Sunday, September 30, 2007

Legal troubles for Town?

In Thursday's post about the town website, I reminded readers of one of the straw men that had been put forth as a reason to not post Council meeting minutes on the town website: "legal concerns." (Recall that Craig Houghton at Cheshire Town Post took his own time to upload numerous town meeting minutes to the web... in an attempt at greater transparency.)

My question to you: Is it fair to describe "legal concerns" as a straw man? Well, consider... in Thursday's post, I clearly showed that the most recent meeting minutes are, in fact, posted to the town website. And for afficionados, you know that the most recent Council meeting minutes are always posted to the town website... in that same location on the Council webpage... while the weblink to the prior meeting minutes gets deleted.

As for why the weblink is deleted, I could only speculate. But as I was recently doing some random googling, I came across something of interest to me... apparently only the weblinks and not the webpages are deleted.

So here are a few of the meeting minutes that I found located on the town website (as of 10pm tonight):

June 14, 2005
December 12, 2006
March 13, 2007
May 8, 2007
June 14, 2007
August 30, 2007
Adopted 2007-2008 operating budget

And since there are some who say that "legal issues" may arise if these old minutes are on the town website, then...

Is the town in hotwater for the existence of these webpages?
Yes, I'm aghast!
No, that's absurd.
Who's in charge? free polls

Finally, to Tim Slocum's point (on Thursday's post) about John Knott being listed as the Town Attorney on the town website... from my perspective, it is something that should've been updated by now. And we all know the website has been fraught with errors. But it's really not a big concern for me... my concern is why meeting minutes get posted, then have their link deleted... without even having the webpage deleted. It just makes no sense to me. And it really does reduce transparency.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Roger Clemens' return

This commercial is hilarious... btw, fun weekend in the National League, huh?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Town meetings on the tubes

The town is making some progress in exploring the possibility of putting town meetings on the website. (In fact, check out this Sunday's WRA... Jodie Mozdzer should be running a story on the use of internet video for (area) town meetings. Cheshire may get mentioned!)It's interesting to see the point at the bottom of the memo though... the point about the Town Clerk "owning" the minutes to meetings... and with two Council members having told me that there were "legal issues" with putting meeting minutes on the website... I'm still scratching my head. After all, if that's the case, then what is this? And who "owns" it?

Bottom line though on this memo... it is good to see we're making progress on the use of internet video. I'm convinced that over time, people would learn of it, use it and appreciate it.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

ESCO solutions

For those of you who are wondering about some typical offerings of an ESCO through the use of a performance contract, here are some examples:If you read what I highlighted in blue, you'll see this particular ESCO offers "solutions" for both pools and sewer systems.

Anyone happen to know any towns around here that might be able to use some help with their pool or sewer system?

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission liaison

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Open forum 9/26

The Sox and Yanks have both clinched playoff berths... not yet sure though who will play where (Anaheim, Cleveland). The Sox' magic number is two.

The state Senate committee investigating Lou DeLuca should be wrapping it up soon (they have only 45 days)... and the Courant is calling on the Senate to give him the boot. I agree.

Ron Paul is running for President.

Reps. Fritz and Nardello are finally proposing legislation that seems to be a start at getting serious about home invasions. I haven't read the legislation, but at least they seem to be moving in the right direction (NHR, by Luther Turmelle)... and away from last week's vote against a special session to discuss measures getting tough on crime.

The Republican Town Committee meets tomorrow night. If you're interested in getting involved in the local campaign, stop by Town Hall at 7:30pm on Thursday. As for the DTC, I think they meet at the Senior Center, but I'm not sure what day.

Tim White

CTs new voting machines

Tonight's Council meeting included a presentation from the Registrars of Voters. During the presentation, they mentioned a video. I'm pretty sure this is the video. And if you haven't seen this video, please consider watching it and forwarding it to friends and family who live in CT. This will be important information to know in another six weeks! Btw, I know I've posted this video before, but I'll probably be posting it several times between now and Election Day.

Tim White

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Kleist for Council

Cindy Kleist is running for Town Council as a "write-in" candidate. Anyone know if she's running "at large" or in the 3rd district?

Tim White

Turf email

For anyone who was surprised by all the "turf comments" on the prior post, my understanding is that there were several emails circulating today that discussed my "opposition" to the turf. Frankly, I'm not sure where that came from because if you read TWL or if you read the Cheshire Football website, there's no mention of my "opposition" to the turf. If anyone happens to know where that originated, I'd be curious to know. Regardless, people are clearly interested in my thoughts on the turf... so here are some random thoughts, including some questions/comments on costs and benefits:

1) I got to the fundraiser late and didn't get to share your thoughts with the Governor. But I did speak with Rep. Al Adinolfi who told me the turf is not in tomorrow's school construction bonding package. However, he said that the turf is still a possibility... with Rep. Mary Fritz' assistance... I don't know anything about the timing of that possibility.

