax base low. Spreading these controlled needs over a broad, rich property tax base further reduces property tax rates.

The dynamic of fiscal zoning creates three sets of mutually reinforcing relationships. First, the wealthier jurisdictions that have little or no affordable housing and have low property tax rates continue to attract more and more business, the presence of which continually lowers the overall property tax rate and increases tax revenues to the city. Because of low social needs, these places can provide a few high quality local services.

A second reinforcing relationship involves those jurisdictions that have increasing social needs on a declining property tax base. This combination leads to both declining consumer demographics and increased property tax rates, resulting in fewer and less adequate public services. All of these factors are large negatives in terms of business location and retention. Often, central cities and inner, older suburbs spend a great deal of money on unsuccessful efforts to become more socio-economically stable, as their property tax base and their sales tax revenues evaporate out from under them.

The third relationship concerns the developing jurisdictions that lose the battle of fiscal zoning. These are fast-growing suburbs that have not yet attracted business or executive housing and must pay for their schools, police, parks, curbs, and gutters with fewer resources. To keep property tax rates from exploding, they are forced to abandon long-range thinking and frantically build lower-valued homes and multi-family units, big-box retail centers, shopping malls, and research office parks rejected by the wealthier jurisdictions. These decisions, in the long run, catch up with working- and middle-class suburbs and they become the declining suburbs of tomorrow. Further, in a perhaps futile attempt to remain competitive in terms of property and sales taxes, working- and middle-class developing communities often suppress local expenditures on public services, particularly on schools.

The increase of property and sales tax wealth in some communities and the stagnancy or decline of property values and retail outlets in the central cities and older, inner suburbs represents an interregional transfer of tax base. As such, the loss of value in older poorer communities is one of the costs of economic polarization and urban sprawl.

Federal, state, and local governments spend billions of dollars building infrastructure such as schools, freeways, and sewers which add enormous value to growing parts of the region. To the extent that these public expenditures serve to transfer value, they are wasted. Adding to this dysfunction, the infrastructure of new cities is paid for by taxes and fees levied on the residents and businesses of the older parts of the region.  (NOTE:  This a part of a longer published article.)







THE SOURCE: WHO IN CT HAS OR DOES NOT HAVE SIDEWALKS
And the terrific article from which we got the link to the original research report:  http://ctbythenumbers.info/2016/08/02/policies-vary-on-who-pays-for-public-sidewalk-repairs-38-towns-report-no-sidewalks-at-all/





CONNECTICUT NO LONGER CLASSIFIED AS HAVING RURAL AREAS, IF MEMORY SERVES - FROM THE (2010) CENSUS???


IS THERE, ON THIS ISSUE, A CLASH OF GOALS? CT A STATE THAT ONLY KNOWS MILKING THE TAXPAYER, SOME SAY.
Reminds me of ZBA hearing in Weston - the preferred was to arrange an array is straight in a line, apparently.  Which does seem to make sense.





        

LIES, DAMNED LIES AND STATISTICS: COUNTING THE PENNIES WORKS EVERY TIME!

Some communities can do the math faster than others:


Municipalities Say Malloy’s Supplemental Budget Will Result In Tax Increases
CTNEWSJUNKIE
by Christine Stuart | Apr 15, 2016 2:26pm

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said reducing the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account, which set aside a half-a-percent of the sales tax for local property tax relief, will result in tax hikes and service cuts for residential and business property taxpayers...story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/municipalities_say_malloys_supplemental_budget_will_result_in_tax_increases/

-------------

Democrats’ education cuts fall most heavily on CT’s Gold Coast

CT MIRROR
By: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas | April 13, 2016

"...'Must we really send millions to Greenwich and New Canaan?'"

Follow this story here:  http://ctmirror.org/2016/04/13/democrats-education-cuts-fall-most-heavily-on-cts-gold-coast/

With our "in depth" reports here:  http://www.aboutweston.com/Education.html#ccjef









S.O.S. ON DEFICIT;  RELATED MATTER...ONE VOICE MAKES SENSE...

 



M.O.R.E. Commission "disappeared" or demoted by Majority Party - need to ?  

