Wednesday, March 25, 2009

09/10 Budget meeting - social & senior services, the pool

Tonight's agenda covered a number of departments...

Social Services was first. They're having more requests for assistance, both food and fuel. One of their concerns is the uncertainty of access to the food pantry at St. Bridget's. So the Town will be trying coordinate more hours of access to the food pantry for those in need. Also mentioned was an increased use in the Yellow House.

Senior Services discussed their accomplishments and goals. I asked about a few items in the budget. They have one cell phone that remains in whichever senior bus leaves town to help seniors get to doctor's appointments in surrounding communities - makes sense to me. On the flip side, I didn't exactly agree with the need for attending the national conference in Washington DC, but at least this year's Vegas trip was ixnayed. Regardless, that's not specific to Senior Services... lots of departments have funding for those out-of-state conferences. I just don't see the need for any of them... particularly any in a foreign country.

The Pool was on the agenda. The UTHs Cindy commented here. I said I don't expect to support the budget this year... shocker, huh? Nonetheless, I do like the pool. I just wish we could reduce the deficit and the energy consumption. And we could do that... but we'd need to get rid of the bubble. I then reminded everyone that I tried to push the pool forward in February 2008 with a Request for Information. Unfortunately, the Council majority didn't understand that phrase. But if the Council had acted, we probably would've been ready for December 2008 and President Obama's shovel-ready list. But that didn't happen... and when I mentioned that... a certain unnamed Budget Committee Chair got visibly upset with me.

The other thing that caught my attention with the pool was hearing that the fees had been reduced - without the Council voting on the fees. Yet, many of you probably remember the repeated deliberations over pool fees in the past. For instance, I remember hearing people get upset about a "conflict of interest" because one former Council member had a daughter who used the pool. Therefore, that Council member should not vote on the pool fees. And now we hear the Council need not vote on the fees?! What gives? I asked if the Council vote was only relevant to the maximum fee allowed? Nope. The explanation given today was that all those votes were totally unnecessary. How ridiculous. But don't worry... the majority won't point this out to "their boss."

And one last thing with the pool fees... there was an argument made that attendance was down, so fees needed to be reduced. To which I said at a prior meeting... well, why don't we reduce fees to ZERO? Then we can see attendance skyrocket! Oh wait... that would fly in the face of the long-promised self-sustaining pool. But shhh...

we're not supposed to mention that Town Hall is now operating like the federal government... we'll just cut taxes and increase spending... and no one will ever notice... and things will be great!

Absolutely ridiculous. And this was all heard by the Council. So if you're frustrated with the pool subsidy... remember, it is the responsibility of the Council - not staff. Staff recommend. It's the seemingly detached-from-reality Council members who actually let this stuff fly.

Maybe I'll get to Parks & Rec and CPFA tomorrow.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

Great going, Mike Ecke. If you'd acted on Tim's proposal a year ago, the feds might have paid for a solution to the pool problems with stimulus money.

He's another one who's in way over his head. Can't wait til Nov. 3.

Robert DeVylder Jr. said...

I still get a kick out of this... Cheshire is the bedding plant capital of Connecticut. Bedding plants are grown in greenhouses that can maintain constant temperatures, increase or reduce humidity, be shaded, and open to the elements as needed/wanted. We have hundreds of these structures all over town and are a cost effective way for a farmer to grow a crop. These structures require little maintenace and can be computer controlled to optimize conditions.

Why wasnt this considered to cover the pool in the first place? We have the designers, builders and plenty of "consultants" in town that could make this work.

Anonymous said...

The idea to cover the pool in a polycarbonate greenhouse structure was written by member of the Energy Commission 4 years ago. The proposal included dehumidification; a micro turbine for energy efficiency and the idea of using a ESCO(Energy Services Company) that would have installed the system at no cost. They would have asked for a performance based contract that woulds have allowed the Town to enter into an agreement that would have not cost the taxpayers any money. The contractor would have been paid over many years a portion of what the equipment would have saved the Town in operational costs. It was a better deal than the proposed nonsense deal of fuel cells for free that would have cost the Town a huge amount of dollars. That same deal is till available today, but the Town Council, Town Manager will not bring themselves to ask. So you ask why? hers are the reasons; first they are too stupid to understand the deal, too stupid to understand it will save them money and the biggest problem is if they cannot control the deal they have no interest. The Town Manager would rather spend 400,00 of our dollars a annually than take a chance to save money on a situation he cannot control. This short sided thinking by a person who is a Hitler style control fanatic.

Anonymous said...

These statements, above, just about sum up the state of our town government in every area :

The Council majority is "too stupid to understand the deal, too stupid to understand it will save them money and ... if they cannot control the deal they have no interest. The Town Manager would rather spend 400,00 of our dollars annually than take a chance to save money on a situation he cannot control."

Nov. 3 can't come soon enough.

Robert DeVylder Jr. said...

I believe the council decides what the town manager can spend money on based on his budget request. So realisticly, the council would rather spend $400,000 annually.

At the end of the day, the town manager works for the town council and does what they say.