2) If the turf cost less than $850,000, would the Council have anything to do with the turf? Or would this be exclusively handled by the BOE?

3) Are the recent health concerns legitimate, bogus or simply inconclusive?

4) If the town got the $850,000, would that cover the initial cost (ignoring 10yr replacement costs)? What are the lifecycle costs of turf and grass? (I'm an accountant. I like to see numbers written on paper.)

Finally, as I've said to several turf supporters... my feeling is that the best way to build support for something (including the turf) is to gain community support... and the Council will generally follow. To do that with the turf, I'd suggest highlighting what Mike Ciborowski mentioned in another post... the most important benefit... increased use. I understand the use of the field would increase from 30 days/yr to 200 days/yr. I think if more people knew that, there would be greater community support for the turf.

So how do I suggest building community support? Send a letter to the Herald. And have several people send them... highlighting the benefits of the turf, while acknowledging that there would be costs... such as a replacement cost. Be as upfront and candid as you can be. If people read your letter and feel it's being disingenuous, you risk losing credibility and hurting your cause.

Anyway, from my perspective, the best (if not easiest) way to achieve anything in Cheshire is to build widespread support for your cause.

Tim White


On the RFQ for a consultant (by Leslie Hutchison)...

One firm has been chosen from eight engineering companies to provide an independent peer review of the proposed 110-acre shopping center by W/S Development in the town's north end.... The Town Council will be asked Tuesday night to approve the hiring of the firm and review the cost requirements for the work.... "The critics of the project won't be convinced by the consultants hired by the developer," Milone said.

On last night's proposal (by Leslie Hutchison)...

The presentation also included more specifics about the type of retail stores that would be included in the project. They include an outdoor recreation store, a large-scale bookstore and a variety of restaurants. "There will be no fast-food operators," Massiello said.The residential portion of the development, planned for the western half of the 110-acre site, could contain garden-style apartments or two-level town homes, Massiello said.An area near the pedestrian bridge over the Ten Mile River would have a terraced, bowl-shaped site with a fieldstone embankment to serve as a stage for community productions, Massiello said.

Tim White

Monday, September 24, 2007

GOP fundraiser

If you're free on Tuesday between 5-7pm, please stop by the Bartoli household (754 Devonwood Drive). The suggested donation is $75, but if that's too high (or too low!) you shouldn't be too concerned... please still consider stopping by to speak with Gov. Rell.

Stop it or stack it

Thanks to Cindy over at the Underground Town Hall, I found the current proposed site plan for the ND online: I also learned late today that there was another PZC hearing on the ND tonight... I would've mentioned it, but I didn't know about it.

Anyway, I wanted to speak tonight, but didn't stay until the end of the meeting. Nonetheless, I was fortunate to bump into W/S' Lou Massiello just prior to the meeting (I was there early for the Energy Commission) and had a chance to share my thoughts with him.

My main concern is fairly simple... "stop it or stack it." I said that if the residential happens, it should go above the retail. And that I just don't see the need to develop west of the river.

My feeling is the same as it was back in January... while I don't see any need for the residential (nor do most people with whom I've spoken... most people seem to scratch their head... as if to say "why have residential?" or simply oppose the residential), if it happens, I think the residential (and now the hotel) should be above the retail... and everything west of the river should be moved east of the river... leaving everything west of the river intact... there's no need for any development there... although I think fixing the culvert and providing access to cross the river makes sense... I think walking trails could be really nice.

And all I've been hearing about this from the outset was that "we" (the town) write the rules however we want... so why not be environmentally-friendly and protect half the land for the current residents? (Although in fairness to W/S, while their goal is to make money... they do seem to be receptive to hearing environmental concerns. Regardless though... that's really the responsibility of PZC now.)

Tim White

GOP fundraiser

Marilyn and Joe Bartoli are holding a GOP fundraiser at their house (754 Devonwood Drive) on Tuesday from 5-7pm. Gov. Rell is expected to attend. I hope you consider attending.

For more info, call the Bartolis at 271-2497 or Steve Carroll at 272-9503.

Also, keep in mind that the Governor has called for a special session for this Wednesday... a special session on school construction bonding... and I believe the turf is included there. So you'd have an opportunity to speak directly with the Governor about the $850,000 for the turf and what it means to you.