"L.E.S.S. Commission" - stands for "local economies' services shrinking" - a more appropriate name for M.O.R.E. Commission?
Graphic by M.S. Wirtenberg








Would they have dared in years gone by?
Greenwich zoning board furious over West Putnam Avenue demolition
Greenwich TIME
By Ken Borsuk
Published 7:15 pm, Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission blasted developers of office space on West Putnam Avenue this week for demolishing a structure without authorization.

The commission is in the middle of considering the final site plan for an addition and alteration of the offices at 599 West Putnam Ave., which is the corporate headquarters of Catterton, a private equity firm. But demolition of an existing structure on the property began without the town’s approval and the developers got raked over the coals for it at Tuesday night’s commission meeting...story in full - reminds us of other instances when this has been employed...in Norwalk prior to offices of engineering firm, and in Weston, when history building demolished before subdivision application filed: http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Greenwich-zoning-board-furious-over-West-Putnam-6582140.php







Student spending draws new scrutiny
Danbury News-Times
By Rob Ryser
Published 12:00 am, Saturday, October 10, 2015

Kids in Connecticut’s neediest school districts are not getting a fair shot at college and careers because the state’s education funding formula is broken, a new non-profit group charges.

The non-profit Connecticut School Finance Project launched a website database this week that shows substantial disparities in per-student spending between schools with low-income students whose English is weak and wealthier, whiter suburban districts that can afford higher property taxes...story in full: 
http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Student-spending-draws-new-scrutiny-6561687.php






"...Proposals to expand casino gambling in Connecticut cleared the Public Safety and Security Committee on Wednesday in votes signifying a consensus that the bills were too big to die in committee, not a measure of the support for opening the state to commercial casinos off tribal tribal lands."  CT MIRROR:  https://ctmirror.org/2017/03/15/committee-approves-yet-doesnt-endorse-casino-expansion-bills/





You can bet that this is a good deal!
Deal reached with Indian tribes over keno
CT POST
By Ken Dixon
Updated 4:39 pm, Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A deal has been reached between the state and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes, to allow the keno video lottery game to take effect throughout the state.

Under the agreement, the tribes will get 12.5-percent of gross revenues from keno, which will be run by the Connecticut Lottery Corporation.

The settlement was required under the 25-year-old gaming compact that gave the tribes monopolies on gambling in the state. The Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort casinos give the state 25 percent of their slot-machine revenue as part of the long-term compact.

The new deal also allows the tribes to operate keno in their casinos...story in full: 
http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Deal-reached-with-Indian-tribes-over-keno-6554287.php



Tribes Search Out Municipal Partners for New Casino, But Offer Few Project Details
CTNEWSJUNKIE
by Elizabeth Regan 
Oct 1, 2015 2:41pm

The two sovereign Indian tribes planning to build a satellite casino north of Hartford have released a request for proposals for potential host municipalities, but it leaves much to the imagination.

The joint business venture authorized by the state legislature allows the two tribes — operating as MMCT Venture LLC — to enter into conversations with municipalities interested in hosting the smaller-scale gaming operation they envision for the Hartford area...story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/tribes_invite_municipal_partners_for_new_casino_but_offer_few_details/





Marpe questions fairness, size of state aid cut to Westport
Updated 4:36 pm, Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The recent round of cuts in state aid to municipalities is hitting home, and Westport’s top official contends the town has suffered a disproportionately large reduction — more than $417,000 — based on a formula whose fairness he questions...story in full:  http://www.westport-news.com/news/article/Marpe-questions-fairness-size-of-state-cut-aid-6541014.php




In eastern Connecticut, debate over town’s identity

DAY
Tribune Content Agency
Published August 17. 2015 8:30AM
 
Danielson— In its heyday after the Civil War, the borough of Danielson was the booming commercial heart of the town of Killingly. The compact, tree-lined village was home to a music hall, a hotel, several churches and the bustling Norwich and Worcester Railroad depot, along with the grand mansions of its prosperous residents.

Presiding over it all was the borough council, a group of powerful men who made sure the gas street lamps remained lighted, the sidewalks were clear of snow and the fire department had enough equipment to do its job.

