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February 2019


© Heather Conley Photography

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EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

OFFICERS President, Neil O’Leary Mayor of Waterbury 1st Vice President, Michael Freda First Selectman of North Haven 2nd Vice President, Luke A. Bronin, Mayor of Hartford DIRECTORS Tom Banisch, First Selectman of Madison Robert M. Congdon, First Selectman of Preston Michael Freda, First Selectman of North Haven

Inside this issue...

Joseph P. Ganim, Mayor of Bridgeport Toni N. Harp, Mayor of New Haven Barbara M. Henry, First Selectman of Roxbury Matthew Knickerbocker, First Selectman of Bethel Catherine Iino, First Selectwoman of Killingworth Marcia A. Leclerc, Mayor of East Hartford Curt Leng, Mayor of Hamden W. Kurt Miller, First Selectman of Seymour Rudolph P. Marconi, First Selectman of Ridgefield Leo Paul, First Selectman of Litchfield Scott Shanley, General Manager of Manchester Jayme J. Stevenson, First Selectman of Darien Erin Stewart, Mayor of New Britain Daniel Syme, First Selectman of Scotland Michael C. Tetreau, First Selectman of Fairfield Mark B. Walter, Town Administrator of Columbia Steven R. Werbner, Town Manager of Tolland PAST PRESIDENTS Mark D. Boughton Mayor of Danbury Matthew B. Galligan Town Manager of South Windsor Herbert C. Rosenthal former First Selectman of Newtown Susan S. Bransfield First Selectwoman of Portland HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS Elizabeth Paterson, former Mayor of Mansfield Stephen Cassano, Selectman of Manchester CCM STAFF Executive Director, Joe DeLong

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Pensions Will Sink CT

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2019 State Legislative Proposals

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Special Education Co-ops

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Rethinking Recycling

12

2020 Census

17

Somers Using StreetScan

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Point/CounterPoint: Consolidating Finances

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Municipal News from Across CT

Kemp Consulting, LLC Advancing Excellence in Local Governments

Deputy Director, Ron Thomas Managing Editor, Kevin Maloney Layout & Design, Matthew Ford Writer, Christopher Gilson

Roger L. Kemp MPA, MBA, PhD

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Connecticut Town & City © 2019 Connecticut Conference of Municipalities

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Learn more at: www.rogerkemp.org FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 3


Pensions Will Sink Connecticut

Without a “1983 Moment” like Reagan, Congress had on Social Security By: Joe DeLong, CCM Executive Director

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he Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) is keenly aware that public pensions are rapidly draining the vitality of our State. Our large cities are drowning in unfunded pension liabilities; seven cities have to pay off about $900 million in pension obligation bonds. Annual required contributions to more than 200 local plans are crowding out needed investments in education and infrastructure. With local budgets heavily dependent on property taxes, it’s impossible to talk about property tax relief without addressing pension liabilities. It’s no different at the State level, where the problems of the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and State Employee Retirement System (SERS) have been widely publicized. CCM recently formed a Pension Liabilities Task Force, and that group has been quietly meeting, gathering information, working with our consultant, and exploring options. We suspect asset transfers, dedicating lottery proceeds to pensions, or extending amortization periods will only blow holes in other parts of the budget and push more liabilities to future generations. THERE ARE NO EASY SOLUTIONS! We desperately need honest, tough discussions, just like the 1983 negotiations between President Reagan and Congress on Social Security. Back then, we knew that unfunded legacy liabilities had left Social Security basically broke and an even bleaker future loomed when Baby Boomers retired. The eventual compromise increased contributions from employees and employers, phased in longer working careers, and made numerous other changes. Basically, Baby Boomers funded the legacy liabilities and their own future retirements. At state levels, Wisconsin made hard choices in the 1970s, merging its state and local plans, developing risk-sharing, and creating a modern pension system. Today, Wisconsin calculates liabilities with a 5.5 percent discount rate (lower than any other state uses); it maintains roughly 100 percent funding; it distributes COLAs to retirees based on market performance; and it keeps contribution rates at 13.2 percent (shared by employees and employers). Every other state, including Connecticut, has avoided hard choices on pensions. Our state and (some) local plans have employed an array of actuarial techniques to keep annual contributions as low as possible and push required contributions onto 4 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019

future generations. Constant news reports chronicle the departure of our citizens for lower tax environments. Facing ever-increasing taxes and no global solution to our pension conundrum, they are simply declining to pay for those decades-old decisions. Here’s some really bad news. The long-term investment cycle may have caught up to us. Recent projections from Vanguard (with more assets under management than all American public pension plans combined) declared that “our expected return outlook for U.S. equities over the next decade is centered in the 3%–5% range, in stark contrast with the 10.6 percent annualized return generated over the last 30 years.” If these projections prove reasonably accurate, our public pensions are toast, with TRS required contributions destroying the State budget within six years.

Here’s some really bad news. The long-term investment cycle may have caught up to us. CCM’s Task Force has debated options such as merging the 206 local plans with the Connecticut Municipal Employee Retirement System (CMERS). Well-funded local plans would want something in return, such as assurance that the large state plans will be stabilized and income taxes won’t be raised. Merging all state and local plans would produce a Wisconsin-like fund with at least $40 billion in assets — enough to make low interest loans to water systems to meet the $8.6 billion civil engineers estimate is needed for drinking water and wastewater treatment over the next 20 years. Public entities in CMERS were recently notified by The State Retirement Commission that it is lowering the long-term expected return on assets assumption from 8.00 to 7.00 percent, which will lead to an immediate increase of 15-20 percent in municipal employer contributions. Without changes to CMERS, the current system is unsustainable for participating entities and will put even more pressure on an already stressed property tax system. We hope Governor Lamont will charge a larger task force of stakeholders to create a shared risk pension model and a transition plan. CCM is ready, willing and able to share some concrete solutions with the Governor and stakeholders, as addressing pension liabilities must be the top priority in resolving Connecticut’s fiscal crisis.


CCM’s This Report Is Different Substantive proposals remain priorities

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hen we first released This Report Is Different in 2017, CCM had a mission: to spark a conversation and enact much needed changes in the Land of Steady Habits. “Governments in Connecticut stand at a crossroads,” reads the first sentence, and that remains as true as ever. But in 2019, there is hope that state policy leaders are ready to have the conversations and act on the recommendations in This Report Is Different. Those following the state of the State know that Connecticut has made some recovery under former Governor Malloy. In 2018, there was another windfall in tax revenue that led the state to be on the best footing it’s been on in a decade, but it still ranks as nearly last when it comes to fiscal health according to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Connecticut, despite these tax windfalls, has still not seen the kind of recovery felt elsewhere in the country after the Great Recession, which ended a decade ago. State expenditures have exceeded state revenues creating mounting deficits year after year. Many times, this created issues at the state level. State leaders would overpromise funds, and during fiscal crunches they have repeatedly shown a willingness to divert resources intended for local governments. In This Report is Different, we called for the adoption of three measures: Revenue Diversification, Collaboration & Service Sharing, and Cost Containment. Each of these are as important today as they were when we first issued the report. On the Revenue Diversification front, there is still little room for local governments to raise funds for needed services. The property tax is among the most regressive tax, and some municipalities are at a tipping point. If towns and cities were allowed to diversify along the

First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield of Portland in 2017, adddressing reporters at the press conference announcing This Report Is Different in Wethersfield.

lines seen in other states, dependence on the property tax could be reduced by as much as 46 percent. Shared Services is one topic where the conversation is finally starting to open up, especially after Governor Lamont had his Shared Service Committee report on the matter. They agreed that there is a need to realign how public services are delivered. (CCM Executive Director Joe DeLong served on this committee.) Former House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, the co-chair of the committee, expressed the deep need to change the way the state handles shared services by saying on CCM’s podcast, The Municipal Voice, the state is “not structured to be supportive of these kinds of things.” And there is still a call for Cost Containment. One of the proposals would amend the Municipal Employees Retirement System (MERS) to establish an additional retirement plan for new hires.

These proposals work like a threelegged stool, you can’t stand on it unless all three legs are there. If we can contain costs through getting rid of unfunded mandates, and we saw clearly and accurately where our money was going to; if we began to share services like 911 call centers and back-office services between town government and school districts; and if we finally diversified our revenues, Connecticut would be in a position to help stabilize property taxes in communities. Right now, the entire country is experiencing the second longest economic expansion in history, almost twice the average length of time between recessions since 1945. If Connecticut is to weather the next recession, no matter how big or how soon, it needs to think wisely about the way it handles business — and make decisions today to protect the state tomorrow.

FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 5


On The Table For 2019

A review of the 2019 State Legislative Proposals

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ecently, CCM’s Legislative Committee and the Board of Directors approved the 2019 State Legislative Program. Many of these initiatives you will recognize — we have always opposed unfunded mandates — but some issues have sprung up in just the past year or so. Here is the Legislative Program at a glance:

EDUCATION CCM is advocating for Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR) reform. The MBR prevents municipalities from budgeting less for education than it did in the previous fiscal year. But in an era where many school districts are losing students, it makes sense to allow some districts to eliminate the MBR. Examples of districts that should eliminate the MBR would include non-Alliance districts, including regional school districts. Additionally, all municipalities should be able to reduce the MBR in accordance with special education costs when such students leave the district.