Tim White

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Violent crime: no special session

Republicans and Democrats clashed over whether the legislature should declare itself to be in a special session on crime, largely a symbolic distinction since no legislation is ready for action.

Senate Democrats defeated the call for the special session with a 21-13 vote. Despite the Senate rejection, House Republicans later forced a symbolic vote, getting Democrats on record in an 85-44 vote against a special session...

Leaders of the Democratic majority said the legislature will act on criminal reforms as soon as the judiciary committee and task force produce legislation.
(Courant, by Mark Pazniokas)

I understand that there's no draft legislation yet. But I still felt that Cheshire's own Reps. Fritz and Nardello should have voted with Rep. Adinolfi... in favor of a special session. While not all the necessary, meaningful legislation may have been passed... some may have passed... and Judiciary Chair Rep. Mike Lawlor (East Haven) could have taken it as a wake up call to get serious about violent crime.

I hope this doesn't turn into another "energy plan" where we endure years of inaction.

Finally, thanks go to Al Adinolfi for pushing for action.

Tim White

Wolcott rejects projects

More than 1,500 voters went to the polls Saturday to vote on the $3.8 million communication center. The project was rejected by 23 votes, 787-810...

Meanwhile, Mayor Thomas G. Dunn's proposal to bond $3.2 million for a major road paving project was soundly defeated, 1,077 to 508. (WRA)

Earlier this year, while some CT referenda have passed, soccer fields were rejected in Middletown and a turf field was rejected in Seymour. Across the state, spending is a real concern for the voters.

Tim White

Bonding battle

State troopers have begun delivering notices to lawmakers that require them to appear for a special legislative session on Wednesday, the state Senate's Democratic leader said Saturday.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell called the session to deal solely with school bonding projects, after saying Friday that she will veto the $3.2 billion overall state bonding bill approved by the General Assembly Thursday night...

"Gov. Rell is trying to avoid responsibility for a possible veto of the bond bill - a veto that will hurt towns and cities, clean water projects, transportation improvements, and school projects for K-through-12, as well as our public colleges and universities," Williams said.

With $36billion in unfunded long term liabilities and... I think... another $14billion in bonded projects... I'd offer that Gov. Rell is simply trying to be responsible.

Tim White

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Turtle homes

I really do have a soft spot in my heart for the turtles, so I decided to do a little bit of research on them. Here's a desciption of the range/habitat/home of a wood turtle:

One of the most terrestrial in its family, the wood turtle is nevertheless rarely very far (within 300m) from moving water (Litzgus & Brooks, 1996; Kaufmann 1992). Clear streams, creeks or rivers with sand or gravel bottoms are the ideal water sources for wood turtles. Wood turtles seem to prefer riparian habitat, although they do live in a wide variety of habitats including forests and agricultural areas. A number of studies have shown that wood turtles select habitats rather then use them randomly (Brewster, 1991; Kaufmann, 1992; Foscarini & Brooks, 1993; Ernst et al., 1994). The turtle's type of habitat varies geographically and seasonally. Generally, they are in aquatic habitats during post and pre-hibernation periods and in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats in the summer. Kaufmann (1992) has demonstrated that wood turtles have a persistent fidelity to their home ranges, which overlap with other individuals. (McGill University)

And here is some info on box turtle habitat:

The box turtle's habitat varies, but it favors open woodlands, meadows, and wetland areas with good cover. Most box turtles develop a permanent home range, which expands as the juveniles mature into adulthood. Ranges can vary from five to twelve acres, and will expand and contract over a period of years. Some transient males never form permanent ranges but travel among isolated populations and mate with females whose ranges are permanent. (

I'm hoping that in determining the future use of the ND land, we can find a middle ground between the property owners and the "squatters."

Tim White

Council agenda 9/25

Here's most of the agenda for Tuesday's meeting:I looked briefly through the support for "6" above. I didn't notice anything about the ability of the town to refuse pension payments to town employees convicted of crimes... I'm not sure when we'll address that, but I did mention it during a Council meeting a few months ago. I hope we take action on that soon... I'm tired of seeing these headlines where criminals (convicted of stuff like embezzling from a town) continue to receive their government pensions.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

BOE budget process

I don't have the article handy, but the NHR (by Luther Turmelle) ran an interesting article on Thursday's BOE meeting. From what I recall, Peter Massey began asking for a more "collaborative process" during the creation of the Superintendent's budget proposal. Alan Sobol seemed to have taken issue with Peter's request. Alan was concerned about the public being excluded from the budget process.

