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. AND we note 2017 effort by OPM
for a "Uniform Chart of Accounts" - remember when OPM demanded data in 2016?
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.
- NEWS; OOPS says CCM
- BEACHES BACK ON THE FRONT LINE?
- Did you know the elected tax collector in Greenwich is a Democrat by the name of "Richman?"
- An opinion from CTNEWSJUNKIE: County school districts?
- Municipal Fiscal Indicators data. And a new concept, or maybe just software, in 2019, "U.C.O.A."
- ACIR MEETING notes;
- More gambling in CT - just what we need - 2017 Session will decide about off-reservation gambling.
- Opinion piece heard round the State: http://www.courant.com/opinion/insight/hc-op-gold-yankee-boundaries-killing-ct-0925-20160923-story.html
- And again...again - REGIONALISM IN CT? If not in Greater Hartford, where? Idea of the month: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/op-ed_suburbs_and_city_must_come_together/
- AWESOME REPORT ON SIDEWALKS
- AirBNB in CT - http://trendct.org/2016/01/07/what-your-neighbors-are-charging-strangers-on-airbnb-to-stay-in-their-homes/
- So what are Board of Finance Chairs. in Weston and Westport exactly thinking of?
- If you want to keep your autonomy you have to pay for it - or sell it off http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Ken-Dixon-7304556.php
- Less is M.O.R.E.? The State pulls carpet out from under cities and town...
- Possession is
nine tenths of the law department...that's the way developers work -
knock it down before applying for a zone change, etc.
- Funding formula for schools story;
- Did I read this correctly or not? GAMBLING TO BECOME LEGAL IN ALL 169 SO LONG AS TRIBES RUN IT? HOW'S THAT AGAIN?
- Breaking news about CT Governor's RESCISSION for Westport; and as summer 2016 rolls along, dribs and drabs of other cut, cut, cut results emerging and staff begins abandoning ship;
- It is a local (speaking of "local") election year - VROOM, VROOM!
- LAST SCHOOL YEAR: By our count, 160 local and regional schools and 22 Charter Schools: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/pressroom/CTschool_openings_closings_2014_2015.pdf
- State Pension system review;
- Very interesting development (a pun - perhaps development itself was to blame) in Simsbury;
- Watch out municipalities - frontal assault coming in 2015 (and now in 2017) on property tax; CT MILL RATES;
- And now Greenwich has long-term financing - OMG!
- Representative Town Meeting "RTM" not recognized
as a form of government by Courant article?
See Greenwich TIME story here.
- By 2015 M.O.R.E. Commission has made inroads to taking down town lines...2011 had seen CT
as one state in a region (perhaps called New
- Energy Improvement Districts
research paper by C.G.A. 2014 - included as an idea for Weston in
earlier efforts by Alternative Energy Committee (sub-committee of Weston
- Reports on "HOW" societal
changes (high school students of 1997 now running the country,
almost? They were awesome!!!) might give us a cue: http://www.ctcase.org/reports/energy_2008.pdf
- MICROGRID FOR WESTON?
- Shrinking CT? http://www.courant.com/business/hc-connecticut-population-20160519-story.html
- Growing industrial base? http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/business/article/Arizona-corporation-moves-HQ-to-Stamford-7850242.php
CCM report on property tax increases, August 26, 2019.
Revised numbers show the
problem as the percentage of towns who did reval - much higher than
first reported. Are we still #3?
- CCM initially reported Monday that
only 14 out of 169 cities and towns had completed revaluation just
prior to this fiscal year. And of the remaining 155 communities, 91 of
them, or 59%, had increased property taxes for 2019-20.
- But the corrected report released Tuesday showed a much larger
number of municipalities — 47 — had undergone revaluation. And of the
122 cities and towns that had not, 79 of them, or 65%, had increased
(no changes) notes the top nine: #1Norfolk, #2Bethlehem, #3Weston, (the top
three are about 10%), followed by Woodbury, Scotland, New Canaan, Lyme,
Derby and Chester
- "BETA WHO?" If you are wondering where this started, you didn't
show up at A.T.B.M. As there was no quorum, no item by item
review and voting took place of Capital Budget.
- And furthermore, at Referendum never get to see the
Capital Budget items and no vote on DPW budget - and thus knew nothing about road repaving...and "BETA GROUP."
"SHARED SERVICES" RIDES AGAIN - report of meeting here.
M.O.R.E. Commission former leader in
charge of one of new Administration's policy statements. How many
ideas mentioned that we've been warning about?
REGIONALISM IN THE NEWS TODAY (L).