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT & ENERGY Not many people will realize that a recycling policy in China would have effects in Connecticut, but the China Sword has made good faith efforts of recycling a fiscally fraught responsibility for municipalities. For towns and cities as green-minded as those in Connecticut, recycling has become a burden, so we propose no new recycling mandates until a market is established to replace the Chinese market. We are also proposing that the Virtual Net Metering Cap be eliminated. Once this is eliminated, we believe we should be providing preferential consideration for projects proposed to be placed on preferred sites in order to maximize underutilized land.

MUNICIPAL LABOR RELATIONS CCM still opposes any new unfunded mandates. We would like to see the ability of municipalities enrolled in the Municipal Employee Retirement System (MERS) with the ability to create new tiers similar to the way the State has created new tiers for the State Employee Retirement System (SERS).

LAND USE, HOUSING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT There should be an Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Program in Connecticut. We can adopt

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one similar to the Pennsylvania program to provide for court-appointed conservators or land banks to bring residential, commercial, and industrial buildings into municipal code compliance when owners fail to comply. For Tax Assessment Appeal Proceedings, we propose that there be a prohibition on contingency fee arrangements. Additionally, CGS Section 12-117a should be amended to require those making appeals be certified as attorneys, CPAs, or real estate appraisers, and that they should only have 90 days to file a licensed appraisal as part of their appeal.

MUNICIPAL LAW, LIABILITY, & INSURANCE Municipal liability exposure should be limited. For one, limit the scope of the “reckless disregard” exception to municipal immunity statute, which became an important issue after Williams v. Housing Auth. of the City of Bridgeport, et al. broadened the scope. Additionally, there should be an “assumption of risk” defense in recreational areas such as bike, skateboard, dog, and water parks. Also, CGS 8-2 should be amended to remove the word “advertising” from the type of signs that a municipal zoning commission may regulate. As it stands, zoning commissions cannot regulate signs that merely express a personal opinion.

PUBLIC SAFETY, CRIME PREVENTION, & CODE ENFORCEMENT We support efforts to make the Resident State Trooper (RST) program more equitable for municipalities. This includes opposing any efforts to increase the current contribution rate, eliminating the requirement that the host municipality pay for the fringe benefit costs associated with overtime, and allow the host municipality to be reimbursed when a RST is called away. The last recommendation is that we work with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) to remove administrative barriers and encourage the sharing of Resident State Troopers.

TAXES AND FINANCE Allow municipalities the option to (a) establish and assess a Community Public Safety and Infrastructure Fee for poperties qualifying for a tax exemption under CGS 12-81 and not reimbursed by existing PILOT programs and; (b) establish a Stormwater Authority to offset costs of implementing the current MS4 General Permit.


Creates Prediction Of Special Ed Costs? The Co-op aims to take guesswork out of Special Education costs

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onnecticut is just one of four states — joining Arkansas, Rhode Island, and West Virginia — as having no system for funding the needs of its special education students. This creates instability at a local level with issues arising at budget time. The Connecticut Special Education task force on which Matt Galligan, Town Manager of South Windsor, sits has proposed ways that is says adds stability and reason to the process — a Special Education Cost Cooperative. According to their informational pamphlet, the Special Education Cost Cooperative, or the Co-op for short, is a special education finance system that allows the state and local governments to share in special education costs. From the same source, it explains the system as aggregating “special education costs together at the state level to leverage the fact that, on a statewide basis, special education costs are predictable, even though they are frequently volatile at the district.” Many readers will have read our August 2018 CT&C article on Special Education Funding where we cited Michael Connor, Bozrah Board of Finance chairman, who said that his town needed to budget $260,000 for a special needs student who had moved to town, illustrating the volatility at the district level. The program works by having the state and municipalities make contributions to the Co-op. The State must first contribute to the Co-op by “re-allocating the Excess Cost grant and special education portion of the Education Cost Sharing grant,” while municipalities make contributions based on the number of special education students who live in their towns. The amount municipalities pay in is lower than their per-pupil special education costs. While the concept of the Co-op has

been received somewhat favorably, there are some questions as to exactly how municipal contribution amounts will be determined. According to the Co-op’s figures, local governments handle 64 percent of special education costs, with the state taking up 29 percent, and the federal government handling under ten. The federal government had committed to pay upwards of 40 percent of these costs, but that has not borne out. The fund then gets meted out to every district. School districts will receive 100 percent of their actual special education costs and some state support for special education services.

The proposed benefit of this system is that it controls the volatility on the municipal or district level. While a town like Bozrah might see nearly $300,000 added to their budget, the state as a whole has seen even growth as the number of students with special needs has increased. In 2010, when there were close to 60,000 special education students, the state as a whole spent $1.6 billion on special education costs. By 2014, there were closer to 70,000 special education students, and the state was approaching $2 billion spent. Aggregating, according to the Co-op, proposes to ensure that students in need get adequate funding no matter where they live in the state..

FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 7


A Time To Repurpose Recycling

A Chinese policy has Connecticut rethinking how it recycles

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n 1971, an actor playing a Native American looked at America’s littered landscape and wept in a now infamous commercial created by Stamford, Connecticut’s own Keep America Beautiful. The non-profit organization, which counted Philip Morris and Coca-Cola as founding members, wanted to show the effects of pollution and littering. The tagline was “People Start Pollution. People Can Stop It,” but today is more remembered for the single tear that streamed down the actor’s face. This commercial might not be the first call to action in the war on litter, but it certainly fit in well with the post-’60s pro-Earth revolution. People bemoaned the “hippies” with their Earth Day — first celebrated on April 22, 1970 — but something clicked in the American psyche. By 1971 Oregon had introduced the bottle deposit on soda and beer bottles to incentivize recycling and the program finally had a logo, a Mobius strip instantly recognizable by people all around the world. That was the tipping point. Municipalities around the country began to offer curbside recycling and even mandate it. By 1990, the theme of the 20th Earth Day was recycling, and curbside programs in the United States are exploding. Americans recycle and want to recycle. 1991 was the year that Connecticut mandated recycling, and many young Nutmeggers have never known a world without it.

Then in 2017, the Chinese Government announced The National Sword, a policy that limits the kind of recyclables the country accepts. No longer will the country take on what it terms “foreign garbage,” limiting the amount of impurities in recyclables in order to protect its own environment, which is the world’s most polluted (rated by CO₂ emissions, America is number two). Like America in the 1970s, China is having a moment where pollution and belief in global warming are incentivizing green investment, but it is having far reaching effects from Europe, to Oregon, and it is beginning to be felt in Connecticut. “Everything’s been flipped on its head.” “It’s collapsing right before our very eyes.” Those were just some of the things Milford Mayor Ben Blake and Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker had to say in a phone call to CT&C about the implications of China’s new policy. It was a theme that was threaded through every town official or recycling expert’s comments on the situation. Getting right to the heart of the matter, Blake said that recycling went from a positive to negative. The mayor isn’t saying that recycling is a bad thing (he has some good ideas to turn this back into a positive, but more on that later); he’s referring to tipping fees.

Left out of the discussion is where the recycled waste went. For years, recyclers could ship their recyclables to China at a profit. The market for recycled goods in China made sense because the processed products would stay in country to be made into new raw consumer goods.

The United States produces more municipal solid waste than any other country in the world.

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Those responsible for the disposal of recycling waste will know what a tipping fee is. Waste Management defines it as the “fee charged for the amount of waste disposed of by customers at a landfill,” but this process goes one step further for recycling. Once the products are sorted, they could then be sold to another party who would use them downstream. That revenue gets shared back to the municipality. But that’s not true anymore because of China’s National Sword Policy. Tim DeVivo, owner and operator of Willimantic Waste Paper with his brother Tom, a Windham Board Member, said to the Hartford Courant that markets for certain recyclables are “the lowest [they’ve] ever seen.” Put into hard figures, Tom Gaffey of the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) which is in charge of 70 towns and cities in the Hartford area said that just two years ago you could expect a return of $170 a ton for old newspaper, which is down to just $30 today, leaving little margin or no margins for the municipalities. In many cases it’s cost them money. Seeking out a reason for this cost difference, CT&C contacted Jennifer Heaton-Jones, the executive director of the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority (HRRA) located in Brookfield. She explained “the root of the problem is contamination cost money.

terials, compared to last year when they were making money off the practice. Another example is the Borough of Naugatuck. In the middle of last year, before the problem hit an apex, Naugatuck was being asked to pay $55 per ton by their former recycling provider after years of being paid $16 per ton. Mayor Hess told us that the borough struck a deal in which they agreed to pay $23 a ton to MIRA who already handled their trash removal. It’s a lesson in cost analysis: “The $23 is a bargain compared to the $70 a ton we are charged for non-recyclable waste removal.” Still, recycling needs to go somewhere, and that means landfills or barges. First Selectman Knickerbocker was exasperated at the thought: “That’s no solution!”

