Monday, August 9, 2010

Norwich Meetings 9-13 August 2010

This is a week in The Rose of New England with excellent examples of all the different kinds of people we have, and need, as neighbors to work on the various projects across our city to make things better for all of us. I always wonder if a rose by any other name would smell as sweet and if we'd quote Shakespeare as often as we do if his last name were Bag O'Doughnuts.

The Ethics Commission has a regular meeting
this afternoon at five in City Hall, Room 210. I think the important item on the agenda is their attempt to develop alterations and improvements to the City's Code of Ethics, which has actually been in place a little less than year. 

A lot of that gained momentum in recent months with the discussion and decision on allowing potential development partners to defray some of the travel costs of the Mayor when he's on economic development missions, sort of. Suspect you can tell I've still not made my piece with the decision. Yeah. It seems to me we've determined what Norwich development officials really are-the only thing we're discussing is the price.   

Elsewhere at 5:15 in their offices in Gales Ferry is a regular meeting of the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority with (Id hope) an update on the collaboration between Groton Utilities and Norwich Public Utilities, NPU. Regional cooperation isn't always the sexiest thing that happens on any given day, but since we need to be doing more of it, it's good to see we're learning how. 

It's NOT listed on the City's website, and it's not anywhere on the Norwich Public School's website either, but with the new school year just weeks away, I'm surprised there isn't a Board of Education regular meeting Tuesday afternoon at 5:30 in the Kelly Middle School library (gives you a chance to nose around and see how the expansion is going, if you needed another reason to attend) because their regular meeting is always the second Tuesday of the month. I have been assured by some one who should know that there really and truly is no meeting. You learn something new everyday (me, once a week is enough).  

However on later this week there will be a Thursday Special meeting of the Board of Education in the Central Office at five to discuss the scores of the students from the spring Connecticut Mastery Tests, CMT, while (I assume) charting future steps for improvement. There will also be a look at the next steps in the Board's efforts to develop a comprehensive strategy for the this decade (into the next) in areas to include curriculum, technology, personnel and physical plant, all of which was talked about earlier this summer to just about no members of the public at all. 

The Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 7 PM in the basement conference room of the Planning Department at 23 Union Street. I didn't skip the Public Works and Capital Improvements Committee meeting-it's been cancelled. For those keeping track at home, they have met TWICE since January. If you're waiting for a snarky observation from me perhaps you've been reading these notes a little too long and often. Besides, you can come up with your own. 

There's been a lot written about a possible bond package for economic development for consideration by Norwich voters on the November ballot and a great deal of comment has been generated. Comment is good-informed comment would be a LOT better. 

There's still stuff I don't understand about the proposals. For instance since the charter tasks the mayor to be the catalyst for economic development, why did the City Council, in a motion the Mayor wrote, give that responsibility to the Norwich Community Development Corporation, NCDC? Did any of us vote for any of the people on the NCDC? Just sayin'..... 

And I'm still NOT understanding why we're not encouraging NPU to use a revenue bond instead of us signing for a municipal bond to pay for an expansion of  the natural gas lines. You probably have questions too (hopefully NOT 'what is any of this about?' because that would make you a disinterested resident and we're already full up on those). 

I mention all of this because  if you, too, have questions, Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 at 77 Main Street (in the offices of NCDC) is an informational meeting on each of the separate bond packages, with an explanation of their full costs and their projected returns. You don't need to sign up to speak and it would be nice if more of us signed up to listen. 

There's other meetings Wednesday, but my heart beats especially strong for this one. You can find out about the other meetings here, here, and here (this one is fifteen minutes before the informational meeting in the same location) and there's some cancellations as well. 

Summer vacation, if you had one, is just about over and so we need to get back to work literally and often figuratively in turning around where we live and making it again someplace we want others to call home as well. Too often we ride the line of balance and hold on by just a thread-we need to know we, alone, own our actions and the consequences of them. If you've been waiting for an invitation to get involved, consider this to be that. Suspect it's true where you live as well-but around here we can use all the help we can get, and then some.
-bill kenny  

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