But as Danielson's fortunes shifted, the borough council's responsibilities contracted. The police department disbanded in 1987 and the tax collector's position was scrapped about two years ago. Six residents voted in the last council election.

Now there's talk in town of dissolving the borough altogether. Most of the remaining duties of the borough council — maintaining sidewalks and street lights — could easily be absorbed by Killingly, say those who support the idea.

"In no way is this doing away with Danielson but it would be a way of eliminating a second bureaucracy within a bureaucracy,'' said John Hallbergh, chairman of the Killingly Town Council...story in full:  http://www.theday.com/state-news/20150817/in-eastern-connecticut-debate-over-towns-identity





WATCH OUT!  THIS MAY BE THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE - CHARTER REVISION COMING IN WESTON AGAIN?
City in Connecticut looks at seceding from town
CTPOST
Updated 6:21 pm, Friday, April 24, 2015

GROTON, Conn. (AP) — City councilors in Groton are discussing whether the city should secede from the town of Groton to become financially independent, after the town cut its budget requests.

The Day of New London reports (http://bit.ly/1KdEiOM ) that the city had asked for $1.92 million for road maintenance in the next fiscal year, but the town council cut $830,000. Town councilors also cut the city police budget request by $74,500.

City councilors have proposed a resolution exploring ways for the city to become financially independent from the town, including secession. The city is a political subdivision of the town of Groton.

City officials say they want to get advice from a consultant about how to obtain that independence.

City Mayor Marian Galbraith says the city would seek arbitration to settle the budget disputes.








While Weston likes to think it is above letting nasty national politics trickle down, I wonder how this will all play out down the line?
In the local election of 2017, Simsbury matter from the other year begat suggestion of reprisal:  http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-pol-connecticut-local-election-trump-20171108-story.html





GOP Vote On Glassman's Pay Cut, Resignation Still Reverberating In Simsbury

Hartford Courant
Kristin Stoller
Dec. 12, 2014

SIMSBURY — The reverberations from the board of selectmen's decision to cut First Selectman Mary Glassman's pay – and her subsequent resignation – continue to be felt in town.

Republican Selectman Mike Paine, who owns Paine's Inc., a recycling and disposal service, said he lost customers as a result of his vote.

"It's a few people," he said. "They have every right to do business with who they chose to do business with. Is it an appropriate response? The jury is still out on that."

Paine said those who canceled his service attributed their decision to his recent vote. He said he talked with a number of people who intended on canceling their service and managed to get some to stay.

The board on Nov. 24 voted to cut Glassman's salary by 35 percent after a consultant's report recommended that some of the duties of the first selectman be spread among other town staff. The report also recommended that the first selectman's salary be cut accordingly.

But Glassman – who commissioned the consultant's report – said she was upset that the board voted to cut her salary effective July 2015, rather than waiting until January 2016, as the consultant recommended. On Dec. 1, she announced her plan to resign in January...story in full:  http://www.courant.com/community/simsbury/hc-simsbury-republican-selectmen-backlash-20141212-story.html



Selectmen Reverse Pay Cut, Accept Glassman's Resignation
Hartford Colurant
Kristin Stoller
Dec. 8, 2014

SIMSBURY — Republican selectmen backed away Monday from their decision to cut the first selectman's salary in July, which had prompted First Selectman Mary Glassman to resign in protest.  But Glassman offered no indication that she withdraw her resignation, and the Republicans voted to appoint Democrat Lisa Heavner as first selectman, effective Jan. 3. 

The Republicans' decision to move up the reduction in the first selectman's salary by six months and Glassman's resignation had been roundly criticized by many residents. Monday's meeting had already been moved from town hall to the public library, but even there many residents were turned away because there was no more room. About 50 people were in attendance, and many were forced to stand.

Glassman, tears forming in her eyes, spoke to the standing-room-only crowd and defended her resignation.

"It was not about the money. It was never, never about the money," she said, referring to her decision to resign on Jan. 2. "It was always about the importance of the process that we need to follow when making important decisions about our town..."

Story in full: 
http://www.courant.com/community/simsbury/hc-simsbury-board-reconsiders-selectman-salary-20141208-story.html



"OVERTURN THE ACTION OF THE BOARD..."  AT A SPECIAL TOWN MEETING?