“Everything’s been flipped on its head.”

China’s policy, aimed at cleaning up their pollution problem, has proven a headache for recyclers around the world, not just America. What’s concerning is that it risks sending the wrong message: recycling is bad. Recycling is still a necessity, but it just needs to get smarter.

CT&C wrote about programs in cities like New Haven to get residents informed about what you can and cannot recycle. Many people will be surprised to find out that many items once assumed to be recyclable are simply not feasible in this post-National Sword era. Things like shredded paper, prescription bottles, and even plastic plates cannot be recycled feasibly and end up clogging up the system.

“It’s collapsing right before our very eyes.”

“The poor markets have increased tip fees and forced transfer stations and Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) to implement contamination fees on the haulers. The haulers are not going to eat the increased tip fees and contamination charges, they will pass those fees onto their customers whether they are a municipality or a resident.”

Essentially, because of China’s new policy, certain recyclables like mixed papers and plastics were considered contaminated, and needed to be sorted out. This not only increased facilities costs in sorting the products, but the ability of those facilities to sell the products. In every corner of Connecticut, there has been news about the changing tide of recycling. This year, Stamford paid to process its recycling ma-

In Stamford, they issued a similar notice out to their residents of items that are no longer recyclable, which alluded to the China Sword: “Because of a collapse in the market for reusable materials, these common items are no longer recyclable in Stamford and must be discarded in the trash.” Their notice included waxed paper, six-pack holders, synthetic tear resistant mailers, and many items that Stamford residents used to be able to throw into a single-stream recycling bin. Towns and cities across the state are attempting to mitigate this problem by eliminating the offending products or separating them from the recycling stream FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 9


altogether. A simple Google search will return a list of municipalities that are moving forward with plastic bag bans. The supermarket and drug store staples are one of the items that cannot be recycled when going to a facility like MIRA or HRRA. They clog up the sorters and are considered low quality. Norwalk, Stamford, New Haven, Hamden, Hartford are all considering bans, while Greenwich and Westport have bans in place. Barring any action at the state level, First Selectman Knickerbocker told us that he is ready to vote on a local ban of plastic bags this year. He also says that “single-stream is no longer feasible,” and looked pointedly to glass as a big culprit. “Cardboard is no good if it’s contaminated with broken glass,” he said. It loses all value and goes right into landfills. The HRRA is looking to divert glass out of a single-stream system. Heaton-Jones said that “glass has always been a problem, but when the markets were hot and profits were high, it was easy to ignore it. Now that the markets have washed away, it has exposed the glass issue.” Her recommendations are to incentivize residents to utilize the bottle deposit system, and further, to include all glass beverages, something Knickerbocker supports. “Bottle redemption glass is 100

percent recyclable, and we have a company here in Connecticut, Strategic Material who buys and processes bottle glass.”

that tax breaks and recycled materials minimums in procurement might help foster the creation of new markets.

This brings us back to Mayor Blake who wants to turn recycling back into a positive. If the China market is never going to expand back to pre-Sword levels, why not process those materials here? In our conversation, he said he’d “welcome and appreciate these new industries.”

One of NLC’s case study cities is Austin, Texas, which has led the way in this type of adaptability. They created the Materials Marketplace, which is an “online platform that connects local individuals with businesses to divert, reuse and/or repurpose materials that are difficult or impossible to recycle or compost.”

The National League of Cities (NLC) has written on this issue extensively, and one of its recommendations is to do exactly that. “Collaborate with your local economic development office to evaluate your current markets and identify new local and regional opportunities for unconventional or novel uses of your city’s recycling commodities.” They even suggest

Giving new meaning to the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Austin has found a way to once again turn certain recyclables into a profitable market, while at the same time benefitting local businesses and creating jobs. With ingenuity like this, no one loses. The National Sword is just getting

The United States exports about one-third of its recyclables, about half of which go to China. China

Rest of World

USA

Total US Recycling Stock: Most stays, but much goes abroad. Source: NLC

10 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019


started. According to NLC’s reporting, additional restrictions will be rolled out continually through 2019 until 2020, when “China aims to halt all solid waste imports.” There’s some thought that other countries might pick up the market that China is abandoning, but in light of the Paris Accord, it’s hard to see the market returning to 2016 levels. The state of recycling needs a renewal itself. Towns and Cities cannot afford to have recyclables become a greater expense, one that matches solid landfill waste. There are ideas out there for municipalities to lessen the tipping fees for their towns; in one case that

means banning certain items entirely, in another you remove an item like glass from the stream altogether. But this can also be seen as an opportunity. Americans produce more municipal waste than any other country in the world, according to the NLC. There should be a push to create local markets as they have in Austin. Connecticut is not about to stop recycling. We have too much invested in our natural beauty and resources, our rivers, lakes, and forests to let recyclables pile up in landfills taking up more and more of the finite resource of our great State’s land. Seeing that would be enough to make anyone cry.

Recycling markets hit by China’s new policy February 2017 China announces “National Sword” policy

July 2017 China files with WTO to restrict imported waste, set a contamination threshold, and ban specific commodities

January 2018 Import ban takes e ect, very few Chinese import permits are issued March 2018 Contamination limits take e ect November 2017 China files again with the WTO

Steel

Natural HDPE

PET plastic 140

Aluminum

100

Corrugated containers

60

Sorted residential paper

North American commodity price index, Jan 2017 = 100

Mixed plastic

20

Jan

2017

Feb

Mar

Apr

May Jun

Jul

Aug

Sept Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

2018

Feb

Mar

Apr

Mixed paper

May Jun

Jul

Source: NLC

FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 11


Stand Up & Be Counted

Census counts correctly with Complete Count Committees

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ith the United States Census Bureau, CCM is working in concert to get out the word on the 2020 Census Complete Count Committees. Those in government may be more privy than your average citizen, but the census is much more important than just a head count of citizens. First taken in 1790, the census is mandated in the Constitution (article one, section two), and has far reaching effects on representation in this country. Every ten years, the results of the census are used to reapportion the House of Representatives, which is based solely on population. Connecticut had five representatives in the first congress, reaching seven at the most, and back down to five currently — a symptom of a loss in population, but the massive growth of other states like Texas. Even more so than representation, there are funding implications to the census as well. According to a pamphlet from the Census Bureau, there is more than $675 billion in federal funds, grants, and support at stake. That money, which goes towards schools, hospitals, roads, public works, and many other programs, is spread out according to census data. Because of the fiscal implications of the census, it is important that every person living in America fill out a form. But there are many issues plaguing the census department leading to declining response rates: constrained budgets, distrust in government, informal living arrangements, a mobile population, increasingly diverse populations, and a rapidly changing use of technology. Toni Harp, Mayor of New Haven wrote in an op-ed for the New Haven Independent that the “groups at greatest risk of being undercounted are low-income households, immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, young children, and those who do

The goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone once, only once and in the right place.

not live in traditional housing situations. An undercount can deprive these communities of fair representation and vital resources.” They have some ways to combat this decline. This is the first census that will have some digital component. The internet self-response will be just like the paper fill out form, just on a computer. It will be offered in 12 non-English languages, making it easier than ever to reach everyone in America. They also want to make sure that respondents know that census data is never published, mandated by law (Title 13). Furthermore, personal information cannot be used by any government agency or court. The New York Regional Office says that Census employees are sworn to protect confidentiality for life. Here’s where local officials come in. The Census Bureau calls them Complete Count Committees. They are an autonomous and bi-partisan group of community leaders, and

12 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019

who will look to make sure that the Census has the best possible data about the population. Municipal leaders represent a trusted voice within the community as the elected official closest to the public. “My hope is that by the time census forms are mailed in the spring of 2020,” Harp said, “every New Haven resident will have been reached: where they work, in their school, at worship services, at the barber shop, at the library, or any other place where they congregate and spend their time.” Billions of dollars and representation in the federal government are at stake. The census ensures that resources get meted out fairly and evenly, and municipal leaders can help. For more information on the census, visit www.2020census.gov. You can also email the New York Regional Census Center Partnership Team at New.York.RCC.Partnership@2020census.gov


Strengthening The Local/Federal Relationship 2019 Congressional City Conference has opened registrations

