Monday, April 25, 2011

Main Street Post Office To Get Public Hearing.

The United States Postal Service has agreed to conduct a public hearing about the future of the Danbury Post Office located on Main Street.

The Public Hearing will be held on May 4th in the City Council chambers at 5 pm.

Residents and patrons of the Post Office are encouraged to attend to express their views of the potential closure. In attendance will be Post Office Review Coordinator Barbara Mastroianni.

If you have any questions feel free to contact Cityline 311.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The New Normal.

Across the state and across the nation, there is a reminder of the wreckage of the current economic recession. It is cities and towns, large and small, that are all wrestling with the same financial and budgetary issues. 

As the cost of educating students continues to escalate, as contracts and employment agreements with Board of Education employees have not been adjusted to match the current economic climate, communities are struggling to fund the basic education of our children.

Forget about NCLB, CMT's, CAPT tests, and all of the high standards that the state and federal government are fond of demanding, but not so fond of funding, right now, in most communities, it is survival time for their respective school system.

Pension costs and health care costs are- as Mayor John DeStefano of New Haven has stated,  the "Pac Man" of municipal budgeting. Gobbling up any discretionary dollars or any money that might be available to execute improvement plans, hire staff, retain staff or develop new programing.

Of the Board of Ed's budget, $21 million is for health care for its employees. Not included in the Board of Education's budget is a $1 million payment that City of Danbury must make to the pension fund for the BOE's employees that do not participate in the State Teachers Retirement Fund.

This year I have proposed a $1 million increase to the operating budget for the Board of Education. The Board of Education is asking for $4.2 million of new funding.

Over the last 10 years. the City of Danbury and its taxpayers have been proud to invest in public education. Our operational budget for the BOE has increased by 32% -- yet our student population has grown by just 11%.

These dollars do not include investments in two new elementary schools, renovations to Rogers Park Middle School and Broadview Middle School as well as dozens of smaller projects that the taxpayers of the City of Danbury are paying back through our debt service.

Today, our taxpayers are under more pressure than ever before.

In 2010 there were 187 foreclosures in the City of Danbury. In 2005, there were 7.

Unemployment in the Greater Danbury Area has reached 8.2%.

On top of that, Gov. Malloy is proposing a significant number of new taxes that will hit Danbury families hard.

Going forward, we must work together to find new ways of doing business. That means that the State of Connecticut, the Federal Government, and our unions must be at the table with our Board of Education to change the way that services are delivered so that we can reduce cost.

Our current path of multi-million dollar increases to the Board of Education every year is simply unsustainable.

It's the "New Normal" let's get used to it..


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Coming Down The Home Stretch.

Last week the City Council approved all of the sections of the proposed budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

A public hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday evening at City Hall at 7 pm.

We have also scheduled a special council meeting at the conclusion of the public hearing to consider an important energy conservation project for the Danbury Public Schools.

More on that later..

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Stunning Statement.

Special thanks to Governor Malloy and to Lt. Gov. Wyman for making their way to Danbury as part of the Governor’s 17  Town Hall meetings.
As someone who has conducted countless town hall meetings in Danbury (with a few more to go) I know that it isn’t easy to stand there and take the criticism. So the Governor should be commended for the effort- he and the LG are welcome in Danbury anytime.
However, I am thoroughly puzzled by a statement made by Malloy about halfway through his presentation. In fact, I was so stunned that I asked my staff the next morning if they heard the same thing that I did– all of them heard the same thing.
During the question and answer session, Malloy stated that the budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year– the second year of his proposed biennium budget, is out of balance and has a projected deficit.
Come again? Another deficit? — this is like ground hog day all over again. So let me get this straight, we are being asked to pay $500-$1000 in new taxes, the state employee unions are being asked to give back a billion dollars each year, and after all the “shared sacrifice” we will still have a deficit.
If this is in fact the case, then I think the residents of Connecticut deserve an explanation. Why, if we are being asked to sacrifice so much, is there still a deficit? What’s the plan in year two of his budget to close the gap? More union concessions above the 2 billion? More cuts? More taxes? A combination of all three?
I have looked for a copy of the meeting so I could listen to it again, because I can’t believe that this would be the case. If you have a link to the entire meeting, please send it to me.
The Governor has done a service for our residents by doing these town hall meetings– it is much appreciated.
As far as another deficit..
Say it ain’t so Joe errr. Gov.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

