Monday, April 11, 2011

Your Mileage May Vary

I encountered a person in the grocery Sunday morning while I was grabbing a newspaper who let me know in no uncertain terms, 'you're not nearly as funny as you think.' I was confused as to what he actually meant-that I think funny or that I think I am funny. Both are true, to varying degrees. He didn't appreciate my wan attempt at humor; as a matter of fact I don't think he speaks any Spanish at all. For him, I'm another failed audition on the ant farm for Zen stand-up. I guess it's nice to start the week knowing what you're not, to include elsewhere.

With the return of Spring to New England, especially before the Norwich (CT) City Council passes the next municipal budget, you see an uptick in attendance at Council meetings, which is good (of course) except if you missed all the discussion and explanation on why x amount of dollars are going towards z number of projects, sometimes your comments and input are less helpful. We're all entitled to our own opinions, but we're NOT entitled to our own facts. Was that a disclaimer before looking at a preview of this week's meetings? Sniff, sniff. Sure smells like it. Just try not to step in it.

This afternoon at four in Room 319 of City Hall it's a regular and seemingly organizational meeting of the Community Development Advisory Committee who last met in January, according to their agenda, but none of whose minutes (and they've been around since 2002 it seems) are on the city's web site). Don't know about you but I'm thinking we have way too many folks with piece of the city's development that don't communicate especially with anyone beyond their own membership (and do NOT get me started on working well with others) and maybe we need to have City Council fold some of these operations into one another just to cut down on the traffic in City Hall meeting rooms.

At five in Room 210 of City Hall, it's a regular meeting of the Ethics Commission whose March meeting minutes (in draft form) are right here.

At seven thirty, is the first opportunity to offer comment and feedback on the City Manager's Proposed 2011-2012 budget. That's the full version (still think it's more than symbolic and a little disquieting to offer a downtown street as the cover with no one in the picture), showing all the work and math-the Cliff's Notes version is here but I think you're better served with the unabridged version to better appreciate how everything fits together.

Tuesday at five thirty, there are a pair of meetings, both involving education. The first, is a regular meeting of the Norwich Free Academy Board of Trustees in the Latham Science Center on the school's campus (not sure what the deal with the * is all about, but it breaks up the page). And here are the February and March meeting minutes to which the agenda is referencing.

Also at five thirty, it's a regular meeting of the Board of Education in the Kelly Middle School library. Perhaps the Board might consider providing both the meeting agenda and the minutes of previously held meetings to whomever is maintaining the Norwich Public School Blog as that is both current and accurate while the Board's website is a delightful combination of neither.

The departmental budget hearings resume tonight at six in Room 335 and include the Office of the City Clerk, Recreation Department and office of the City Manager, among others. Think of it as VH'1's Behind the Music without music, or VH-1.

At six thirty, across the corridor, in City Hall's Room 335 it's a public meeting by the Community Development Advisory Committee on the policies and procedures for public services agencies (the fire and police departments and the give a dweeb a pony ride for his birthday department), to apply for Community Development Block Grants (a dollar figure that gets smaller every year as the number of applicants grows). There's another session Thursday afternoon at 4:30 for community facilities (and organizations), also in Room 335.

And at seven, in the Planning Department's conference room at 23 Union Street it's the first meeting of the year (I assume) for the Zoning Board of Appeals (there are NO minutes of any previous meetings posted on the city's website for this year, so here's hoping their first one goes off smoothly).

Wednesday morning at a quarter of nine, it's a regular meeting of the Rehabilitation Review Committee in the Planning Department's conference room at 23 Union Street. It seems that Wednesday's meeting, judging from December's draft of minutes, will be their first meeting of the year as well.

The Baseball Stadium Authority meets at six in Room 210 of City Hall ("No Pepper Allowed"). Digging through the city's website, they, too, seem to have no meetings yet this season as nothing is posted on the city's website.

The Public Safety Committee meets, this month at the Laurel Hill Volunteer Fire Department, starting at seven. The March meeting was cancelled but the February draft meeting minutes are here.

I already mentioned the 4:30 Thursday afternoon meeting on the Community Development Block Grants so let me close with Friday morning's meeting of the Chelsea Gardens Foundation at nine in Room 319. Their membership and meeting minutes aren't listed on the city's website. so they have a bit of work to get done in order to comply with state statutes on Freedom of Information and sunshine laws. What better time to do that than in the spring-after all, what could be more important to a garden than sunshine?

There's a team Norwich meeting this Saturday, starting at nine, in the Central Fire House. The guest speaker is John Bilda from Norwich Public Utilities, an engine and critical component of Rose City Economic development. Rumor has it this week there's pudding (I started that rumor myself so I know it's accurate). Bring a runcible spoon as they can hold so much more. We'll let the Owl and the Pussycat worry about their own utensils after they're through dancing.
-bill kenny

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