Environmental injustice? Town of Manchester (Town Manager C) not to be forced to take Region's trash by present D.E.E.P. Commissioner (R), but
- Manchester Regional Facility customers paying to send garbage to other places such as out of state and further (at $115 per ton)
- Meanwhile, the regional facility, which replaced local plain
old dumps and was hailed as a "trash to energy" solution as well, is
broken - which is no surprise to us.
- These types of facilities have lots of moving parts that get
coated with sticky stuff and need constant cleaning and/or replacement.
How does this affect Weston? Commissioner Klee noted the other
four (4) regional facilities are the ones to replace Manchester in a
pinch. Can residents assist in sorting?
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
(State property and hospitals and colleges "payment in lieu of taxes") -
we were scheduled to get $4017 PILOT (although we hadn't gotten any $$
Pequot/Mohegan Grant - $8893, reduction to "zero"
Town Road Aid - no change - $251,771 grant.
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
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."
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.
CHECK OUT THIS LINK: https://portal.ct.gov/OPM/IGPP-MAIN/Responsible-Growth/Advisory-Commission-on-Intergovernmental-Relations/Cooperative-Ventures-by-Local-Governments-in-Connecticut-(1996)
FROM THE DECEMBER 8, 2018 CTNEWSJUNKIE: https://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20181205_op-ed_state_mandates_fiscal_note_impact_not_potential_minimal/
ACIR MEETING SEPTEMBER 6, 2019: http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ctnplayer.asp?odID=16664
ACIR Chair. (l) Mayor O'Leary, Sen. Cassano, Co-Chair. of P & D (c) and Jim O'Leary from Goshen.
- First was an all-out discussion of the significance of matters discussed in sub-committee;
- Then the ACIR members and representatives of appointed authorities
broke into Education and Municipal sub-groups out of camera range.
was proposed via OPM representative to have the State order
municipalities to have uniform chart of accounts.
- I thought they have that already through Municipal Fiscal Indicators reports. And via this new thing: https://ucoa.ct.gov/benchmarking/#/
- Please go to the rest of our report on this brief meeting below:
"No way" says one ACIR member
Towns will not agree to let OPM tell them how to keep their books.
Rep. Rojas (r) is amused because he's gotten the message most likely in his own district...
OPM says we need it, small town region says make it for COGs to do, wise Town manager explains it isn't so easy to do...
OPM staff to ACIR sends the message "time to break into
- Noting they started 15 minutes late in the first place and
only wanted to meet for one half hour...which they did in 25 minutes
actually (plus the extra 15 minutes).
- Rooms in the L.O.B. are booked up pretty tight and
- CT-N has a schedule to keep.
Guess who's next on the ACIR guest list? School Finance Project leader Katey Roy.
ADVISORY COMMISSION ON INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS "TASK FORCE"
Based upon another part of the Implementer, A.C.I.R. revised membership and "task force" function spelled out in Sec.366 of Implementer.
July 26, 2019, L.O.B
FROM THE IMPLEMENTER 2019
Sec. 366. (NEW) (Effective from passage)
(a) There is established a task force to study ways to encourage greater
and improved collaboration among the state and municipal governments
and regional bodies. Such study shall include, but not be limited to,
(1) the examination of functions, activities or services,
currently performed by municipalities individually, that might be more
efficiently performed by the Office of Policy and Management on behalf
of municipalities willing to opt in or opt out of accepting such
performance on their behalf,
(b) The task force shall consist of
(2) the examination of functions, activities or services, currently
performed by the state or municipalities that might be provided in a
more efficient, high-quality, cost-effective or responsive manner
by regional councils of governments, regional educational service
centers or other similar regional bodies that are responsive to
(3) cost savings of government services, including, but not limited to,
joint purchasing, for a municipality and its local or regional school
(4) cost savings through the sharing of government services, including,
but not limited to, joint purchasing, among municipalities,
(5) the standardization and alignment of various regions of the state,
(6) analyses of any other initiatives that might facilitate the delivery
of services in a more efficient, high-quality, cost-effective or
responsive manner, and
(7) a recommendation of the division, if any, of revenue in the
regionalization subaccount within the regional planning incentive
account established under section 4-66k of the general statutes, between
the Office of Policy and Management and the regional councils of
governments, regional educational service centers similar regional
bodies for the purposes of subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection.
Any initiative recommended to be undertaken by the task force shall be
offered to municipalities on a voluntary basis.
(1) the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management or the secretary's designee,
(c) The administrative staff of the joint standing committee of the
General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to finance,
revenue and bonding shall serve as administrative staff of the task
force. The Office of Policy and Management shall provide additional
support to the task force as necessary.