I wish I had the article. But if you're interested on how the BOE race is taking shape... you may want to stop by the library and check out Friday's paper.

Tim White

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Open forum 9/20

Lawmakers were back at the state Capitol today to vote on a two-year bonding package (WRA). Anyone know what happened with this? I'm pretty sure the turf was included in it. And did Blumenthal call for a ban on new turf installations? I know somebody recently raised health concerns about artificial turf.

Republicans have failed in their attempt to broaden the agenda for a special legislative session to bring up bills related to the July killings of a Cheshire family. The Democrat-controlled Senate defeated the proposal on a 21-13 party-line vote, according to an Associated Press report (WRA)... and on a related topic, two of the people leading the charge for the 3 Strikes law (Marilyn & Joe Bartoli) will be hosting a GOP fundraiser next Tuesday from 5-7pm at the house (754 Devonwood Drive).

Here is the Herald's take on the Inland Wetlands meeting (by Josh Morgan).

Down to a 1.5 game lead... the Sox' collapse continues.

Tim White

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Petit memorial service

I guess if there's anything to be gained from the senseless deaths of my beautiful family, it's for us to all go forward with the inclination to live with faith and help a neighbor, fight for a cause, love your family. I'm really expecting all of you to go out and do some of these things with your family in your own little way to spread the work of these three wonderful women.

- Dr. William Petit

The service was really nice.

Thanks to the Town Hall staff, including the CPD, who organized it.

But most important, please say a prayer for the family.

Inland Wetlands 9/18

The NHR ran an article today on last night's meeting:

An attorney for mall operator Westfield Properties said plans by a Newton, Mass., developer before the town's Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission Tuesday for a sprawling retail and residential complex near Interstate 691 "are tremendously premature" and urged that they be withdrawn....

Anthony Fazzone, attorney for W/S Development, downplayed (the attorney's) concerns. "We do not believe this application is premature," Fazzone said.

The hearing will continue in two weeks, said Robert DeJongh, chairman of the commission. The commission has until Nov. 7 to decide whether to grant W/S Development the permit.
(by Luther Turmelle)
The environmental concerns here are real. So in an effort to address those concerns, I hope W/S considers the theory espoused by Cheshire's own Dan Esty in his book Green to Gold. (I just bought it btw. So haven't read it yet, but...) Here's an excerpt from the Amazon review:
Following the evolution of business attitudes toward environmental concerns, Esty and Winston offer a series of fascinating plays by corporations such as WalMart, GE and Chiquita (Banana), the bad guys who made good, and the good guys-watchdogs and industry associations, mostly-working behind the scenes. A vast number of topics huddle beneath the umbrella of threats to the earth, and many get a thorough analysis here: from global warming to electronic waste "take-back" legislation to subsidizing sustainable seafood. For the responsible business leader, this volume provides plenty of (organic) food for thought. (Reed Business Information)
If this project does move forward, I'm a believer that being environmentally friendly (including to the turtles) could really help with the bottom line. Heck... look no further than Whole Foods... they certainly seem to profit from an environmentally-friendly image.

Tim White

Open forum 9/19

The Sox stink.

There's a GOP fundraiser next Tuesday (Sept 25) from 5-7pm at the Bartoli household at 754 Devonwood Drive... Gov. Rell is expected to attend.

And did anyone get to the Inland Wetland meeting tonight? I do have a soft place in my heart for the turtles... here's a photo of an eleven-yr-old-you-know-who with two hatchlings (a red eared slider and a painted turtle) and a boxer... maybe two or three years old...Tim White

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The pool consultant

I'm playing around with video today, but thought you may be interested in this... as for the different clips... I'm just testing to see which video service I prefer from an administrative perspective (I decided to ixnay dailymotion... I had tried to use them before and had forgotten it's too difficult to deal with... the instructions even came up in French!)... but I'm also curious if you have any preferences from a user's perspective... as for why I don't have the complete video of the pool consultant vote... I just didn't have the whole thing (myself included) on video... so this is what I uploaded.

Part I - 5:00 minutes

Part II - 5:00 minutes

Part III - 5:00 minutes

Part IV - 0:30 seconds

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rainy day fund mtg

I forgot to mention that there was a meeting tonight on the (pick a name):

1) fund balance
2) rainy day fund
3) general fund equity

The following draft document was discussed:

I asked a few questions (including how much it costs to buy insurance that increases a bond rating from A to AA or from AA to AAA, etc... the answer was that the cost is pretty low from AA to AAA, but is much higher from A to AA... I'm expecting more info on this), but for the most part I'm fine with this... except for one key part... the 8%. I asked again tonight for a cost/benefit analysis and was told to review some documents from the June 25 budget committee meeting (which I did not attend because the point of that meeting was to hear from the town's financial consultant... which is also my employer... and I felt that would be inappropriate, so I skipped the meeting.).