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egistration has opened for the 2019 Congressional City Conference, the National League of Cities’ (NLC) annual legislative conference. It takes place March 10 – 13, in Washington, D.C. This conference is a place where municipal leaders can gather with their peers, learn about the challenges facing municipalities, and help shape the policy and advocacy in the interest of towns and cities. NLC is made up of more than 2,000 cities, towns, and villages in the United States, with nearly a century of experience. They advocate for representative, participatory local government as the cornerstone of government in America. They advance partnerships, coalitions, and collaborations to strengthen cities and their advocacy efforts. The National Municipal Policy was adopted at the City Summit in late 2018, making the Congressional City Conference the first chance to learn about and discuss the goals and missions of municipalities across the country. There will be conference workshops, NLC University Seminars, and general sessions that seek to educate leaders on the common issues towns and cities face. Workshops are shorter, while the seminars are halfday or full-day learning experiences. This year they are tackling Racial Equity, Community & Economic Development, Leading Through Disruption, Finance & Budgeting, Ethical Leadership, and more. Throughout the day, there will be networking opportunities to see how local government runs in every part of this country, from the smallest of towns to the largest of cities. The 2018 conference saw attendance of

more than 2500 city leaders, and is one of the largest gatherings of local officials in the country. Constituency groups make sure everyone is represented. “They have been established over the years to reflect the diverse interests and backgrounds of NLC’s membership,” according to Clarence Anthony, NLC Executive Director. These include Asian Pacific Municipal Officials, Hispanic Elected Local Officials, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Local Officials, National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, and Women in Municipal Government. The conference has also had its fair share of big name speakers as well. Past keynote speakers include President Obama, “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer, George W. Bush’s White House Communications Director Nicole Wallace, and Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. This year’s speakers include Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ); Alexander Acosta, U.S. Labor Secretary; and Tom Donohue, CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Also part of the conference is Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. NLC gives conference attendees the opportunity to meet with federal legislators and their staff to advocate for municipal needs. This year, CCM municipal leaders from around Connecticut will meet with Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal. CCM is arranging a dinner for Connecticut delegates on Monday, March 11, to provide the opportunity to discuss federal issues with colleagues. For more information visit the NLC website for the 2019 Congressional City Conference at www.ccc.nlc.org

FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 13


Save The Dates!

EMS and the Triple Crown are Coming Back This Spring!

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nce again, CCM along with the Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS), the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), and the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), will be hosting the Connecticut Emergency Management Symposium (EMS). This year it will be held on April 25 at the Red Lion Hotel in Cromwell (formerly the Radisson). The symposium, which takes place every spring, is the premier emergency management conference in Connecticut, attracting hundreds of local public safety officials from around the state. EMS offers workshops, discussions, networking opportunities, and vendors with the best and newest emergency management technology, products, and services. Last year, the Symposium offered sessions about School Security Best Practices, Hurricane Evacuee Recovery Support Initiatives and Long Term Recovery Lessons, Communications Failure and Recovery in Puerto Rico, the Opioid Crisis and Response, and more. While the exhibit hall is still being filled up, there will be representatives from CCM, DEMHS, DPH, CIRMA, Telrepco, Comstar, Verizon, ServiceMaster Restore, Veoci, BELFOR, JP Maguire, Post University, Nexgen Public Safety Solutions, Marcus Communication, Higgins Corporation, AT&T FirstNet, Pro-Klean, T-Mobile, and more ‌ This is a once-a-year opportunity to hear from the best minds in emergency management, to network with colleagues in the same fields, and to see the latest offerings from dozens of vendors. Registration is now open for municipal, state, and local officials. Be sure to register early as attendance is limited. As an added bonus, for our CCMO officials, EMS is three hours toward your certification. For more information, and to register online, visit: www.ccm-ct.org/spring-symposium 14 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019

Triple Crown Returns For Second Year After the incredible success last year, it was a no-brainer to hold the Connecticut Charity Triple Crown again. It will be held once again at the Hartford Club, this year on May 10. Last year’s Triple Crown raised nearly $40,000 for the Channel 3 Kids Camp, Homes for the Brave, and The Village, by auctioning off restaurant packages, sporting event tickets, museum tours, furniture, and many, many other items, as well as major support from sponsors like the Mohegan Tribe, Adams&Knight, Foxwoods, Thomas Hooker Brewery, O,R&L, and many others. New charities will be supported each year. After much discussion, we landed on three great organizations for 2019: Jouney Home, the Parent Child Resource Center, and Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery. They offer services to end homelessness, working with families of children with behavioral issues, and the drug abuse epidemic that has hit Connecticut and the whole nation. The work these charities do is important, and we look forward to supporting them. Information will be added as we get closer to the date about the sponsors, tickets, and auction items, so be on the lookout for more info, and head over to www.ccm-ct. org/ct-triple-crown for the latest information.


No CCM Dues Increase — Again! CCM is the organization members can fiscally count on

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hough there are many factors that you can point to as to why CCM keeps growing its membership, hitting 168 out of 169 municipalities in Connecticut in 2018, one of the main reasons is that we have an understanding of towns and cities like yours. In that spirit, CCM is announcing that we will once again offer no dues increase.

ommended no dues increase.” He added, “CCM does a great job of providing services that municipalities need, with research, GrantFinder, all the work we do in Hartford, and so much more, you’re really getting a lot with CCM.” As we said last year, towns and cities must stick together under the CCM banner to present a unified message on behalf of Connecticut local government, and that remains just as true as ever.

This good news is not without precedent: this marks the ninth out of the last ten years that CCM has had no dues increase.

CCM Executive Director Joe DeLong emphasized: “We come together for one common mission — to improve everyday life for every resident of Connecticut, and we do that by providing the best services we can to towns and cities across the state. I’m really happy that we can do that without having to raise dues, now nine times in the last 10 years.”

We continue to be very sensitive to the fiscal challenges facing our towns and cities. We have to do more without asking for more. In that vein, we are continually adding services and programs to better help municipalities. CCM’s unparalleled services from our top-flight, effective advocacy and invaluable research and information services, to our free training, energy savings, drug testing, labor relations, discount prescription drug card program, GrantFinder service, executive search service and much more we ensure a return on your investment that far and away exceeds your CCM member dues.

On behalf of all of us at CCM, we look forward to working hard on your behalf in 2019 to protect the interests of your local government and your taxpayers. Thank you for your continued support. Please contact us or Kevin Maloney, Director of Communications and Member Relations, at (203) 710-3486 or kmaloney@ccm-ct.org at any time with any questions or concerns.

Mayor of Waterbury and CCM President Neil O’Leary said “it’s important for our organization to recognize the fiscal position we’re all in, and that’s why we rec-

Offering a dedicated and experienced team to meet the needs of our municipal clients

Murtha Cullina LLP is proud to serve as General Counsel to CCM

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is proud to join in honoring the outstanding efforts of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. Charlie Szilagyi, Senior Client Manager

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charles.szilagyi@baml.com 860-952-7429

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FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 15


A Year of Growth & Change

CCM 2018 Annual Report shows value in services

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e wrote last year that the State of Connecticut was dominated by challenges, fiscal and otherwise. While many of those challenges remain, 2018 was a year of change and growth for the State and CCM: Connecticut has a new governor, CCM has new offices and new services to offer towns and cities.

A N N UA L REPORT

2018

Our Annual Report dives deep into the changes, advancements, and developments that happened over the past year, the impacts on your municipalities, and what we’ve focused on in our Public Policy & Advocacy, Communications & Member Relations, Government Finance & Research, and Member Services departments.

Public Policy & Advocacy As always, our Public Policy & Advocacy department tenaciously defended the rights of municipalities to handle municipal matters, and to stop or stall bills that were undue burdens on towns. CCM advocated for the bi-partisan efforts that resulted in the overwhelming approval of a revised state budget for next fiscal year. Importantly, the budget restored state aid to towns and cities for FY 2018-19. Additionally, Sustainable CT was a major success with more than 20 towns and cities becoming certified in the first year of eligibility.

Communications & Member Relation CCM continues to enhance our level of customer service to each of our 168 member towns through our Connecticut Town Liaison (CTL) Program. The CTL program fast tracks service and information to member towns, maintaining the high level of service you expect from CCM. The department saw major growth this year in Communications with the addition of The Municipal Voice, a podcast produced in collaboration with WNHH 103.5 FM, where

it is streamed live on social media platforms. We now reach more people than ever, and expect more growth to come!

Government Finance & Research The research department once again met a large workload, answering and completing more than 700 requests for information from municipal officials, completing enhancements to the Municipal Salary Survey, and preparing Candidate Bulletins for CCM’s Election Center. They provided essential information in a timely manner, ensuring that municipal leaders can keep doing their jobs.

Member Services This year’s Convention was the biggest and best we’ve ever put on. The tradeshow was sold out, more awards were given out than ever before, and we co-hosted the final Gubernatorial Debate before

16 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019

the election with WTNH and the Hartford Courant. The Spring Symposium started the trend in April as the highest attended Emergency Management Symposium to date, and CCM established the first ever CT Charity Triple Crown that raised $40,000 for the Channel 3 Kids Camp, Homes for the Brave, and The Village. Along with the events, the Member Services saw successes in its many offerings. StreetScan, the Certified Connecticut Municipal Official Program, Discount PRescription Drug Card Program all helped municipalities help their residents. There’s so much more that CCM accomplished in 2018, all included in our full Annual Report, which you can read on your computer or mobile device, or you can get a printable PDF of the report by visiting our website: www.ccm-ct. org/2018AnnualReport.


