2009 Stay Informed
STAY INFORMED, SIGN UP FOR THE
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IS THE “CHARACTER OF
The term “Character” is often used to describe what
residents most like about our community. There is also great concern that we do
not change the character of
That ability is under attack from every level of state government. From the Governor’s office, the state senate and the state house of representatives the call for regionalization is being shouted as a cure for the fiscal mess the state is in. Don’t get me wrong, regional efforts between towns can be a cost effective way to provide services that individual towns could not afford. Chester is currently involved in many regional efforts; Region 4 schools, regional household hazardous waste collection, a regionally sponsored pump out boat, we contract with Deep River for street sweeping and transfer station services, we share equipment like the “smart machine” (trailer that flashes a car’s speed as it goes by), we contract with Essex for dog pound services. All of these endeavors were undertaken because the towns involved saw a need, and worked together to create a cost effective solution.
State sponsored regionalism is a whole other matter.
For example the regional health district that was proposed would have cost
Under a far reaching proposal termed “Smart Growth” many in
state government are proposing among other things, regional land use, regional
taxation, and regional services like public works, police, and libraries.
Currently the message is that all of these proposals will be voluntary, with
the state providing “incentives” to regionalize services. However,
failing to get on board will result in the loss of state funding currently
provided to municipalities (voluntary with coercion). For
Every meeting I have attended at the capitol regarding the
budget mess and/or regionalization the statement has been made that local
government is the most accountable, efficient form of government. If regional (read county) government was more cost effective
I encourage you to become informed on this issue and let our legislators know where you stand.
As previously reported the Route 154 bridge
over Chester Creek is scheduled to remain closed until May of 2010. Additional
signs have been added on Water St. warning of pedestrians in the road, plans
for a sidewalk between the New Alliance Bank and the center of town are in the
works, the DOT has authorized additional speed enforcement along roadways
experiencing higher traffic volume as a result of the bridge closure, and
hopefully by the time Chester Events appears in your home the traffic light at
Rt. 154 and Water St. will be set on blinking mode. I have scheduled
quarterly meetings at which key DOT personnel involved with the Rt. 154 bridge, the
2009 is shaping up to be the most difficult budget year in recent memory. Please stay informed. For the first time the entire proposed budget, along with the changes that result from the various budget meetings is available on the town website. Please vote. The 2008 presidential election saw record voter turnout. Continue the process; vote your conscience on the local budgets.
2009 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS
The 2009 election cycle is upon us. Municipal offices are the focus of the ballots. As you may know, elections cycle between the top offices at the national, state and municipal level. For example, State offices were last elected in 2006, Municipal offices were last elected in 2007, Federal offices were elected in 2008, and Municipal offices are up again in 2009. Other offices like Congressional and Senatorial seats fall within their term cycles (congress in 2006, 2008, etc.; Senate in 2006, 2010 etc.)
One of the advantages of living in a small community with
local government is that there is always an opportunity to get involved and
make a difference. There are about 150 different elected or appointed
· Each municipal election sees many ballot slots left empty by both parties due to a lack of candidates.
· Many residents have indicated a willingness to serve, but not a willingness to run for office against their neighbor.
· Many are reluctant to go through the political process that is required to be placed on the ballot. State statute requires a candidate to be indorsed by a political party or to gather signatures in a petition to be placed on the ballot. About half of the registered voters in town are registered as unaffiliated. Many do so precisely because they do not want to be associated with a political party.
The proposed changes would allow residents willing to serve (on specific boards) to approach the political town committees, the Board of Selectmen, or the Board on which they would like to serve for an endorsement. I encourage every registered voter to consider becoming involved. We need you effort to make town government work. For a list of board and commissions as well as a description as to what they do, visit http://chesterct.org/boards.htm .
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