Anyway, I've seen those documents and will review them again, but... without any new information, I don't see myself being comfortable with the fund balance changing from 5% (said to be good in 2004 & 2005) to 8% (said to be good in 2007) in the short time that I've been on the Council.

In other words... in two years, we have an additional $2,000,000 in taxes being held in reserve... and we have an additional $80,000-90,000 being collected annually to maintain the reserve. But I still don't see the taxpayers seeing the benefit for that cost... at least not in relation to how the 5% was good in 2004/2005, but is no longer good enough in 2007.... regardless, there was no vote tonight. So we'll have to see how this progresses because I'm just not yet sold on the need to change this from 5% to 8%... maybe 10% would make more sense?

And in case you missed it last time, here's some very basic numbers showing an estimated cost of the rainy day fund changing from 5% to 8%:

I still want to see the benefit for those costs... so I'll review the June 25 documents and see if I can improve my comfort level. And on a final (somewhat related) note, the unaudited current net projected fund balance as of June 30, 2007 is $8,151,528.

Tim White
Town Council, Budget Committee

Schrumm on engineering RFQ

The NHR (by Luther Turmelle) is reporting:

Republican Town Councilman David Schrumm said he supports the hiring of a consultant.

"We ... need one to counter what W/S Development is going to be telling us," said Schrumm, who is an opponent of the project. "And there's no question they ought to pay for it. They're the ones who want something from the town, not the other way around."

Schrumm said the town needs to choose a consultant that will challenge the data that the experts hired by the shopping center developer will provide.

"They're going to try to show the least possible impact on municipal services," he said. "We have to make sure the consultant we hire will truly protect the town's interests."

I certainly hope the likely impact study gives more than just "least possible impact" scenarios. I'd find an impact study much more believable if it includes ranges of likely scenarios... from best to worst case.

Tim White

Internal matter

Here's an NHR article I came across while surfing the web (by Ann Dematteo). Having initially heard about this from a constituent (not from Town Hall), I asked staff when this had been mentioned to the Council. The answer to which was (paraphrasing) "This was never mentioned to the Council because it is an internal matter."

Internal matter? I guess the Herald, Record-Journal, Register and Republican-American are all now privy to Town Hall's "internal matters."

Tim White

CHIP and GOP fundraisers

The Connecticut Child Identification Program will be having a golf tournament fundraiser:

Wallingford Country Club
Monday, September 17, 10:00AM
donation: $175/person

And the Cheshire GOP will be holding a fundraiser (on private property! lol):

Joe and Marilyn Bartoli
754 Devonwood Drive
Tuesday September 25, 5-7pm
suggested donation: ?? (sorry, don't recall offhand)
(I understand Governor Rell will be attending)

Tim White

Sunday, September 16, 2007

4.5 games

Great game tonight, huh? Sure, the Sox lost. But with a four and a half game lead... I'm not too too upset. And it was a fun game... even though the Yankees won.

Tim White


Have you ever wanted to "change the world?"

Have you ever heard of a "microloan?"

Have you ever heard of "Kiva?"

Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you've sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.

I haven't done it yet, but I love the concept.

Tim White

Westfield & Packard concerns

Westfield is officially getting involved in Cheshire:

Subsidiaries of the multi-national Westfield Group, owners of the Westfield Meriden mall, filed a notice of intervention over a proposed 639,000 square foot retail and residential development that would be built in Cheshire's north end. (MRJ, by Leslie Hutchison)

And Packard is having some trouble finding tenants in east Waterbury:

A Massachusetts company with city approvals for a large shopping center off East Main Street by the Cheshire line is having some difficulty finding tenants for the planned 16 store sites, three restaurants and one bank. The issue could slow Packard Development Corp.'s construction, which was originally anticipated to begin this summer. Now, company representatives say they cannot make the full $40 million investment until enough tenants are found. (WRA)

Tim White

Friday, September 14, 2007

Open space and open government champion

The Ten Mile Lowlands open space property contains one of the largest stands of mountain laurel shrubs in town as well as wooded swamps and vernal pools.

The 146-acre parcel is north of Jarvis Street and borders the Ten Mile River on the west. The sensitive nature of the habitat has prompted the Environmental Commission to suggest a management plan that calls for restricted use for the property....