Sounds like Weston (almost) some years ago! 

What was done?  Instead of risking losing its powers to the "mob", the Selectmen withdrew their motion instead, IIRC.
 
Hartford Courant editorial on Simsbury here:  http://www.courant.com/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-glassman-resigns-20141201-story.html




First Selectman, as noted in link, an attorney, recused herself when the motion was made and seconded to take action midterm.  Prior to that, in discussion before there was a motion made and seconded, it was noted that the First Selectman's salary had been $114,000 since 2007 and now was being dropped to $75k.  Why

The First Selectman noted that when she was elected (the first time, we assume), in the early 1990's, town staff was herself and a secretary.  No doubt somewhat of an exaggeration, but perhaps not, because the Capitol District COG, of which Simsbury is a part, has always had a regional sewer district and other regional entities to serve its members (i.e. purchasing coop).  Hartford has always been a real central city for the region, its major employer being the insurance industry until they moved away from the center.  As the seat of State government, Hartford is always due for a rebirth.

Reports:

HARTFORD COURANT:  http://www.courant.com/community/simsbury/hc-simsbury-mary-glassman-20141201-story.html
CTNEWSJUNKIE STORY:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/simsburys_mary_glassman_to_resign_next_month/

-------------

FROM THE LWV OF WESTON website, a search:

2010 Primary:  Mary Glassman was on the Democrat Primary ticket again (Lt. Gov), this time losing, with Ned Lamont, running against the endorsed line candidates Dan Malloy and Nancy Wyman.

2006:  Primary results - Weston Democrats choose Lamont, Malloy. 
Ran for Lt. Gov. with John DeStefano in 2006 after the primary where her "running mate" had been Dan Malloy.  Glassman had defeated her Lt. Gov opponent, we assume, statewide.

In perhaps the largest voter turnout ever in Weston for a Democratic primary, voters chose Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont over incumbent Joe Lieberman for senator.   In the gubernatorial race, voters chose Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy over New Haven Mayor John DeStefano.  Of Weston’s 1,738 Democrats eligible to vote, 983, or 57%, voted in person or by absentee ballot. Of those, 551 (56%) voted for Mr. Lamont and 432 (44%) voted for Mr. Lieberman, giving Mr. Lamont a 119 vote edge.

Mr. Malloy won big with 571 votes, while Mr. DeStefano received just 314 votes, a 65% to 35% margin.

In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Mr. Malloy’s running mate, Mary Messina Glassman received 541 votes, while Mr. DeStefano’s running mate, Scott Slifka received 264 votes.






BET rejects use of longer-term bonds for municipal projects
Robert Marchant, Greenwich TIME
Published 9:37 pm, Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Should the town have the ability to issue long-term bonds maturing over 20 years that give budget-makers more flexibility -- or stick with its current policy of shorter term borrowing that incur less interest costs?

Democrats on the Board of Estimate and Taxation voted yes to the concept of longer-term debt obligations, while Republicans voted no, so the measure failed to pass at the BET's Monday night meeting.

The debate revealed a political and philosophical rift between board members on the merits of loose or tight debt obligations. The town is currently under a restriction dating from 2008 that bonds have to be paid back in five to seven years, in effect, a policy called "modified pay as you go." The issue has a long backstory among town leaders involving overdue infrastructure repairs and concerns over debt levels...story in full here:
http://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/BET-rejects-use-of-longer-term-bonds-for-5902429.php






Just-Appointed Key Hartford Official Out After Criminal Record Revealed
The Hartford Courant
By JENNA CARLESSO and STEVEN GOODE
6:49 PM EST, November 27, 2013

HARTFORD —

Less than a day after Mayor Pedro Segarra named Kennard Ray his new deputy chief of staff, Ray abruptly withdrew from consideration.

The withdrawal came shortly after questions were raised about Ray's criminal history, which includes arrests on weapons and drug charges. Records show that Ray has several felony convictions, including criminal possession of a gun and possession and sale of narcotics.

Ray, 32, was scheduled to begin work with the city on Dec. 2. His role would have been to act as a liaison to the city council, community organizations and city residents, according to Segarra.

