Monday, October 20, 2008

Norwich Municipal Meetings Meriting Attention

This is good week in Norwich, if you're not yet a registered voter or have questions about how the ballot scanning devices we'll be using in two weeks work to increase your college of knowledge. I'm not going to give you that Diddy-inspired "Vote or Die" line because that's just stupid polemics.

I will point out many of us have friends, family, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, cousins and neighbors in the Armed Forces defending our freedoms, to include choice through casting a ballot, and the least you can do is be eligible to do so. So, in terms of opportunities this week, pick a day and be the difference. This one is so easy, here goes: Monday through Friday, everyday, at 9 AM in Room 210 of City Hall. Let's not ever need to have that discussion again, ever, okay? (How can you NOT vote?)

There is a lot of interest going on for residents and registered voters (I never said I was subtle) this week, as there is every week. I'm not sure about where you live, but suspect it's true, too. Here in Norwich, we've rolled up our sleeves this week and here's what we have:

Monday Senior Affairs Commission at 9 a.m. in the Rose City Senior Center on Mahan Drive (you can check out the progress on the Norwich Tech/Three Rivers CC campus reconstruction and site swap that's going on while you're at it. It's very impressive).

Also Monday, at four in the afternoon, is a meeting of the Design Review Board, at 23 Union St., that's next door to City Hall (have you ever driven past that concrete hulk of a public parking garage that mars the sight lines around Brown Park and wondered what the heck happened? Folks not paying attention, my friend and that's why the citizen volunteers on the DRB always appreciate your interest. Mine, maybe not so much).

And since you're that close to City Hall, and it is a Monday come early for the informational meetings and stay for the City Council meeting. Before the City Council meeting are three informational meetings--the first at 5:45 is by NPU on the East-West sewer project (there's a reason why so many in Norwich are concerned about sewers but it's too Freudian to get into); there's a School Readiness Council/Children First initiative presentation at six and if children or sewers don't set your pulse racing, at six thirty is an overview and explanation on the nearly-completed property reevaluation in Norwich. The bad news, if stock market fluctuations have negatively impacted your lifestyle, may be that you fear you could soon be living out of your car--the good news may be that the taxable value of your car has gone up.

If you're sticking around for the Council meeting at 7 PM, here's the minutes of the 6 October meeting to read up beforehand. As for tonight's Council meeting, speaking of finances, is a resolution proposing a workshop with the Council and the City Manager in the more immediate here and now to talk about next year's budget in light of the changes (and not many for the better) in every one's finances in the last weeks and months. Bravo to the City Council and City Manager (what is the emoticon for clapping? No idea.) for seeking to define the path early this year as many of us are concerned about our municipal finances.

Tuesday night at 7 at 23 Union Street, the Commission of the City Plan meets, and here is their agenda. You decide how important the issues within the public hearing are, and whether you should be part of the public. (And thanks to Ms. B and Mr. P for their efforts to keep the City's website up to date and in compliance with the changes in public law on meeting minutes and agenda posting. You can click here to see what the CCP did at their Special meeting on 25 September, and at their Regular meeting on the 16th, as two examples).

Wednesday has a meeting of the Housing Authority at 4:30 in the afternoon at their office at 10 Westwood Park. According to the City's web page, there's a meeting of the Board of Review of Dangerous Buildings at 5:30 in the afternoon at 23 Union Street except, according to their own page, the meeting is on a different day and, the minutes of their September meeting don't state when the October meeting is.

Thursday has a meeting at eight in the morning of the Norwich Community Development Corporation at their office at 75 Main Street. Their website, if you just clicked on the link, like Christmas, is coming soon, again. In light of the amount of public money NCDC receives it might be nice to provide a vehicle to allow residents and taxpayers an insight into what happens with that money. Bob Mills, the recently-hired director, seems very personable and affable but I don't expect he'd want to start dropping in on every household for a coffee and conversation.

The Historic District Commission meets at 5 p.m. in Room 319 of City Hall. Checking the website, their most recent meeting may have been in June. "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift--that's why we call it The Present."
-bill kenny

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