Monday, December 13, 2010

Lovely Weather for a Meeting Together with You

There's still a handful of shopping days before Santa and the Easter Bunny take the Baby Jesus to Disney Land as part of that big magazine readership promotion (I think). I slept through a lot of the catechism classes so I may have confused cause and effect, but I did see an after-school special on it. The good news may be that there are more shopping days than there are municipal meetings at this time of the year, at least here where I live in Norwich, Connecticut.

Even as the schools are working to get ready for the winter break, the adults on the Board of Education are still sharpening pencils for the math required for the next budget. The Expenditure Committee meets this afternoon at 4:15 in the conference room at the main office at 90 Town Street, across from the Norwichtown Green. If you haven't been paying a lot of attention to the Board's deliberations so far this school year, you should start and soon. Otherwise by the time we get to budget hearings in April and May, you will be ill from sticker shock.

The Volunteer Firefighters' Relief Fund Committee meets at five in Room 209 of City Hall. They meet every other month and the October meeting was actually a 'special meeting' because the meeting date changed. A review of the minutes helps underscore the important role the committee plays in making sure Norwich has enough volunteers to be part of the public safety infrastructure and protect all of us.

And at six is a special meeting of the Golf Course Authority on the ongoing negotiations with their course pro and their course superintendent, among other topics.

Tuesday at 5:30, The Norwich Board of Education meets in the Kelly Middle School cafeteria (bring a snack, as the very popular "Oops!" meals are gone). Pay no attention to the notice about this meeting on the city's website, which seems to alternate between having nothing posted (more on this when we get to the Mayor's meetings) and having only obsolete information (this time it's obsolete, as no one I know gives a fried rat's hindquarters about an April 21 2009 meeting, but thanks anyway.)

At seven, the Zoning Board of Appeals meets in the basement conference room of the Planning Department at 23 Union Street. Among the items on their agenda, based on last month's minutes, will be the continuation of the hearing on a bakery shop at 520 Boswell Avenue.

Wednesday morning at 7:30 in the 77 Main Street offices of the Norwich Community Development Corporation is the next installment of the Team Norwich/Mayor's meetings. So far the only thing I know about the meetings is what the Mayor's middle initial stands for, because if there are meeting minutes posted on the city's website, it's not obvious (to me) where they are as I haven't found them. We talk a lot about transparency and thank goodness that's all we do is talk, since doing something seems to be much trouble.

Speaking of no meeting minutes, and folks who have made NOT posting them a tradition, there's a nine o'clock meeting of the Norwich School Readiness Council (Children First) in the community room of The Dime Bank on Route 82. With the even more difficult times facing the Norwich Public Schools in the coming budget season, I would assume an organization like Children First would be keenly interested in having an ever enlarging body of citizens who are informed and engaged on issues and challenges facing our children and their educators. The Feast of the Assumption is 15 August, just so you know.

And at five in the afternoon it's a special meeting of the Redevelopment Agency whose November special meeting minutes produced this bon mot on page two: "Planning is not a function of the RDA." Oh? Can't help but be concerned that while we may be lost, we're making great time.

Thursday afternoon at five, the Historic District Commission meets in Room 319 of City Hall. I applaud the desire to leverage historic tourism as an economic development tool, though I confess to being unsure, based on two readings of the November meeting minutes, what role the HDC sees for itself, aside from creating lists of other agencies' responsibilities to make such development a reality.

And at six, at The Rink, it's a regular meeting of the Norwich Ice Arena Authority, whose November meeting minutes aren't posted on line, but here are October's, sort of as a consolation prize where no such prize should exist.

Knowing how popular the Saturday meetings have become with folks from across the city, it's with sadness I share that there are no more meetings for this year. I'm hoping authorities have ordered additional personnel to be standing by to counsel the droves of disconsolate and disappointed who will be in desperate need of their services. I only hope their hearts will carry on-I know I do and will-at every opportunity.
-bill kenny

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