In a letter to Segarra dated Tuesday, Ray said that he withdrew his nomination due to "extenuating circumstances." He did not elaborate...story in full at Courant.




So what is left for the elected members of the City Council to do?
Education committee plays hooky
Brian Lockhart, CT POST
Updated 12:07 am, Friday, September 6, 2013

BRIDGEPORT --How many meetings has the City Council's Education Committee cancelled?



"...The committee doesn't do anything ... They don't put anything on the agenda," said Councilman Andre Baker, D-139, an Education Committee member who petitioned his way into next week's Democratic school board primary.

Bridgeport's school district has experienced a particularly tumultuous few years, beginning in 2011 with the state takeover of the Board of Education quietly orchestrated by Mayor Bill Finch's administration.

The state Supreme Court ruled the takeover illegal in February 2012, so Finch and the council proposed changing the City Charter to appoint the school board. Voters defeated that initiative in November...story in full at CT POST.





"Occupy Wall Street" Mobilizes In Hartford
By JENNA CARLESSO, jcarlesso@courant.com
5:10 PM EDT, October 4, 2011

HARTFORD —
 
The growing "Occupy Wall Street" movement against corporate control and greed has found its way to Hartford, where two gatherings are scheduled in Bushnell Park Wednesday to plan what form the protest might take in the city.

Discussions about the protest, modeled after the campaign that started three weeks ago in New York City, started in Hartford last week, according to people involved with the movement.

They said that more than 60 people attended a meeting Sunday at the Charter Oak Cultural Center to discuss the movement, and several Facebook pages have been created to support what's being called Occupy Hartford.

The two meetings, called general assemblies, are planned for 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the park. They were called so interested people could voice their concerns and discuss a plan of action, some of those involved said. They said there may be protests in connection with the events...story in full at Courant.





Cut to tax credit could open debate on property tax reform
Keith M. Phaneuf, CT MIRROR
September 12, 2011

Though many middle-class Connecticut households will lose $200 next spring when a popular credit on their state income tax return shrinks, there is a silver lining: Those same filers will get nearly one-third of that cut back from the federal government.

And the head of an economic think-tank at the University of Connecticut says that win-lose arrangement is just one of the factors that underscores the ineffectiveness of a state property tax credit that has enjoyed tremendous popularity since it helped resolve a partisan tax battle in Hartford 16 years ago.  Professor Fred Carstensen, head of the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis, also said his unit recently launched a new research project into a potential alternative to the  credit, said the new cut also offers an opportunity for policy-makers to re-examine a regressive property levy that still dominates Connecticut's tax network.

"As I took a comprehensive look, I couldn't identify any significant economic benefit to the property tax credit," Carstensen said during an interview last week...full story here.





Wall Street's ride compounds states' pension fears
YAHOO
AP
By MICHAEL GORMLEY - Associated Press
12 August, 2011

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Wall Street's volatility has hit state pension funds just as they were beginning to recover from the recession, turning what was merely a troubled forecast into a potentially stormy future for taxpayers who are on the hook for billions in unfunded liabilities for government retirees.


As for the millions of government clerks, engineers, janitors, teachers and firefighters in the retirement systems, they are protected by law or, as in New York, by the state constitution, to be backed up by tax dollars if necessary. Their benefits remain safe for life in guaranteed "defined benefit" pension plans that are disappearing in the private sector, where most employees are left to fend for themselves with 401(k) plans that they mostly or entirely fund themselves.

California's main public-employee pension fund, the nation's largest, has lost at least $18 billion off its stock portfolio since July 1, about 7.5 percent of its $237.5 billion total asset value on June 30.

Florida's pension fund has lost about $9 billion since June 30, a decline of 7 percent for a fund valued at $119.4 billion on Thursday, while the Virginia Retirement System shrank from $54.5 billion on June 30 to about $51 billion by week's end, a decline of 6.4 percent, said its director, Robert P. Schultze.

New York's state comptroller will not say how much the state pension fund has lost during the latest Wall Street roller coaster, but the fund was 5 percent below its pre-recession value before the recent losses and remained nearly $8 billion below its pre-recession value.