(2) the chairpersons and ranking members of the joint standing
committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating
to planning and development and finance, revenue and bonding, or their
(3) the members of the Connecticut Advisory Commission on
Intergovernmental Relations, established under section 2-79a of the
(d) Not later than February 5, 2020, the task force shall submit a
report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the
general statutes, on its findings and recommendations for any
legislative changes to the joint standing committees of the General
Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to planning and
development and finance, revenue and bonding. The task force shall
terminate on the date that it submits such report or February 5, 2020,
whichever is later.
(e) On and after July 1, 2020, and in accordance with the findings and
recommendations of the task force under this section, the Secretary of
the Office of Policy and Management shall commence offering the
performance of any functions, activities or services recommended under
subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section.
(f) The secretary shall establish requirements of and procedures and
guidelines for the performance of functions, activities or services
under subsection (a) of this section, the amounts of any grants to be
awarded and deadlines for application submissions and final selection of
grant recipients. The secretary may also establish fees to be charged
to municipalities that opt to participate in any functions, activities
or services offered under subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this
(g) Any regional council of governments, regional educational service
center or other similar regional body offering any functions, activities
or services under subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section may
establish fees to be charged to municipalities that opt to participate
in such functions, activities or services.
TASK FORCE SEPARATE FROM ACIR? YES. IT WILL BE MEETING IN 2 SUBCOMMITTEES - M.O.R.E. in a new role
More people in the audience than at the
table? Not the general public, of course! Staff of agencies
and organizations. Two subcommittees are education and regionalization.
Staff from O.P.M. predominates along with other staff (example).
- We note that the new A.C.I.R. seems to be putting
the concept of mediating the relationship between two levels of
government (CT and locals) in the rear view mirror.
- In addition, we note that it was reported that all nominations from Governor's Office have not yet been made official.
- All present at the table asked to choose between education and municipal services - the two sub-committees - which will meet not on CT-N to come up with recommendation to full ACIR.
- Long-time ACIR members warn that
the key to making recommendations more meaningful is having an
implementation plan; also, not re-inventing the wheel.
Rep. Davis arrives, points to final wording of the "task force" in the Implementer
We note that indeed, this is a "task force" created in the Implementer
- the first part only of Sec.366 below - the deadlines for action by
the task force are pre-Session 2020. Feb. 5 for report, July 1 for
implementation of regional proposals - voluntary - and to be paid for
with fees established by regional entity. See Sec. 366 in its entirety here.
Sec. 366. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) There is
established a task force to study ways to encourage greater and improved
collaboration among the state and municipal governments and regional
bodies. Such study shall include, but not be limited to, (1) the
examination of functions, activities or services, currently performed by
municipalities individually, that might be more efficiently performed
by the Office of Policy and Management on behalf of municipalities
willing to opt in or opt out of accepting such performance on their
behalf, (2) the examination of functions, activities or services,
currently performed by the state or municipalities that might be
provided in a more efficient, high-quality, cost-effective or responsive
manner by regional councils of governments, regional educational
service centers or other similar regional bodies that are responsive to
residents, (3) cost savings of government services, including, but not
limited to, joint purchasing, for a municipality and its local or
regional school district, (4) cost savings through the sharing of
government services, including, but not limited to, joint purchasing,
among municipalities, (5) the standardization and alignment of various
regions of the state, (6) analyses of any other initiatives that might
facilitate the delivery of services in a more efficient, high-quality,
cost-effective or responsive manner, and (7) a recommendation of the
division, if any, of revenue in the regionalization subaccount within
the regional planning incentive account established under section 4-66k
of the general statutes, between the Office of Policy and Management and
14756 regional councils of governments, regional educational service
centers or similar regional bodies for the purposes of subdivisions (1)
and (2) of this subsection. Any initiative recommended to be undertaken
by the task force shall be offered to municipalities on a voluntary
And we note that it is our understanding that if you opt in, there is a
charge T.B.D. We will not attempt to do too much to follow the
subcommittees - because they will probably use the M.O.R.E. Commission to guide them - no new studies.
A.C.I.R. Meeting Friday June 21, 2019 - http://ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=16478
ACIR sets up summer plan for work to implement HB7192. and another bill on regional P.S.A.P.s
"REGIONALISM" a dirty word, apparently, according to Sen. Cassano, who noted (r) Union agreements now the hold up.
ACIR members very grateful to administration and representatives.
ACIR to continue work of voluntary regionalism over the summer.
Legislative leaders who steered thru 7192 and others;
former legislator now with D.E.E.P; Under Sec'y Harris of OPM.
We note that more than one attendee mentioned the potential for employees retiring en mass in a few years...
ACIR Chair. opens meeting...