The Roads More Worn Down

Somers uses StreetScan to optimize a plan for resurfacing

N

o matter where you live everyone is concerned about their roads. We travel roads to work, school, and the grocery store. Knowing that these essential assets are in good condition is of utmost importance to us. We spoke with Todd Rolland, Director of Public Works for the Town of Somers, on how he used StreetScan to optimize a resurfacing plan to keep his town’s roads in tip-top shape. StreetScan uses its patented technology to assess road conditions and can even capture other municipal assets, e.g., traffic signs, ADA ramps, fire hydrants and manhole covers, to provide critical data that supports municipal pavement management. “Before we utilized StreetScan, we did a visual survey with two guys in a truck,” Rolland said. “Other companies were less expensive, but the data wasn’t very good. […] They would drive to streets and check off a list. It wasn’t nearly as extensive as StreetScan.” Pavement assessment is based on a Pavement Condition Index scale of 0 to 100, from failing roads to perfect, using various criteria captured by StreetScan vehicles that are equipped with multi-sensor systems, including 3D cameras and optical devices. StreetScan’s system produces a dataset and color coded map of municipal roads, plus an Excel file with all of the engineering data to back up the recommendations, according to Rolland. It was this data that allowed Rolland and his team to make recommendations to the voting public in a referendum in November of last year. The town voted to approve a $4 million bond for resurfacing roads based on StreetScan’s information. Rolland noted, “With road maintenance, you can do resurfacing or crack seal on the inexpensive side, or complete road reconstruction, which is very expensive.” “If you had a million dollars, you can reconstruct one road, or resurface 10. Your buck goes further if you can just resurface 10.”

Todd Rolland, Director of Public Works for the Town of Somers

With StreetScan, Somers can stay ahead of the maintenance curve, and easily update its Pavement Condition Index. If a road is resurfaced, StreetScan inputs the data into its unique cloud-based Streetlogix application that easily enables municipal staff to visualize and manage road assets in order to schedule maintenance within a user-friendly GIS environment. “And now we have a data set, a base point, for our engineering department to look at. This is where we are in 2018. If we spend this money, this will get us here over the next three years, then we can budget so much per year to stay ahead of resurfacing, which is really our goal, and eventually get every road in town within the next 10 years or so to be resurfaced.” “Every resident wants to know when their road is getting done,” according to Rolland. With StreetScan, residents of Somers can know that their town is maintaining and repairing the roads that need it the most, and in a budgetarily efficient way. Through CCM, StreetScan will provide a no obligation proposal for your municipality. Contact Andy Merola, amerola@ccm-ct.org, (203) 498-3056, for information.

FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 17


The More You Know With CCMO

Amy Traversa talks to us about her experience learning with CCMO

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tepping into any job is not easy — there’s the learning curve, the getting to know people, the high expectations — and town officials know these pressures acutely. After all, what is an election but an interview with everyone in town? The pressures mounted can be difficult to manage, which is why we created the Certified Connecticut Municipal Official (CCMO) program. Recently we talked to First Selectman of Marlborough, Amy Traversa, about her experience. “You’re elected in November, and you immediately go into budget season,” Traversa said of the particular challenge going from election to inauguration. “The breadth of knowledge that you need to have to come into the position of being a First Selectman or Town Manager is extraordinary,” she said, “everything is new.” That’s part of the benefit of the CCMO programs’s educational structure. If it will come up in the process of running a town, there’s a course that will cover it.

Going through the CCMO program helps you create a network of knowledge, whether it’s through CCM, the instructors, or other town officials.

Participants must complete 36 hours of study within two years of the application date in three developmental areas: Personal Development, Organizational Development, and Community Development.

And through knowledge gained, it makes life as a town official that much easier. Going straight from election to budget season might be daunting, but with a class on the topic, Traversa was able to steer the course.

Once those are completed, all graduates are recognized and honored at CCM’s annual convention, as Traversa was this past fall. She was able to complete the program in just one year, but she wasn’t the only one.

It was so informative, that she is still signing up for classes, saying “on a Saturday in January, I’m taking a four hour class because the municipal budgeting class is just so useful.”

Ten officials completed the requirements in the first year, and Traversa talked about the benefits of working within a group of peers. “The First Selectman in Madison Tom Banisch is also a person who went through the CCMO program at about the same pace that I did,” she said, “very often he’ll pick up the phone and call me and saying who should I be talking to you where I call him and say what should I know about a particular issue.”

In a program like CCMO, your education base can only grow. “I would absolutely recommend that [municipal officials] participate in the program. It’s not the certification, it’s the knowledge that’s gained through the certification process.” It can be exciting and fun, like Traversa said, enough to get you to a class on a Saturday morning in January.

18 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019


Data Reporter Has Info You Need

Mitch Goldblatt talks to us about how he use MLR Data Reporter

M

itch Goldblatt knows a thing or two about local government. In his current position as the Human Resources Director for the Town of Guilford, he relies on CCM’s Municipal Labor Relations Data Reporter to know what’s going on in the state of Connecticut. The Municipal Labor Relations Data Reporter is a one-of-a kind publication. It’s a monthly newsletter of all interest arbitration awards, recent contract settlements and changes, ability to pay information by labor market area, consumer price index information, and timely news articles on the latest trends and developments in labor and employment law. “It provides us with a tremendous amount of information,” Goldblatt told us, “information that will help us determine what the going rates are for increases in employees’ salaries, both in terms of what’s negotiated as well as what goes to arbitration, which can be different.” The benefit of a document like the Data Reporter is that you have a tool at your disposal to see trends

in real time as they are evolving. “So we as HR people can see what the major issues were before an arbitrator how the arbitrator ruled, who the arbitrator was, and whether we’re on the right path,” he said. “If we would go to arbitration, how might we fare and the best way to look at the historical data which is current because it’s coming quite regularly from the DATA service of CCM.” “[In negotiations] you may be looking for X, but the reality is that here’s what’s going on in the state of Connecticut. It gives us a much stronger viewpoint in going into negotiations.” Goldblatt uses the Data Reporter in concert with the Salary Survey, so that he can see where other towns and cities are, and to make sure they can stay on budget. “From an HR standpoint, we are constantly trying to figure out where we are in relation to other communities. Whether we are compensating our employees fairly in the same vein as other communities.”

Municipal Labor Relations Data Reporter Inside this Issue

January 2019

NEWSWORTHY ......................................................................................................... ............................................... 1

2019 Legislative Session............................................................................ .......................................................................... 1 2018-19 Municipal Salary Survey ............................................................................ ............................................................ 1 Binding Interest Arbitration Award Corrections ............................................................................ ..................................... 1 Call for Updated Contracts............................................................................ ...................................................................... 1

ARBITRATION UPDATE ......................................................................................................... ................................... 2

List of Interest Arbitration Awards................................................................ ...................................................................... 2 Summary of Interest Arbitration Awards............................................................................ ................................................ 2 Average General Wage Increases ............................................................................ ......................................................... 15 Contract Change Highlights............................................................................ ................................................................... 16

ABILITY-TO-PAY INFORMATION ...................................................................... ...................................................... 17

State Labor Market .................................................................................................................. ......................................... 17 December 2018 Consumer Price Index............................................................................ ................................................. 18 Labor Market Statistics .................................................................................................................. ................................... 19 Complete State Labor Market Area ............................................................................ ...................................................... 21

A publication of CCM Government Finance & Research Services Max Friedman Senior Research Analyst 203-498-3043 Email: mfriedman@ccm-ct.org Copyright © 2019 Connecticut Conference of Municipalities All Rights Reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including, but not limited to, storage in an information storage and retrieval system, and photocopying.

Goldblatt did stress the importance of towns like Guilford participating in filling out the survey, “because the data is only as good as those who put in the data.” “I’m very very happy to see that CCM has included this into their overall programming,” he went on. “At one time it was a separate fee. Included as part of membership, it’s that much more accessible to every community that’s a CCM Member.”

FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 19


Point / Counterpoint Issue: Consolidating Town and Board Finances Poor Planning Can Result in Mistrust David Lenihan, Director of Government Affairs and Former President, CT Association of School Business Officials

T

he Connecticut Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) is pleased to comment on these important topics.