And Kentucky, which has more than $20 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, has seen the value of its public pension fund decline $1.7 billion — or 15 percent — since July 1, falling to a total value of $9.7 billion.

Nationwide, states have a combined $689.5 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and $418 billion in government retiree health care obligations, according to data collected earlier this year by The Associated Press. Those benefits are protected by state law or, as in New York, by the constitution...story in full at A.P.





Malloy administration to ax 328 state workers
DAY
Associated Press
Article published Jul 13, 2011

HARTFORD (AP) — The Malloy administration will lay off 328 state employees in the first wave of job cuts as it seeks to balance the two-year, $40.1 billion budget.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released details of job reductions Wednesday. The governor's office says the Department of Corrections will take the brunt of the layoffs as it loses 222 jobs. Of those, 191 are correction officers.

The state plans to close the Bergin Correctional Institution in Mansfield in August and the Enfield Correctional Institution in Enfield by October.

The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is losing 89 jobs and the remaining cuts are from three other agencies.

Malloy said Tuesday that because of state rules governing layoffs, employees can be required to leave in two, four or six weeks.



LINK TO WHAT HAPPENED IN 2015 HERE

States and unions struggle over public labor's future

Mark Pazniokas, CT MIRROR
February 4, 2011

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's call for labor concessions puts him on a growing list of Democratic governors and mayors who are demanding a permanent, new relationship with the organized labor allies who helped elect them.  Jerry Brown in California, Andrew Cuomo in New York, Deval Patrick in Massachusetts and Malloy in Connecticut are making the case that present levels of public-sector compensation no longer can be sustained.

It's a trend that Barry Bluestone, a Northeastern University economist and longtime friend of labor, says has brought public employees to a watershed moment in politics and labor relations.

"This is not the right, this is progressive liberals on the left," Bluestone said of Malloy and the other governors. "I think that's starting to have an effect on many of these unions of saying, 'Well, we've to figure out a new way of doing our business.' "

To Bluestone, that new way of doing business must mean re-examining benefits and shedding most work-place rules and job classifications that hamper governors and mayors from cutting costs.  He is an unlikely advocate for the proposition that unions should surrender hard-bargained work rules and benefits to avoid a public backlash and the abandonment by political allies.

Bluestone, 66, is the son of Irving Bluestone, a key lieutenant to Walter Reuther, the founder of the United Auto Workers, whose contracts set the pace for broad swaths of the workforce, helping to grow the middle class.  He still sees unions as an important force for social and economic justice...for story in full - CT MIRROR.




COG combos
Barnes, moving toward confirmation, hints at budget plans

CT POST
Ken Dixon, Staff Writer
Published: 07:38 p.m., Thursday, January 20, 2011

HARTFORD -- Benjamin Barnes of Stratford, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's candidate for financial chief, gave lawmakers a look Thursday at likely tactics for reducing the state's multibillion-dollar deficit.

During a 90-minute hearing on his nomination, Barnes indicated that schools may obtain continued levels of support over the next two years; agency consolidations are being planned to save money; and that "significant" investments in transportation infrastructure would mean more construction jobs in the state.

Barnes said the budget deficit scheduled to take effect July 1 is now less than $3.4 billion, thanks to a slight increase in tax revenues, but it is still formidable...


Under questioning from Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, co-chairman of the committee, Barnes said possibly combining some of the 15 regional Councils of Government (COGs) could be advantageous.

But he's aware of the state's history of home rule among 169 towns and cities.

"We should be pursuing a long-term policy of strengthening them that may involve reducing the number of them," he said. "I'm open to hearing that although I also understand that regional cooperation should be voluntary. Towns in Connecticut are long-standing entities and their home rule is something they take very seriously."
  Story in full at CT POST



MEANWHILE...
Malloy tells towns he'll protect them from spending cuts
Governor says he will balance budget without harming municipalities
By Matt Collette Day Staff Writer
Article published Jan 20, 2011


Cromwell - Cities and towns will not feel the brunt of state spending cuts, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Wednesday, even as he pledged to balance the deficit-plagued state budget.  Still, he told civic leaders at the annual meeting of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns, reforms will take time.