P&D Co-Chair. Rep. McCarthy-Vahey
HB7192: SHE NOTES THAT ACIR HAS SOME REAL ENEMIES; RESEARCH IS STRONG PRO-ACIR POINT
- ACIR makes plea to House Chair. of P&D - who had reported that
Public Safety cut out a few things related to ACIR that are within
Public Safety purview - very complicated.
- CHART BY TOWN GRAND LIST AND BUDGET - Lyle asks this. (The data is available from Municipal Fiscal Indicators.)
- What I heard was ACIR wants to have more impact by being go-to on info and research.
- But CCM has already contact list (can ACIR use it in its own
questionnaire - need permission note, it is not "government data" as it
may be compiled?)
- Budget summaries from Towns complete, draft distributed. Annual Report expanded plus "work plan."
- How about how many times budget, Town Meeting, Referendum (Town Meeting adjourned to one for the most part).
- Reval impact on mil rate.
- Late budgets went thru smoothly.
- What does the data mean? Is it timing, Charter, etc.?
To be continued next month.
ACIR APRIL 5, 2019
UCONN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION (L)
Study. Why study which topics? Some are never going to be
solved. "Silver Tsunami" impact. Surveys. Students
OPM Under Secretary
2 million dollars for ACIR research or out sourced research?
Technical IT should be on ACIR. Funding for staff or consultants - Resources.
Changes to be developed
Good discussion of who should be on the new ACIR - some members had ideas other than what the Governor suggested.
A.C.I.R. Meeting, March 1, 2019, 10:30am.
We missed seeing this ACIR meeting... did they not bother to hold it considering this? https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/TOB/h/pdf/2019HB-07192-R00-HB.PDF
A.C.I.R. Meeting, February 1, 2019
Standing on for Chair. (l) and Co-Chair. of FSEG (r)
Public-Private Partnership: 2.0 report.
1. Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth - sustainable
budget. 2007-2017 lost generation. 5 yrs. of population
2. Fixed costs eating everyone's lunch. Return on
investment. $70-$100 billion unfunded liability for CT - local
debt not included.
3. No broad understanding in the Legislature. John Dempsy Hospital UCONN sell.
4. State employees too rich wages & benefits - 2nd highest in
US. Teacher pensions too. Contributions sub-par.
Shared understanding of equities. OPEB: Employees reimburse
what medicare doesn't pay. Business scared.
5. Raising taxes: Dedicate some to pay above off?
6. How to get business humming again? Base broadening of the sales tax base. Tax services. 3 billion in exemptions.
7. Tolls for transportation. Invest in workforce.
"Silver Tsunami" bonding for STEM. 40% retirement July
2021-22. Re-opening SEBAC. Digital government will be the
8. Intergovernmental relations: Redistribution of $$. Come up with a formula to support regional services.
9. Diversify municipal revenue. CT doesn't allow higher
fees. Enable Towns to charge more. Couple more $$ for
cities/towns in bottom 20% to go to M.A.R.B. Extract OPEB out of
GROWING INTEREST IN RE-EXAMINING SHARING SERVICES:
- Larger picture needed?
- Deductions from federal tax? Retirees - keep them in CT? Ans. Great idea, but no way to make it real.
- No traction for ACIR. Ans. Will Governor combine with moderates and GOP?
- Suggests transit need-capacity
- If you took fees into consideration, CT isn't in such a bad way.
- SMALL COMMUNITIES?
- Mil rate tied to property value. Ans. Circuit breakers??? Identifying need.
- Special education. Underlying structure out of whack?
Ans. 169 Towns to business - inefficient. Historic "home
- Thank you.
A.C.I.R. Meeting January 4, 2019; CT-N: http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ctnplayer.asp?odID=15867
DOOM & GLOOM?
Looks like A.C.I.R. may be falling out of favor - in the sense that
local-state relationship will not be a strong interest of OPM (JMO)
Conserving time of partial staff (c)
Compendium is going to shrink - but because technology has progressed.
- Above-right.42% of revenues come from property tax.
- ACIR to be "re-organized" out of existence...comment by First Selectman at left.
"Staff does great work!"
REFERENCE MADE TO DATA COMPARISON TOOL: https://ucoa.ct.gov/benchmarking/#/
REGIONALIZED SERVICES IF YOU WANT TO MOVE THE NEEDLE
- Beef up OPM Intergovernmental Relations.
- One budget - not just BOE separate from Town - as I heard it -
does this mean Board of Education must permit voting on items? I
don't think so, but....
- Governor-elect asks why Towns don't do it already.
- A lot of people are leaving - "silver tsunami" of
retirements. Would this permit "privatising" road
design/construction (my question to the computer screen)?
