Monday, February 28, 2011

Such a Petty Pace

We straddle two months this week, and it gives a chance to look back and forward at the same time, though the municipal meeting calendar really is focused on forward, as it should be.

This afternoon at four thirty in the ground floor conference room of the Norwich Public School's offices across from the Norwichtown Green it's a regular meeting of the Budget Expenditure Committee, whose last posted minutes are over thirteen months ago. Not too much later this week, the Board of Education will want your attention for their next proposed budget, but not too much attention I guess.

At five o'clock, the Redevelopment Agency meets in Room 210 of City Hall. Between the items at the January meeting, see minutes here, and the actions last week by the City Council, this committee has its plate full. What happens next is the most important part, but only as long as no one blinks.

Tuesday has lots to do with the future, both near and far, beginning with next in the series of meetings on Norwich Education EXcellence for Today and Tomorrow's Schools, NEXTT, starting at eight in the morning and lasting until noon in the Norwich Board of Education's offices at 90 Town Street. It might be helpful to review the meetings they've already had on the shape of the next generation of Norwich schools. The website is lacking the February meeting minutes, if there was a meeting that didn't get snowed out but the October, December and January notes are here.

At six, in the Kelly Middle School cafeteria is the first public hearing on the 2011-2012 Norwich Public School proposed budget. It would have been nice had the proposal been available on line, somewhere on the school's website but the site consistently fails to post meeting minutes in a timely (and required by law) manner, so posting the budget is wishful thinking.

That said, this is a good night to listen to the explanations of the requested dollars to support programs. Everyone of us owns the success and failure of the children in our school system. We can't buy education like it was hamburger meat despite simple solutions to the contrary; but the same people who told us there was a correlation between expenditures and test scores now say that math doesn't work. So now what?

At seven there's a special meeting of the Plan of Conservation and Development of the Commission on the City Plan. Based on the agenda, it's in the conference room of the Planning Department building at 23 Union Street, though elsewhere on the city's website it seems to be someplace else, entirely.

Wednesday evening at seven, maybe, in Room 335 of City Hall, it's a regular meeting of the Republican Town Committee. The note at the bottom of the on-line notice references days and dates that aren't actually real, so I don't know what to tell you. Dress warm? Okay.

Thursday afternoon at 5:30 in the Donald Oat Theater is a regular meeting of the Norwich Downtown Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ). Based on recent headlines in both local newspapers, and most certainly NOT on minutes posted on line (good luck finding any less than a year old), we may have reached the desperate times call for desperate measures scenario. I'm still working on the math I never understood about how the downtown arts are an economic development engine (just how much money can four people spend?). As Robert Hunter suggested, 'please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothing new to say.' I suspect we're all out of new on a very old and tired theme.

At seven, in the Planning Department's conference room at 23 Union Street, there's a regular meeting of the Inlands Wetlands, Watercourses and Conservation Commission, and if you think you'll find the minutes of the 6 January meeting on line, you get credit for a good idea which will have to do as there are no minutes.

Saturday morning, starting at nine in the reasonably cozy conference room in the offices of the Norwich Community Development Corporation at 77 Main Street, is the next installment of the Team Norwich community development meetings to which all are invited (someone needs to say it so I shall).

Not just me, I suspect, but we might all benefit from having the minutes of previous meetings posted on line so everyone who's involved can track where they have been and where they are now while those of us just joining can catch up quickly because there's still so much to do and we've been burning daylight for some time now instead of leaving the moon.
-bill kenny

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