"It should not be open to the public," said Suzanne Simone, environmental planner. "Only guided tours" should be allowed, she added. Town Council member Diane Visconti disagrees... "I don't want to stop people" from hiking there....
(MRJ, by Leslie Hutchison).

I agree with Diane on this one. People should be allowed to use the open space that has been purchased with tax dollars.

And speaking of Diane, I just wanted to say that I've enjoyed serving with her. While we have disagreed on policy issues, Diane and I always seemed to agree on the big issues, such as transparency and open government... Unlike others, she was never shy about having a discussion on any topic. And I really appreciate that.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nardello on Cheshire residents

(AP) - The inability of state agencies to share information between different computer systems emerged as a key issue Tuesday as state lawmakers held a hearing on proposed reforms in the wake of a triple killing in Cheshire...

State Rep. Vickie Nardello, D-Prospect, said residents of Cheshire want state officials to take action. "They want a reasonable assurance that we can prevent what happened to the Petit family from ever happening again."

I agree. I'd also offer that most people in Cheshire agree with Reps. Al Adinolfi and Mary Fritz in believing that capital punishment is appropriate in some (limited and) particularly heinous crimes. I hope CT doesn't have to have another one of these votes in the 2008 session... a vote to protect the life of serial killer Michael Ross.

And of course I hope we'll get a 3 Strikes law with real teeth.

Tim White

Engineering RFQ for ND

At Tuesday's Council meeting, there was some discussion about this:No word yet on who would pay for this - town or W/S.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

CPD safety ideas

The Cheshire Police Department is offering some ideas on home safety:And Police Lieutenant Jay Markella is leading the CPDs Neighborhood Block Watch program:For more info on the Neighborhood Block Watch, contact Lt. Markella at 271-5552 or jmarkellatcheshirectdotorg.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Some budget info

Here's a breakdown of the $848,300 tax refund I mentioned earlier (click on images to enlarge): And as usual, Rep. Mary Fritz is staying on top of this... with the state government's explanation of the tax refund here:Related to the budget, but separate from the tax refund, here's a breakdown of the town's $2,059,491 budget surplus for '06/'07: And last, but not least, here's a copy of David Schrumm's resolution for a proposed "Taxpayer's Relief Fund":
Tim White
Town Council, Budget Committee

Using CTs New Voting Machines

This is a 90 second tutorial on using the new optical scan voting machines.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tax return 2007

The town is getting $800,000 more of your tax dollars than was anticipated ($800k more than had been budgeted).

What should happen with the money?
property tax relief
spend it
rainy day fund
other free polls
Tim White
Town Council, Budget Committee

3 Strikes on Dateline NBC

Joe and Marilyn Bartoli will be on Dateline NBC tonight at 10pm. The topic is CTs 3 Strikes law.

I also caught Cheshire's two state Senators (Sam Caligiuri & Tom Gaffey) on one of the CT Sunday morning talk shows yesterday. They were discussing changes in CTs parole system... and based on what I heard them say, they sounded very similar... talking about both administrative and statutory changes. Hopefully the two major parties can come together and make changes sooner, rather than later.

Tim White

Bell at St. Peter's

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church has received a nearly $50,000 grant from the state Commission on Culture and Tourism to help restore its bell tower. The $49,900 grant from the Historic Preservation and Museum Division of the commission will help pay for the $90,000 second phase of the restoration project, waterproofing the tower’s exterior masonry and installing a mechanism to make it ring, said Tom Peters, senior warden of the church....

The bell has hung in the tower for 125 years, donated by a group of parishioners in 1881. The church has been in its location at 59 Main St. since the mid-1700s. St. Peter’s is not the only house of worship in town with a bell: St. Bridget’s Roman Catholic Church and the First Congregational Church have working bells.

NHR, by Luther Turmelle

NHR on Sorghum Mill

A neighbor waters potted plants along the driveway as she and the rest of the neighborhood wait to see what becomes of what has now become an internationally known crime scene.The neighborhood is united in its grief over the death of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, who lived at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive, as well as its concern for the only surviving member of the family, Dr. William Petit Jr., who is recuperating in his father's home in Plainville.

But when it comes to what will become of the property in the months and years to come - whether the home will be rebuilt, demolished and a new dwelling put in its place, or be turned into a memorial park as some residents have suggested - neighborhood unity vanishes.

NHR, by Luther Turmelle

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Oprah endorsed Obama

I'm guessing this may make the Democratic Presidential primary more interesting.

Tim White

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Robert Newman's History of Oil

When I was recently knocking on doors, a resident recommended a video to me: Robert Newman's History of Oil. Both funny and fascinating, I now want to recommend it to you.

