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.

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