"I'm not going to change this overnight," said Malloy, speaking to a packed ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center. "If you have me back here next year, I'll probably be able to say a few things we've done. But things have been going in the wrong direction in Hartford for far too many years."

He did, however, promise to deliver a balanced state budget that does not break the backs of cities and towns...
"I think I am making news today," Malloy said. "I showed up."

Story in full at The DAY.




Jon Pelto comment on ECS.






RTM chairmanship in state of flux
Neil Vigdor, Greenwich TIME
Published 06:51 p.m., Saturday, July 7, 2012

The status of one of the top office holders in the Representative Town Meeting, whose fellow committee members have accused him of overstepping his authority, is in limbo without a specific road map for adjudicating the rare feud because of questions over parliamentary procedure.

The RTM Finance Committee voted in May to form a special investigatory panel to look into alleged misconduct by the group's chairman, Gordon Ennis, who is said to be at odds with his colleagues over the sharing of internal documents such as emails and reports, as well as the tenor of their communications.  But the probe, which is expected to be spearheaded by Joan Caldwell, the legislative body's second in command, has yet to get under way.

"The question becomes, do they have the right to set up such a committee?" Caldwell told Greenwich Time. "And if they do, fine. And if they don't, who does?"

A recent update of "Robert's Rules of Order", which prescribes different sets of procedures for removing a governing body officer dependent on whether the person has a set term length, is further complicating the process.

"It's about the procedures," Caldwell said. "Until we're sure that the procedure is being protected and that the RTM, the committee and I are on solid ground, there's a reluctance to go forward. It could work out fine this time, become a precedent and next time be challenged."

Town Attorney John Wayne Fox rendered a legal opinion that the Finance Committee was within its power to create the special panel, but that it needs to be ratified either by RTM Moderator Thomas Byrne or a vote of the full 230-member legislative body.

"Depending upon what they find, there could be hearings down the road," Fox said...story in full at Greenwich TIME.




Not exactly accurate!

Town Meetings Lauded By Some, Lamented By Others
Hartford Courant
By MARK SPENCER | Courant Staff Writer
May 9, 2008

Partisans of the town meeting form of government cherish it as a centuries-old tradition that is as New England as clam chowder and as sacred as democracy itself...

"If you elect people for an office, you are essentially saying you trust that group to do what is best for the town," he said.

Humphrey, of Canton, started attending town meetings with his father at age 8 and estimates that he has been to about 250, despite being out of town for 23 years while he was in the Air Force. Anyone who wants to mess with his town meetings is looking for a fight.

He said he has never seen a town meeting make a bad decision, and he dismisses professional town administrators who say the time for them has passed.

"It's outmoded because it's a nuisance to them," Humphrey said. "They want to be dictators."
   Story in full at Courant. 





State pension fund falling far short of ability to pay retirees
Connecticut has only half the money needed to meet its obligations
By JC Reindl Day Staff Writer
Article published Dec 4, 2011

Hartford - The pension-funding sins of Connecticut's past are now catching up to us, threatening the state's fiscal stability and the comfortable retirements of future retirees.  That was the message to state legislators last week from Benjamin Barnes, secretary of the state Office of Policy and Management and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's top budget official, although he spared his audience the fire and brimstone.  But what the show lacked in hellfire, it made up with red-ink.

Connecticut has one of the lowest pension funding levels of all 50 states. According to the most recent audit, the State Employees Retirement System, which covers more than 42,000 retirees, had $11.7 billion in unfunded liabilities last year.  The audit found just 44 percent of the money that's needed to meet the state's future obligations, far below the general guideline of 80 percent. 

If nothing is done, Barnes said, "It gets spectacularly ugly..."

The Original Sin

One could say that the first phase of Malloy's pension revamp happened this year when the state reopened the costly 20-year retirement and health care agreement that was signed in 1997 by former Gov. John G. Rowland...

Fast cash

For politicians in a budget crunch, cutting back on pension contributions can, when money is needed, be an easy route to fast cash. The full repercussions aren't felt for years.

"Most people don't even notice these things until the chickens come home to roost," said William Cibes, Jr., a former state budget director...

Story in full including this report at The DAY.