City To Begin Spring Pick-Up Program


CITY TO BEGIN SPRING PICK-UP PROGRAM IN APRIL


The city runs a collection program twice a year providing free-of-chargeyard debris pick-up. This program is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 18th, and will run for 6 weeks through Friday, May 27th.





Yard Debris or “green waste” includes leaves, weeds, flowers, and non woody roots and shrubs. ONLY yard debris bagged in PAPER LEAF BAGS with NO TAPE can be left at curbside in front of residences for the city’s Highway Department to pick-up.


Small tree trimmings/branches less than 4 inches in diameter will be collected and MUST BE BUNDLED with twine only. These will be picked up separately during the same period.


NO TAPE OF ANY KIND ON BAGS,
NO PLASTIC BAGS,
NO GRASS, ROCKS, DIRT, GARBAGE OR ANIMAL WASTE IN BAGS,
NO STUMPS




The Yard Debris Pickup Program is divided by I-84; Section A is south of I-84 (zip code 06810) and Section B is north of I-84 (zip code 06811). Section A will be picked up the week of April 198h through April 22nd and then move to Section B the next week. This cycle will be repeated through May 27th. Please remember: the Highway Department tries to get to as many streets during a week as possible, however, there are times when pick up will be held over until the following scheduled visit to your zip code.



Ferris Mulch Products at 6 Plumtrees Road will be open for Danbury residents who wish to drop-off their own bags or tree debris before, during, and after the city’s collection program. The hours are Monday through Friday, 7:00 am through 3:30 pm. Saturdays from 7:30 am to 12noon. Closed on Sundays. Their phone number is 203-790-1155, or you can visit their website atwww.ferrismulchproducts.com for more information.


Scheduled Dates for Yard Debris Pick up Program:


April 18th – April 22nd: Section A (zip code 06810)
April 25th – April 29th: Section B (zip code 06811)
May 2nd – May 6th: Section A
May 9th – May 13th: Section B
May 16th – May 20th : Section A
May 23rd – 27th: Section B

If you have any questions regarding yard debris pick-up please contact CityLine 311 at 203-744-4311.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Save HVCEO!

There are a lot proposals and ideas floating around the Legislature.
Some of them good, some of them not so good.
One of them is to eliminate HVCEO.
Deep inside HB5782 (part of Governor Malloy’s budget) there is language that reduces the Regional Planning Organizations from 15 to 8. While on its surface consolidation is a good idea, the net result will be that HVCEO will not survive the merger,  which could possibly place Danbury with Waterbury in the same RPO.
As the economic driver of the region, it’s critical that Danbury maintain its economic viability and visibility. If we were merged with Waterbury and it’s surrounding communities, Danbury and the 9 other particpating towns would be swallowed up by the larger communities with much different interests and priorities.
The Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials has been around since 1968 as a Regional Planning Organization for our communities.
Its mission has been to foster communication and planning among the ten towns in the Housatonic Valley. We meet monthly to discuss regional issues that range from transportation to health care.
The federal government has charged HVCEO with the Regional Transportation Plan, and the state government has charged HVCEO with developing a Regional Growth Management Plan.
Every state and federal highway project in the area is thoroughly vetted through HVCEO. Each of the CEO’s in the region work in a cooperative spirit to help prioritize these highway and road improvements, sometimes there is a little horse trading, but all in all we figure it out.  We also work closely together on economic development issues as well as emergency management.
HVCEO has been a success at getting our town and city leaders to think regionally and to act locally.
It’s one inexpensive government program that works.
Let’s not mess that up.