The basic idea is this... Robert Newman is a British comedian. In this video, he gives his view on 20th century geopolitics with a focus on oil.

I can't attest to the veracity of his claims, but I did check a few things against Wikipedia and he definitely has a basis for his story. I think most interesting to me was his claim that World War I began not as a result of the assasination of Archduke Ferdinand. Rather the genesis of WWI was control of the (Berlin to) Baghdad Railway.

The video is 45 minutes long, but if you find the time... I'm pretty sure you'll not only find it interesting, you'll also get a few laughs out of it.

Tim White

Friday, September 07, 2007

Fall festival

Don't forget the Chamber of Commerce's fall festival tomorrow. I'm not sure who all the vendors are, but the Energy & Environment Commissions will be there. And the Energy Commission will be giving away $500 worth of compact flourescent light bulbs (CFLs - the energy efficient ones) to people who sign up for clean energy. (Funding comes from a $5,000 grant used to promote clean energy.)

Thanks to Sheldon Dill, Joan Nardello, Donna Dubuck and all the Chamber volunteers for making this event happen.

And of course... fireworks in the evening!

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission liaison

Council agenda

There's not a lot of new business on the agenda for next week... only two items.

1) discussion and action re: bid waiver for the installation of water mains and hydrants on Radmere Road.

2) discussion and action re: Cheshire (schools) Administrative Personnel contract, possible executive session.

The meeting will probably be one of the shorter meetings of the year. And if you want to see it, you will need to attend. According to Channel 14, this meeting is not scheduled to be televised.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Waterbury Police Chief gives his version

The Waterbury Police Chief is talking giving his version of the events surrounding state Senator Lou DeLuca's misdemeanor guilty plea:

"After speaking with Senator DeLuca in the spring of 2005, I saw him at least 20 times over the course of the next two years," O'Leary wrote in a three-page letter. "During that time, Senator DeLuca never raised the issue of Casey Reilly Colella and her relationship with her family, and I did not feel it would be appropriate to bring the issue up because Senator DeLuca had been so distraught in discussing the matter on prior occasions." (Courant, by Christopher Keating)
Tim White

Proposed prison beds in CT

The MRJ and NHR are both reporting on new prison cells in Cheshire. The MRJ also mentions speculation that Meriden could get a prison. The NHR provides details on bed numbers across the state:

The prisons listed in the memo from Lena Ferguson, a legislative liaison with the corrections department, to Chris Reinhart of the state Office of Legislative Research are: the Cheshire Correctional Institution’s North Block, which could accommodate 504 beds; the J.B. Gates Correctional Institution in the Niantic section of East Lyme, which could accommodate 26 additional beds; and the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution in Enfield, which could accommodate 228 more beds.

Of the three prisons named in the memo, only the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution has improvements currently under way. Work to refurbish two sections of the prison started in June, with one 114-bed section scheduled to be occupied by Sept. 15 and the second section scheduled to opened by late October or early November.

The Cheshire prison North Block was closed in the early 1990s amid security concerns after several inmates escaped that section of the facility, which was originally built as a boys reformatory in 1910. Corrections officials closed the North Block after it was determined it would be too costly to update it. (by Luther Turmelle)

Tim White

Performance contracting

For a while now, I've been concerned about the town considering all options for financing town projects. At the 8/30 Council meeting, I mentioned one alternative form of financing that the town may be able to use: performance contracting.

But what is performance contracting? Here's a relatively basic (if unlikely) example:

Say your house has no front door and your heating bill is $100/mo. Then Mr. Smith comes to you and offers to give you a door at no charge and install it at no charge. And Mr. Smith guarantees that your heating bill will drop to $30/mo. In turn, Mr. Smith would sign a one year contract with you that pays him $50/mo for one year. That leaves you saving money and energy from day one... and with a door after one year.

That's the basic concept that I want the town to consider.

Tim White
Town Council, Budget Committee

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Mike Huckabee vs. Ron Paul

Here's their exchange from last night.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tim White, CPA

Yes! I got it! It officially happened today... the CT State Board of Accountancy met and approved my application... until today I wasn't absolutely sure that I had completed all the requirements, but now I know... I'm a CPA. And it's been a while in the making. I graduated college (Bryant in Rhode Island) with my degree in accounting at age 21. I'm now 34. Regardless, I got it!

As a result of the good news, I completely forgot about tonight's debate. Did anyone catch it? I heard there was a lively exchange between Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee, but I didn't see it.