Budget chief calls for legislature to tackle cash-starved pension system

Keith M. Phaneuf, CT MIRROR
November 29, 2011

Now that state legislators have closed the largest budget deficit in Connecticut history, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration has a new challenge: Fix a state employee pension system on a collision course with fiscal collapse in about two decades.

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes, Malloy's budget chief, presented the challenge Tuesday to the legislature's Appropriations and Finance, Revenue and Bonding committees during OPM's annual budget briefing. And though he didn't propose a specific timetable to meet the challenge, it could ultimately add hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to the annual state budget.

"There is enormous work left to be done with respect to the fiscal condition of the state of Connecticut," Barnes told lawmakers as part of his office's Fiscal Accountability Report, an annual briefing on short- and long-term budget issues.

"State government is leaner and more efficient" as a result of the $1.6 billion concessions deal ratified in August with state employee unions, as well as other spending cuts, agency mergers and efficiencies ordered in the $20.14 billion budget adopted in June, Barnes said...




Moving to a 'green economy': The unmarked road ahead
By Christine Woodside, The DAY
March 7, 2011

It's an alluring proposition: Connecticut solves its major energy problems while creating a new economy, cuts greenhouse gas emissions while building a new job base. People and the planet both win.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy emphasized the green economy and creation of green jobs during his campaign, and named man who wrote the book on the subject-literally-as his environmental protection commissioner and chief energy advisor...

Story in full at the DAY.



LEGISLATURE LOOKS TO TASKFORCE FOR IDEAS...

Energy secretary idea pushed 
DAY
By Patricia Daddona    
Published on 1/23/2009

Hartford - A state energy secretary could help Connecticut and its agencies develop clear renewable and clean energy plans and policy, according to a new study released Thursday.

The study, prepared over the past six months by the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, was presented to legislative committees at the Legislative Office Building. If embraced, the study could be implemented through legislation, said Richard H. Strauss, the CASE executive director.

Link to the study




Please remember that this is not official information

 
W.H.S. "HELP OUR WORLD"  WOULD HAVE

Before the About Weston website, there was a role as adviser to Weston's secret weapon - HOW (aka "help our world" - environmental club that didn't have a faculty adviser).








2014 REVIVAL OF NET METERING AND RELATED MATTERS.

At the Building Committee May 14, 2014 a discussion took place of about attempting a "microgrid" for Town Hall, Fire Department, new Police Facility and Weston Center.  The laws have changed over the last five years or so and now permit limited net metering and other changes to laws against going "off the grid."  Some on Building Committee seemed to doubt application to Weston without investment in real inter connectivityothers wanted to know a good source on the net to check...the link we provide here is to the first name that came up when we entered "microgrid" into Google.





Like the Two Connecticuts?
Will California Ever Thrive Again?
NATIONAL REVIEW
by Victor Davis Hanson, July 7, 2016 12:00 AM

"The state is sinking, and its wealthy class is full of hypocrites.

"...California depends on a tiny elite class for about half of its income-tax revenue. Yet many of these wealthy taxpayers are fleeing the 40-million-person state, angry over paying 12 percent of their income for lousy public services...

"What could save California? Blue-ribbon committees for years have offered bipartisan plans to simplify and reduce the state tax code, prune burdensome regulations, reform schools, encourage assimilation and unity of culture, and offer incentives to build reasonably priced housing. Instead, hypocrisy abounds in the two Californias. If Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg wants to continue lecturing Californians about their xenophobia, he at least should stop turning his estates into sanctuaries with walls and security patrols. And if faculty economists at the University of California at Berkeley keep hectoring the state about fixing income inequality, they might first acknowledge that the state pays them more than $300,000 per year — putting them among the top 2 percent of the university’s salaried employees..."

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/437522/california-economy-government-crumble-while-elites-watch

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/437522/california-economy-government-crumble-while-elites-watch

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/437522/california-economy-government-crumble-while-elites-watch






WESTON:  DOG PARK proposed for what we thought was purchased as passive open space - or certainly open space with restrictions on future uses.




EASTON:  http://connecticut.news12.com/news/future-plans-for-easton-property-up-in-the-air-1.12326739