Monday, December 14, 2009

This Town's Done Its Share of Shoving (Norwich Meetings 14-18 December)

We're approaching the shortest day of the year next week, though as we start to accelerate the rate of travel in the circles we're running as Christmas shopping days dwindle down, you might think you're living through the shortest day of the year every day until the 25th.

Meanwhile, government back and small, marches on with the Connecticut legislature set to convene in special session tomorrow to take another crack at balancing the current year's budget which no one involved in believed was actually viable when it finally months late. Yeah, I, too, am amazed that somehow all the vaporware and magic arithmetic didn't work. I wonder whose pocket will get picked and--waitaminit, I can't find my wallet.....

Here in The Rose of New England the business of local government is in good hands as neighbors work to do what they can for all of us by helping out each of us starting
this afternoon at five in room 209 of City Hall with a regular meeting of the
Volunteer Firefighters' Relief Fund Committee (you can find the draft minutes of the September meeting on the municipal website).

Also at five (and NOT a word about it on the City's meeting schedule) is a regular meeting of the Ethics Review Commission in Room 335. If you are interested in becoming a member of this commission (where have I heard this before?), there's a link to the application on the same page of the website. Tip on Room 335-sit up front as the acoustics are horrendous and you can't hear a thing beyond the first row.

There's a budget forum sponsored by State Representative Chris Coutu (R-47) before he heads back to Hartford on Tuesday to try to keep his House and Senate colleagues from continuing their attempt to make jet fuel from peanut oil. It starts at seven and runs until nine in Room 335 of City Hall (and just me, is it not funny that a discussion on state finances would follow a meeting on municipal ethics? I love God's sense of humor.)

Tuesday in the Otis Library starting at five thirty and slated to run until 7:30, it's the Rose City Renaissance Holiday Celebration, Community Update and Awards Presentation (How'd you like to have put all of that
on the invitation?). Lots of well-deserved recognition for many talented people, working in and for a downtown district that has, for me, gamely struggled and must be admired for never giving up on itself.

You'll have to leave the party early if you're going to get to the Norwich Public Utilities offices on Golden Street by six for a regular meeting of the
Board of Public Utilities Commissioners (which appears to have a vacancy by the way. Perhaps you're interested in applying) with a bonus, so to speak, of a regular Sewer Authority meeting to immediately follow. The minutes of both of their regular November meetings are on the NPU website.

Commission on the City Plan has a regular meeting at seven in the basement conference room at 23 Union Street. I've not been able to locate the agenda as it's not on the city's website (doesn't need to, in accordance with the public law on meetings (I was told), but they're usually very good about posting it). As you probably know from the local papers, last week's special meeting on the Norwich Hospital Site purchase resulted in a negative recommendation to the City Council, meaning a 'super majority', five votes of seven, to acquire it will be necessary.

Downtown Neighborhood Revitalization Zone meets at seven at Artwork to Empower (no idea where that is) and SUPER job by the committee in assuring their meeting minutes are posted in a timely fashion. I never tire of reading the (draft of the) June minutes on the city's website, which is a good thing, as that's all that's posted there. I'm a little surprised the 337 Main Street slide show for the Rec Department hasn't ended up on the website as well.

The regular monthly meeting of the
Personnel and Pension Board has been cancelled and their piece of the municipal website could do with an update on members' terms expirations and November agenda and minutes.

Wednesday morning at eight thirty in their offices in the Norwich Business Park is a regular meeting of the
Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments who serve as a reminder that while at times each city and town may feel adrift in the ocean, it is the same ocean and together we are smarter and better than each of us alone.

Wednesday at nine in the Community Room of the Dime Savings Bank on Route 82 is a regular meeting of the
Norwich School Readiness Council (Children First), whose efforts, I'm sure, are laudable and deserving of all the support we can give but whose efforts at telling me what they do and how they do it in anything vaguely approximating a timely fashion are, at best, execrable. One of the sites, in explaining the political climate in Norwich, describes a precinct system that disappeared after Charter Revision in March of 2001.

Thursday's Historic District Commission meeting has been cancelled, but Thursday morning at 9:30 in their offices in the Norwich Business Park, just down the street from Dodd Stadium (whatever happened to the idea of a NY-Penn League team to take the place of the now-departed Defenders?), is a regular meeting of the
Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (I'm hoping that's not a real-time photo on the website), another example of cooperation across town lines that benefits everyone if we make the effort.

And Thursday at five, in the conference at
The Rink, is a regular meeting of the Ice Arena Authority, whose meeting minutes are nowhere to be found on the city's website and whose members' appointments expired years ago, but certainly not their sense of dedication to working as best they can to help make sure the rink is one of the coolest places in Norwich. So, no matter how many awful puns are made at its expense, this is my town.
-bill kenny


Rabbi Arian said...

Technically the Ethics Commission meeting is a special meeting because the Commission was not constituted at the time the meeting calendar for the city was set. As of January there will be a Regular Meeting at 5 pm on the second Monday of each month. But this is technically a special meeting.

dweeb said...

You're absolutely right, Rabbi, and I should have remembered that discussion from the first meeting!

The first thing that goes in old age is memory. What were we talking about?

FWIW, the city's website, under boards and commissions (NOT under this week's meetings), lists this as a regular meeting (though as you noted, technically, it cannot be called that).

The meeting agenda itself cleverly makes no reference to regular or special at all.

Good luck and thank you and your (and my) neighbors for volunteering to help in this important area.

Ira Misenheimer said...

I see Rabbi Arian has already written to you about this afternoons Ethics meeting, so I won't repeat that. However to comment on yesterday's entry. I was posted to Griffiss AFB whilst awaiting the airfield at Ft. Drum to be completed, which is even further up into the North Country. Yes, it does snow there alot (a great understatement), that is why I am now in the State of Connecticut. I can tell stories about the snow up there.

dweeb said...

It was for the job as their Public Affairs Spokesman at Grifffis that that I was interviewing via transatlantic phone line.

Such a small world!