CASBO has a long history of participating, and often leading, cooperative efforts that benefit both towns and Board of Educations alike. These include, but are not limited to: cooperative purchasing/bidding of energy, supplies (school, office and custodial), copying and postal equipment etc. There are also cooperative efforts with respect to hardware and software purchases and shared IT staff; pooling arrangements for health insurance and security services etc. Savings result from economies of scale and/or the existence of certain professional expertise. (For more information, please see CASBO’s shared services white paper at https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.ctasbo.org/resource/resmgr/shared_services_2015_final.pdf ) Other areas where there is support for shared services include: risk management, OPEB, and workers compensation in order to cover all buildings and all employees under one policy. In other cases, the Town and BOEs may share services with respect to field and ground maintenance, etc., 20 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019

where specific professional expertise is present (i.e., P&R may have more expertise in field preparation and maintenance, or the town may have better logistics, staffing or equipment for snow removal, etc.) The key to success here is a full understanding of specific scheduling needs of each entity and clear commitment to meet these needs. Another question that is asked is: Whether Towns and BOEs should consolidate financial services? Such services could include financial operations, payroll, human resources, accounts payable, etc. Such efforts can succeed if there is a unified vision and open-minded approach from both the superintendent of schools and the town CEO to create a win/win situation. If the goal is to work collaboratively to create a flexible team that communicates more fully, provides back-up for critical operations, utilizes the same technology platform, shares the same location, adopts shared management oversight, and believes in a fair and transparent process for addressing priorities, it can work. If, however, if the goal is simply an effort to reduce head count or exert control over the other entity, it will not work. This not only results in mistrust and resentment but could lead to negative public relations and/or possible legal issues. The real key to all these efforts is good planning, and clear and open communication between the BOEs and Town officials with the common goal of creating value for all stakeholders.


Clarity Of Purpose Fosters Successful Consolidation Phillip Penn, Finance Officer, Town of Canton

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n March of 2018 I joined the Town of Canton as the new Finance Officer and Treasurer. Prior to taking the role, I had spent three years as the Business Manager of Plymouth Public Schools and had held a number of senior corporate financial roles. One of my key responsibilities was integrating the finance functions of the Board of Education and the Town into a single unit. I was drawn to the new role as I think this combined structure is one that many smaller towns will consider as resources become more scarce and town governments are challenged to do more with less. The most obvious reason for combining the functions is one of cost savings, particularly if there’s a retirement or other transition that could serve as a catalyst for executing the combination. A caution I would point out, though, is that the amount of work being performed by the combined organization remains the same both pre- and post-integration. Thus, there needs to be some improvement in productivity to offset any change in staff. In Canton, we’re anticipating that moving to a common accounting software and changing some procedures will enable that greater efficiency. A key learning I’ve discovered, though, is that it’s beneficial to have both organizations on a common accounting platform prior to executing the combination. A second key benefit of the combination is that it provides the organization with a true end-to-end view of the financial position of the entire town. Having that view has enabled me to react quickly to major variances in actual expenditures versus our budget, manage cash levels more dynamically and see the annual budgeting process more holistically. There is also

greater collaboration between the Board of Education and Town to solve issues and to coordinate purchases, which over time will drive expenses lower. When I was in Plymouth, I tried to emphasize that even though the Board of Education and Town were two separate entities, everything was paid from a single checkbook. In Canton, we’re able to execute on that tenet in our day to day financial management. Another key benefit of a larger combined organization has been the ability to shift staff to cover particular business needs. While some of that resource shifting has been driven by unexpected absences, more of it was driven by the seasonality of some of our work, such as our annual audit and the preparation of our W-2 and 1099 reporting. I’m lucky to have a solid team of professionals working for me in Canton, who have embraced the change to a new combined department and have shown a willingness to pitch in beyond their normal roles and responsibilities to get the work done. To be clear, a combination of finance organizations won’t solve an issue with underperforming staff, but it may provide an opportunity to change staff into different seats on the bus — or move them off the bus altogether. When I was a candidate for this job, I asked the interview panel how in 12 months they would evaluate if the combination had been successful or not. The answer was that we would operate and look like one department to the internal and external customers we serve. While there’s still more work to be done, I think we’ve largely achieved that goal. Having clarity of purpose was a critical tool in leading the integration over the past year, and I would encourage other towns that are considering a similar combination to have equally well-defined objectives before initiating the process. In summary, clear goals, common systems and the right team of professionals can make these combinations successful. FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 21


CIRMA Highlights of CIRMA’s 2019 Annual Meeting of Members CIRMA achieves new financial and operational milestones

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IRMA held its Annual Meeting on January 25, 2019, with record attendance of more than 240 CIRMA members and strategic business partners. David Demchak, President and CEO, reported on CIRMA’s strong financial and operational performance for the 2017-18 year. Attendees participated in two educational sessions, Legal Pitfalls Municipal Officials Should Avoid and Municipal Cyber Threats. Barbara Henry, First Selectman of Roxbury and Chairman of the CIRMA Board, presided over the Business Meeting and election of the new CIRMA Board of Directors. She was also recognized for her outstanding service and leadership as the Chairman of the CIRMA Board of Directors from 2015 through March 2019. Financial Results Demchak reported 2017-18 was a year of very strong financial and operational performance for CIRMA. Total gross premium rose to $98 million; the highest premium level in CIRMA’s history. Members’ equity grew by 12% and reached $146 million, a new milestone. Assets grew by 5% to $383 million, a new high. In addition, for the second consecutive year, CIRMA declared a $5 million Member Equity Distribution to members. “Building financial strength is critical to CIRMA’s vitality and mission to create market stability and savings over the long term for our members,” stated Demchak. Rate Indications for 2019-20 “We understand your need for budget certainty,” said David Demchak. CIRMA’s rate stabilization programs and long-term rate dependability are excellent examples of what makes CIRMA unique. More than 150 members, with nearly $46 million in premium, participated in CIRMA’s Rate Stabilization Programs in 2017-18. For 2019-20, CIRMA’s rate need is right where its members expect, sharing in CIRMA’s continued success: • -2.5% Workers’ Compensation pool • -3.0% Liability-Auto-Property pool Operational Highlights CIRMA’s operational accomplishments complemented its financial results. Underwriting created new solutions with expanded coverage and stable pricing demonstrated by rate reductions and strong participation in CIRMA’s rate stabilization program. Claims continued to deliver bottom-line savings — $50 million in managed care savings for the year — while improving customer service approaches and care to injured employees. Risk Management engaged the highest number 22 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019

From left: Barbara Henry, First Selectman of Roxbury, Chairman of the Board, CIRMA; David Demchak, CIRMA President & CEO.

of employees, more than 14,000, in our training and education programs and provided more than 7,500 hours of consultative services,empowering members to better manage risk. All producing savings over the long-term and meeting our mission of providing high quality services tailored for Connecticut municipalities. Strategic Initiatives “Our environment is changing broadly, from new and expanding risks to a technology renaissance in the insurance industry. As we look ahead, there is much work to do and much to be excited about,” said David Demchak. To meet the demands of a changing market, CIRMA has developed five integrated strategic initiatives; Talent Management, Technology and Data initiatives that will target implantation of Best in Class technology, building on Financial Strength through effective capital management, expansion of New Product and Consultative Services and a continued focus on Enhancing the Customer Experience. All of these initiatives will enable CIRMA to provide CIRMA members with continued value, expertise, innovation, and market stability long into the future.


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CIRMA 2019 Excellence in Risk Management Awards Demonstrating outstanding leadership in risk management

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our CIRMA members received Excellence in Risk Management Awards at CIRMA’s Annual Meeting on January 25, 2019. Empowering CIRMA members to better manage risk is a cornerstone of CIRMA’s mission. CIRMA members’ risk management achievements have played a major part in creating the financially strong, stable, and innovative organization that CIRMA is today.

Award recipients were recognized for their innovative problem solving, excellence in management, and success in creating organizational change to successfully and effectively manage risk, making their organizations, their communities, and CIRMA better. A risk management grant of $2,500 was presented to each of the four award recipients.

Milford Public Schools

Town of Coventry Parks & Recreation Department

Substantial Impact on Total Cost of Risk

Sustained Risk Management Programs

From left: Louis Giancola, District IT Manager, Milford Public Schools; David Demchak, President & CEO, CIRMA; Jeffrey Nielsen, District School Safety & Security Coordinator, Milford Public Schools.

From left: John Elsesser, Town Manager, Coventry; Wendy Rubin, Director of Parks and Recreation, Coventry; David Demchak, President & CEO, CIRMA; Jen Rodgers, Recreation Commissioner, Coventry; Amanda Backhaus, Finance Director, Coventry.

Town of Rocky Hill

Middletown Public Schools

New & Innovative Risk Management Initiatives

Establishing Risk Management as an Organizational Priority

From left: Lieutenant Joseph Phelps, Rocky Hill; Dr. Mark Zito, Superintendent of Schools, Rocky Hill; Charles Zettergren, Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Operations, Rocky Hill; David Demchak, President & CEO, CIRMA; John Mehr, Town Manager, Rocky Hill; Dana McGee, Director of Human Resources and Legal Compliance, Rocky Hill; Camille Gilbert, Human Resources Assistant and Search Administrator, Rocky Hill; Michael D. Custer, Chief of Police, Rocky Hill; Sergeant Steven Morgan, Rocky Hill.