Adjourn 12:10pm. FSEG at next meeting.
- it was clear that ACIR is in for a change and if I am not being too bold,
- totally reworking the concept of being the venue where State and Towns relate.
- Some seemed to suggest taking away powers from Towns, substituting think tanks (???).
- Not to mention "regionalizing" policies already noted (i.e. health districts)
- also heavily increasing staff at OPM to do...what? Mention of all engineers retiring...soon, from DOT.
TRUTH TO POWER NOT APPRECIATED?
A previous administration and staff on M.O.R.E. subcommittee called out some shortfall in methodology..
ADVISORY COMMISSION ON INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS
Friday, January 4, 2019 A.C.I.R. meeting agenda. And what a fist full - the old "100 days" action plan...Shared Services report.
- Many comments regarding last meeting with O.F.A. Suggestion
of random sample of O.F.A. reports on bills (fiscal impact) after a few
- F.S.E.G. to be invited to next meeting.
- There will be other Commissions - Special Ed and Pension reporting
in December all around the state - in January ACIR wants to hear from
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.
- "Fiscal Note" process. They are going to contact half a
dozen different types of municipalities for every item they must comment
- OFA works for Finance Revenue and Bonding and doing the budget for the State.
- Advises those who would be giving testimony on bills to provide a
$$ number of impact (although they don't necessarily end up agreeing
since all testimony is not in agreement).
- How to obtain costs? In real time.
NEXT MEETING DATE AND TOPICS...Oct. 5th unless it is changed.
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.
Session mandates reports delayed under new budget. Budget section says ACIR can do it sooner.
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
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.
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 August 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
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
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...
- There was confirmation that what we had figured out about a few bills not getting to the finish line was true.
- Discussion among members was on again off again for or against
all/some mandates and how everything is peachy in the Capitol
Region. Sure. Nobody mentioned Hartford's potential Chapter
9...it was suggested that R.E.S.C.s get a seat on the A.C.I.R. board.
- And lastly, an enthusiastic Boad of Education member (with
confirmation from mayors also around the table) that voluntary
regionalism was working in small towns and/or where is benefits two or
more towns. However it was acknowledged that it was successful
because thery worked around labor contracts and put a heavier load on
volunteer members of Boards of Education - who were very happy to go the
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 from ACIR! And one from the League of Women Voters of the United States, too!
UNIFORM CHART OF ACCOUNTS. 168 Town info but not Greenwich: https://ucoa.ct.gov/benchmarking/#/
Median household income in 169 towns: https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-census-highest-household-income-connecticut-htmlstory.html
This was the hot item at A.C.I.R. meeting Friday...click on map for more.
An incomplete tool, or a simplified Municipal Fiscal Indicators?
Tool that may or may not work to measure 169 towns/compare: https://ucoa.ct.gov/benchmarking/#/
"UCOA" NOT A COLLEGE FOOTBALL POWER. A HAIL MARY PASS BY QB MALLOY
169 municipalities minus Greenwich data: 2017 Expenses - Revenues. By "4 tiers" or size of community (population). Weston link.
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
And then some really great news - we are no longer number one in debt per capita!!!
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?
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!!!
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
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
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:
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
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
Democrats’ education cuts fall most heavily on CT’s Gold Coast
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
WATCH OUT! THIS MAY BE THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE - CHARTER REVISION COMING IN WESTON AGAIN?
City in Connecticut looks at seceding from town
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
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
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
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
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.
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:
Key Hartford Official Out After Criminal Record Revealed
The Hartford Courant
By JENNA CARLESSO and STEVEN GOODE
6:49 PM EST, November 27, 2013
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
"...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,
5:10 PM EDT, October 4, 2011
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
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
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'
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.
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.
administration to ax 328 state
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
The state plans to close the Bergin Correctional Institution in
Mansfield in August and the Enfield Correctional Institution in Enfield
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
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
"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.
Barnes, moving toward confirmation, hints at budget plans
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
But he's aware of the state's history of home rule among 169 towns and
"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
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
"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
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.
Town Meetings Lauded By
Some, Lamented By Others
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
"It's outmoded because it's a nuisance to them," Humphrey said. "They
want to be dictators."
Story in full at Courant.
far short of ability to pay retirees
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
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
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
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.
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
Story in full at the DAY.
LOOKS TO TASKFORCE FOR IDEAS...
Energy secretary idea pushed
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
Link to the
remember that this is not official information
W.H.S. "HELP OUR WORLD" WOULD HAVE
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 connectivity; others 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?
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
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
WESTON: DOG PARK proposed for what we thought was purchased as passive open space - or certainly open space with restrictions on future uses.