Monday, August 17, 2009

We All Live in a Yellow Submarine (Moored in Chelsea Harbor)

This is Tax Free sales week in Connecticut which, for those with school-age children to outfit, can be some good news as for this week only (the ads always use bold and italics) there's no sales tax on clothing and footwear purchases of between fifty and three hundred dollars. Okay, as a colleague pointed out, that's not the same as getting everything for free, but a savings is still a savings and my thanks to State Representative Chris Coutu and his email for reminding me (and everyone else) about the savings.

The municipal meeting calendar in Norwich starts to pick up, not necessarily in honor of tax free clothing and shoes, but if that reason works for you who am I to argue? And I think you should wear them, if you bought some, to the meetings of your choice, just to show off. First up, this afternoon at five thirty in their third consecutive new meeting room in three weeks (and this one is a keeper), Room 319 in City Hall, it's the (take a deep breath and let it out slowly) Norwich Site Development Committee for the Former State Hospital. The municipal website doesn't have the meeting minutes from last Monday (I don't know why, but if I wanted to fit in around here, I'd imagine something awful and venal and share it. Then again, I'm not from here) but you can probably get them by dropping an enote to or, I suppose if I were half as sincere as I pretend to be, to me, and you'd get a copy.

Don't pay too much attention to what was in last week week's papers about what went on because those accounts, as far as I'm concerned, were very lazy and focused on low-hanging fruit instead of the large and long-term issues. There's a lot of moving parts on a purchase of this magnitude and a very large number of concerns that I, as an example, would have NEVER thought about if there weren't a room full of folks to examine every aspect. I'm looking forward to the report by the State Archaeologist (I confess; I didn't know Connecticut even had one) and I hope he's wearing those new rope sandals and docker jeans he got on sale.

The City Council meets at seven in Room 318. Among other topics on their agenda is a new business resolution to place a five million dollar bond for roads and bridge repairs on the November ballot. I'm a little curious and concerned about the last item on the agenda, an executive session on "land acquisition." I'm hearing rumblings that 'maybe' the City should purchase the now former YMCA building in downtown, put the recreation department in it and reopen the pool (and I guess fence off all the parts of the building that are broken, assuming there's enough fence in the whole world for that).

With all the elan, savvy and good fortune that government (at all levels) operates private sector businesses across our great nation, I would imagine in a matter of minutes milk and honey will flow through the streets of Down City as we roll in the clover of our triumph of enterprise. Or not. (SIDEBAR: Would someone please take a better and more proportional picture of Mr. Nystrom for the City Council web page so that he's more to the scale of everyone else's photo!)

Tuesday afternoon, at 5:30, in Room 6109 of The Latham Science Center on the school's campus is a regular meeting of the Norwich Free Academy Board of Trustees. Tuesday evening at six, in Room 210 of City Hall is a regular meeting of the Personnel and Pension Board all of whose members' appointments seem to have expired, but that's one of the topics on the meeting agenda, so that will get resolved in some form, I suspect. And the Commission on the City Plan meets at seven Tuesday evening in the basement conference room of 23 Union Street and for those neighbors of 337 Mohegan Park Road, you may wish to get there early for a seat as this item has been of some interest for some time (and may be coming to a conclusion tonight).

Also at seven, Tuesday night though I'm unclear on where it's meeting, is the Downtown Revitalization Zone (the hyperlink is my attempt at humor; it's neither the current meeting minutes nor the meeting agenda) and, correct me if I'm wrong, but one of the members resides (I'm told) in Paris, France, which makes NOT missing three consecutive meetings a bit problematic in terms of the city charter, I suspect.

There's some early Wednesday morning meetings worth noting. Looking at them chronologically (you decide which is the most important of the three and act accordingly) is the regular meeting of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments in their building on Connecticut Avenue up in the Norwich Business Park. Up next is the Rehabilitation Review Committee meeting at 8:45 in the second floor conference room at 23 Union Street though there's no agenda and the last meeting minutes are from June (and some attention to the members' terms might be a good idea as well). Then, beginning at nine at the Dime Bank Community Room (inside the bank at 290 Salem Turnpike) is a regular meeting of the School Readiness Council (Children First of Norwich), whom I'd assume, as the school year starts, are engaged in many worthwhile activities that parents and residents across the community would appreciate knowing more about, except.....absolutely no chance of that as the website remains as outdated as it has been for months. It's a comfort to know their intentions are good (without so much as a Prelude? Times are tough!).

Thursday, perhaps at five, is a regular meeting of the Norwich Historic District who, I guess, ran out of interest in posting either meeting agendas or minutes of past meetings back in May. There's been a lot of talk about tourism, especially as economic times have been difficult for months, and the attractions of those buildings we have here in Norwich, so it's a cinch that interest in historical preservation and tourism is only going to grow. So, too, I hope, will be the reporting, as required by public law, on the efforts of the Norwich Historic District volunteers.

Meanwhile, really and truly at five, but there's no agenda or minutes of previous meetings posted, it's a regular meeting of the Ice Rink Authority, all of whose members' appointments could do with a refresh and update.

And closing out the week's activities at six, at Olympic Pizza (on West Main Street), is a Tax and Economic Development Growth Forum sponsored by Bob Zarnetske, who is running for Mayor as the candidate of the Norwich for Change Party. There's a promise of great pizza and some good discussion on getting a handle on the property tax burden in The Rose City, so think of it as dinner and a movie without the movie.
"And our friends are all on board.
Many more of them live next door.
And the band begins to play."

Fair winds and following seas, as if we had a choice.
-bill kenny

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