From left: William Porter, Detective Sergeant, Middletown Police SIU; Michael Skott, Director of Technology, Middletown P.S.; Marco Gaylord, Director of District Operations and Emergency Management Coordinator, Middletown P.S.; David Demchak, President & CEO, CIRMA; Lucy Gennuso, Insurance & Benefits Coordinator, Middletown P.S.; Michele S. DiMauro, Manager of Human Resources, Middletown P.S.; Diann Amici, Administrative Assistant, District Operations, Middletown P.S.; Mary Emerling, School Health Supervisor, Middletown P.S.

Please visit the Excellence in Risk Management Award page at www.CIRMA.org to view the 2019 award recipients’ videos. 24 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019


CIVIC AMENITIES

40,000 Trail Walkers Can’t Be Wrong Residents get a longer trail between Torrington and Winchester

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t seems that each year hiking and outdoor activity grow in popularity in the state of Connecticut, and in that spirit many towns and cities are looking to improve their trails where possible, and extend them, creating a web of trails throughout the state. One such project is the Sue Grossman Trail that runs between Torrington and Winchester. This trail follows an abandoned railroad bed for part of what was established in 2009 when it first opened, and begins in Winsted and crosses into Torrington. The Grossman Trail is extremely popular, with an estimated 42,107 individual trips along the trail in 2017 alone according to the CT Trail Census. Infra-red counters were placed at strategic points along the trails to count how many people passed. From the Torrington Hikes N Bikes newsletter in April 2018, the trail accounted for 84,215 hits (with an approximate 42,107 annual trips) “despite not being near any urban areas or high density residential areas.” The goal of extending the trail down into Torrington has not only health, but financial implications as well. The newsletter noted that a full third of trail users spend money at local restaurants and retail stores as part of their outdoor adventure, explaining that “com-

munities that are more walkable are attractive places to live is directly related to increased property values.” Both the Town of Winchester and the City of Torrington received a grant to complete the trail, which has been happening in phases for about 15 years. The municipalities have responded to the overwhelming popularity of this trail by working together to maximize the enjoyment for all. Although, the proposal submitted to the Town of Winchester states that the maintenance of the trail will fall on the Town, “this is a popular project and will likely receive ample support for the minimal amount of maintenance that will be required.” When completed, the path will be approximately 10 feet in width and paved, and the towns are working with the Army Corps of Engineers, CT DEEP, and the local Inland Wetlands Commissions to provide “environmental compatibility” and with conservation in mind. A completion date for the project has not currently been set, one resident suggested that markings should be placed around the trail and old railway describing the history and prior use of the land. It was agreed upon and thought to be a “good project for scouts to undertake.” FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 25


CIVIC AMENITIES Check It Out

Mansfield Public Library eliminates most fines on late books

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n a move that is sure to delight many bookworms, Mansfield Public Library has announced that it will no longer charge fines on much of what you can borrow including all children’s items and certain books.

According to a post by the Salt Lake City Public Library on Medium.Com, late fees accounted for just 0.3 percent of the library’s total revenue, making them nominal only.

Fines will still be charged for high use and high cost items, per the press release from the Windham Chamber, and these include items like tools, cake pans (yes, many libraries have begun loaning out cake pans), electronic devices, and museum passes.

In fact, fines are largely seen as an economic and mental barrier from taking advantage of libraries in the first place. Fines prevent people from taking out books for fear of fines, especially for those in low income families. Even a single fine might prevent a regular visitor from returning.

Additionally, if a book was transferred through the interlibrary system and that library does collect fines, then the Mansfield Public Library will follow the fining policy of the library that the book originated from. This is part of a larger movement for libraries across the country who are challenging the wisdom of collecting fines for late books in the first place. At a meeting of librarians in February of 2018, Gretchen Caserotti, a panel member from Meridian, Idaho noted that there is little evidence to support the idea that fines are a substantial revenue stream or that it’s an effective tool for teaching younger patrons responsibility.

Public libraries are an integral part of society, especially for those without the resources or space to fill up bookshelves at home. Mansfield Public Library’s decision to eliminate fines on most items is part of a trend that seeks greater access to one of our most precious resources: knowledge. And if there are people who do bring a book back late and feel guilty about it, the press release says that there will be a donation jar at the checkout counter where you can help support your local library.

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CIVIC PRIDE Windsor Locks Fetes Ella T. Grasso Yearlong celebration planned with special events all year

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ith a history as long and rich as Connecticut’s, there are sure to be many firsts along the way. We had the first telephone book, the first hamburger, and the first submarine. One of the state’s proudest firsts is the election of Ella T. Grasso, who was the first woman in the United States to be elected in her own right to high position of Governor. 2019 will be the celebration of what would have been her 100th birthday, and the town of Windsor Locks will be celebrating Grasso all year round. The festivities officially kicked off on January 1 at Windsor Locks Town Hall with a declaration by First Selectman Chris Kervick declaring 2019 the “Year of Ella.” Grasso will have a special place in all town events, with commemorations and portraits of the governor going up across town during Winterfest, Spring Festival, and the Lion’s Club Pancake Breakfast, and the Memorial Day parade on May 27. On May 10, Grasso’s 100th birthday, there will be a gathering of state officials in the old Judiciary Room of the Connecticut State Capitol building. According to the schedule found at ellagrasso100.weebly.com, there will be a reading of proclamations and commemoratives by officials all day. Perhaps there is no one better suited to be in the capitol for this commemoration than Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who released the biography Ella in 1984, just three short years after Grasso passed away from ovarian cancer at the age of 61. There will be a marathon reading of her biography in the Haskell Homestead room at the Windsor Locks Public Library beginning at 10 a.m. All are welcome to participate in the reading, or you can simply spend a day learning about the life and times of the 83rd governor of Connecticut.

Ella Grasso in 1975, the year she became governor. She was the first woman elected governor without being the wife or widow of a past governor.

One of the largest celebrations will take place on June 2, when a train ride will be made from Windsor Locks to the capitol where representatives from all 169 towns and cities will participate in a role call in honor of Grasso’s historic trip to become the first elected female governor.

The celebration will receive an honorary send-off on December 31, 2019, but until then expect to see and hear about Windsor Locks’ native daughter. Grasso has streets, buildings, and rooms named after her, and a statue at the capitol marking her importance to our state.

FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 27


CIVIC PRIDE Honoring Volunteers and Veterans Seymour dedicates a sign to those who built Veterans park

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he town of Seymour honored those who built a park to honor veterans by installing a sign containing the names of all those that chipped in to make Broad Street Park what it is today. Honoring veterans at the park was the long held dream of Al Yagovane, who first proposed the idea around three decades ago, originally envisioning a park to honor Korean and Vietnam War veterans. After receiving the go-ahead from former First Selectmen Robert Koskolowski and Paul Roy, Yagovane and a team of volunteers set out to making improvements to the park. Over time, the site saw improvements like landscaping, brick walkways, new park benches, a gazebo and much more. The most recent expansion that happened in 2013 expanded the borders of the park and added many modern features. They paid for these improvements using money, time, and work donated to the Broad Street Park Committee. According to an article from the Valley Independent Sentinel, The Katharine Matthies Foundation donated $20,000, while other donations came in the form of sponsored bricks. Others donated work by laying the bricks and planting the trees.

Overall, nearly 100 volunteers participated in the project, including volunteers from a dozen local contractors. Yagovane made a special call out to Broad Street Park Committee members Michael Horbal, Bill Wilkin, Sandy Cass, Melissa Gerard and Tom Lavranchuk, who Yagovane is quoted as calling “the people with the brains to make the decisions.� The park has become the de facto place to hold Veterans Day celebrations each November, while also being a place to reflect on the sacrifices made year-round. At the dedication ceremony, there were veterans from as far back as World War II, Current Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller and Selectmen Karen Stanek and Al Bruno, Ansonia Mayor Jim Della Volpe, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and State Sen. Robert Kane (R-32). They all joined together to not only thank the veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice, but also those volunteers who made it possible. All of the volunteers are called out by name on a large aluminum sign that adorns the park. It cost $5,000 and was completed by the town and Al Yagovane and the Broad Street Park Committee that saw the project through to completion.

cdmsmith.com 28 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019


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The Economic Development section of CT&C is sponsored by New Haven Terminal, Inc. Learn more at: www.nhterminal.com

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Bringing The Past Back To Life