Tim White, CPA

Inland Wetlands 9/4

Last night's Inland Wetlands meeting got a writeup in today's NHR (by Luther Turmelle). It's not online, but did mention the proposal includes a 100ft setback from all waterways... does anyone happen to know more about this setback rule though? I could've sworn that this has been a point of contention within the IWWC for several years.

Cindy Kleist was also talking about this meeting over at Underground Town Hall:

Architects Milone and Macbroom said that the proposed plan will only disturb one tenth of an acre of wetlands and part of that would be the footings for the bridge that would be put into the water. This wooden bridge would be for pedestrians and cars with a railing that would separate the pedestrians from the cars–God I hope so! The bridge according to reports, would be going into previously disturbed agricultural dump property.

Apparently there was a slide show-the whole works and it went on for nearly two hours. Representatives from Westfield were also in attendance and will be returning Sept. 18th at the next scheduled meeting of IWC to give their side.

Finally, Cindy mentioned that a member of the IWWC has recused himself. Anyone know if Inland Wetlands has alternates? I'm pretty sure there's no such thing.

Tim White

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Open forum 9/4

Here's a peak at the GAOs Iraq report card (click on image to enlarge): I got an offer for raffle tickets... the CHS band is selling 800 tickets for $100 each. The prize? A 2008 beemer Z4. Very nice. If you're interested, email gstmartin3atcoxdotnet. (Btw, if you're curious about why I "wrote out" the email address, it's because there are programs that scan the web for email addresses... so it helps to cut down on junk mail.)

There's a GOP Presidential debate coming up tomorrow night. I understand Fred Thompson will be getting into the race the following day, but will be kicking off his campaign with a commercial being aired during tomorrow's debate. I'm still curious to see if Newt jumps in the race. Besides Newt, my feeling is that Huckabee is the best speaker/presenter... and that means something to me as a voter. That's also one of the things that I like about Barack.

Sen. Larry Craig is reconsidering if he will resign (Courant).

Anybody know what happened at the Inland Wetlands meeting tonight?

If you're a golf enthusiast, then you may be interested in the 4th annual (2007) Two Ball Cane Golf Classic. The event is to be held on Monday, September 17 at the Wallingford Country Club. Proceeds benefit the Connecticut Child Identification Program (CHIP). The event starts at 10:00 AM with a Shotgun start at Noon. It will be Scramble format. Entry: $175 per golfer / $700 per foursome. Entry Fee includes greens fees, cart, lunch, on-course beverages, dinner, and open bar. Register online at

Last, but not least, word is that Diane Visconti has dropped out of the race for personal reasons and no one will replace her on the ballot.

Tim White

Monday, September 03, 2007

Open forum 9/3

Not a lot of Cheshire-related stuff in the news this weekend. There are some meetings coming up though that may be of interest...

1) Tuesday, Sept 4 @ 7:30pm - Inland Wetlands
2) Tuesday, Sept 11 @ 7:30pm - Council
3) Monday, Sept 10 @ 7:30pm - PZC
... (I think they're having a meeting)

And of course, as soon as I decided to throw in the towel for the season... rookie Clay Buckholz threw a no-no.

Anything else happening?

Tim White

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Home safety measures

The MRJ on some home safety measures (by Elisabeth Strillacci):

Install dead-bolt locks. Improving lighting outside the home. Lock windows. "A lot of homes and even commercial buildings aim their security or spotlights out, instead of at the buildings and points of entry," said Cirillo. "An officer responds to the scene, and coming up the sidewalk, the spot light is right in his eyes and he can't see anything. The light needs to be on the building." Dead-bolt locks are useful only if the bolt extends at least an inch into the strike plate and if the frame surrounding the door is stable. According to the National Crime Prevention Bureau, burglars who cannot gain entry within four minutes will move onto another target. Perhaps one of the best tools, Cirillo said, is "get to know your neighbors. I don't mean you have to go over for coffee or tea every day, but you should have a general idea about what cars belong in the neighborhood and what your neighbors' general schedules are."

The MRJ also offers a few lists that you may find useful:

Home Checklist
Apartment and Condo Checklist
Home Inventory Form

Tim White

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Parole Review Task Force named

Gov. M. Jodi Rell has appointed 20 people to serve on a task force she created following a triple homicide in Cheshire that was committed, authorities charge, by two men out on parole.

Two Cheshire residents are among those on the Sentencing and Parole Review Task Force... Thomas Kirk and Barbara Quinn. (MRJ, by Elisabeth Strillacci)

Tim White

It's a long season

They got a late start this year... they held off until nearly September! Alas, I have feeling we're back into our 86-year cycle...Tim White
(image from