City of Norwich OKs redevelopment of historic wool mill

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fter years of lying dormant with a revolving door of owners, the historically important Yantic Woolen Company Mill will soon see new life as a 151-room hotel, after the zoning application passed unanimously with support from all areas. The structure was first erected in 1865 by E. Winslow Williams after a fire destroyed an already working flannel mill that had been founded by Williams’ father, Captain Erastus Williams, according to the application to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Early on in its history, it saw major growth, demanding the addition of looms and wings to match the output that was demanded in 19th century Connecticut. Because of the large size of the business, it became cumbersome after the Williamses sold the operation. It produced goods for the government in World War I, but until 1968, the building went through a succession of owners who limited its use or opened the factory only part time. The company that purchased the building, the Hale Manufacturing Company of Putnam, modified the equipment to produce Rayon and other synthetic materials. This lasted until 1989 when the building was left dormant. In 2011, the building went through an auction with the owners hoping that the building could fetch $2 million. At the time, this failed and the building was sold for just $209,000 in 2012 to a New York computer specialist according to the Norwich Bulletin. In the last 30 years, the building has had five owners, mirroring the early 20th century when no one owner could hold onto the property. The news of the latest developer’s plans were welcome for a city that has seen a building go underutilized for three decades. According to the application the developers, Mill Development CT LLC, the request was to convert the mill space into the aforementioned 151-room hotel (nearly one room for every year the building has stood), but with amenities including a tennis court, playground, indoor pool, restaurant, and business center, with site improvements that include paved parking, drainage, utility connections, landscaping and exterior lighting. Owing to the largesse of the building, these improve-

ments will all fit comfortably on the footprint of the original mill area. Additionally, the developers are lucky to have chosen this building for improvements: because the first mill was destroyed in a fire, the Williamses spared no expense when the building was constructed. From the NRHP application, it is noted that “features found in the Yantic mill reflect the period’s ongoing search for greater fire resistance,” continuing that “in addition to the use of masonry for the walls, the heavy timber interior framing and the thick floors built up of solid layers of wood were intended to minimize damage from fire.” This doesn’t mean that there will be no work associated from the developer’s point of view, as other mills in the area had fallen victim to fire hazards in the past. Peter Nystrom, the Mayor of Norwich, spoke in favor of the project as a taxpayer during the planning and zoning meeting, while City Historian Dale Plummer, and Norwich Historical District Commission sent in letters showing their support for the project. As Mayor, Nystrom said to the Norwich Bulletin that the building is in “the gateway to our city when you’re coming from the capital. Gateways introduce people to what your city is about. We want to preserve that beautiful mill and engage it with the rest of the city.” With a historic location and a good plan from the developers, the Yantic Woolen Mills building will continue to be a part of the future of Norwich instead of being relegated to the past. FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 29


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Art Comes To Main Street

Ansonia Welcomes Valley Arts Council to their renaissance

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onnecticut’s towns and cities have a rich history with their main streets, and those that read our in-depth exploration of the topic in our June 2018 issue will know how integral a diverse main street is to the economic development of a municipality. The city of Ansonia is experiencing a period of growth on Main Street, and keeps growing with the addition of the Valley Arts Council at 260 Main Street.

The town and Council have plans to work closely together, with many collaborations between the Cultural Commission and the Council. Already in the ramp up to the opening of the new space, the two worked on a Scarecrow competition at the 11th Annual Harvest Festival held by the city. Most recently they held a Gingerbread House Baking contest with all proceeds going to support the Council.

The appropriately named Main Street Gallery was feted by Ansonia in December, which will sell art and photography from local artists, after the Council moved from their longtime Elizabeth Street home in Derby.

Quoted in the Valley Independent Sentinel, the Council’s president Rich DiCarlo said that they “feel really comfortable in [their] new space; the city and its people have been very welcoming.”

Western Connecticut is no stranger to art, but the Council felt there was no “binding thread” that could celebrate the arts, especially within the Valley community. After a study done in the early 2000s, the Council was formed.

In addition to serving as a gallery for local artists to sell their work, the Council also envisions using the space as a hub for learning and educational programming. Per the Sentinel article, they aim to start a new video program called “Art Talks,” as well as “Art Walks,” which will have artists working en plein air and exhibiting their work outdoors.

They found that “there exists a vibrant arts and cultural faction within each of the seven valley towns,” which help explain the tenacity of the Council, and a welcome addition to Ansonia’s revitalization, what many are calling a renaissance.

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Currently the gallery is hosting an un-themed exhibit to start off the new year, but will host “Go” starting February 16th, an exhibit that explores transportation, getting from one place to another. That show will run for one month.


EDUCATION The Education section of CT&C is sponsored by Gateway Community College’s GREAT Center. Learn more at: www.gatewayct.edu/Great-Center

Education, Technically Speaking

Danbury teacher celebrated for tech education excellence

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elebrating the work that teachers do is an important part of our education system. Not only does it highlight the necessary work these people do, but often, the recipients provide a role model for current and future teachers who want to excel. Sterling Miller of Danbury High School is just one of those teachers. He was chosen as the 2018-19 Teacher of the Year by the Connecticut Technology Engineering Education Association (CTEEA), which is part of the International group (ITEEA). According to the press release from the Danbury Board of Education, the CTEEA is a professional organization for technology education professionals, and they highlight one high school and one middle school teacher a year. Sterling Miller is a man with many hats, including Faculty Barbeque Team Member. While barbeque is good, it is his work with students that makes Miller exemplary. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM, has increasingly been cited as one of the most important fields for students looking toward future employment, as those areas will see the most growth. Miller has been on the forefront of those fields, including publishing an Augmented Reality book that explains STEM concepts with the aid of a smartphone. The technology is not new, but has become increasingly accessible as smartphone makers such as Apple begin to integrate the technology into their products. The popular video game Pokemon Go is one such example of an augmented reality app. He also is in charge of video production and the Hatters TV program that livestreams Board of Education meetings, DHS sporting events, PSAs with students, and even graduation. Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella said “We are so fortunate to have teachers like Mr. Miller in our schools,” continuing that “he is very well-liked by colleagues and students alike with his approachable demeanor and outstanding professional attitude. He fosters the kind of growth that will help prepare students for both college and career after high school.”

Sterling Miller, CTEEA 2018-19 Teacher of the Year

He will be awarded at the ITEEA 2019 Conference, the group’s 81st annual, in March in Kansas City, Missouri. His award was announced at Portland High School this past November. Also awarded was the 2019 Program of the Year at Daniel Hand High School in Madison, as well as special recognitions for Camille Westfall, of Plainville, and Kurt Dougan of Simsbury. Jonelle DiSette of Masuk High School in Monroe won the 2018-19 Harrison H. Baker CTEEA Award. FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 31


EDUCATION

When I Paint My Masterpiece

Students have chance to learn about town’s past by creating its future

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he opportunities for an artist to work on large scale municipal art projects are few and far between, let alone for children artists looking to explore their creativity. That’s why a project like American Mural Project (AMP) is so special, as it has announced a partnership with Winchester Public Schools. The mural, which is on track to be the largest indoor collaborative artwork in the world, is a “celebration of American ingenuity, productivity, and commitment to work,” according to the project’s website. It is situated in two former mill buildings on Whiting Street in Winsted, Connecticut, which will house both the mural and a visitor’s center. Part of the goal of the project, the brainchild of artist Ellen Griesedieck, is to include as many people as possible from all corners of the country, with 15,000

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children and adults who have helped create pieces of the mural, and an additional 30,000 volunteers to help finish the project. Winsted was chosen as the site of the project for a rich history in the kind of work that the mural aims to celebrate. The site was a brownfield, and through grants it was able to begin renovations in 2017, nearly 11 years after the project initially secured the buildings. The building will be open to the public in 2019, as construction of the mural is still ongoing. Winchester Public Schools CHAMPs program that is partnering with the AMP is aimed at after-school enrichment. The program has provided after-school programs for students in K-6 since 2011, which has included sports activities, choirs, and other arts programs. Students will attend programs at the Whiting Mills until the AMP space opens up later this year.


EDUCATION

In a statement to the Torrington Register Citizen, Theresa Padin, director of CHAMPs said that “students have the opportunity to work among studio spaces housing working artists and craftsmen, in addition to outdoor space that is perfect for small group instruction, nature exploration, and creating art and music in a natural environment.” Going on, she says that it is through this partnership that the students will learn about their community; “from the rich history of Whiting Mills to the evolution of the mural, students will be linked to the past, present, and future of Winsted.” America recognized the importance of public art, and citizens knowledgeable in the history of their area. With this partnership, Winchester has an entire group of children who will grow up with both already instilled in them. FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 33


ENVIRONMENT When The Weather Outside is Frightful

Bloomfield’s Winter Ordinances in effect through the end of the season

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lthough it is February, that doesn’t mean that we are free from the threat of a snowstorm by a longshot. Between March 11 and 14, 1888, the entire East Coast was hit with a blizzard that produced snowfalls of 50 inches in some places and snowdrifts as tall as buildings. In any amount of snow, it’s good to have a plan like Bloomfield’s Winter Ordinances, which provide a helpful guideline no matter where you are. Most towns and cities may eliminate any or all street parking during snow emergencies, not only to protect citizens, but also to facilitate clean up once the snow has stopped. Places like Downtown New Haven have signs with lights that when lit warn drivers that there is a parking ban in effect. In Bloomfield, they ask that you not park any vehicle on any public street in excess of thirty minutes between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. One major part of cleanup is the removal of snow in public areas. The tenant, occupant, owner or agent of any premises where there is a sidewalk must remove snow within two hours of the end of the storm or within three hours after sunrise if the snowstorm happened at night. Additionally snow must be removed from fire hydrants if they are on your portion of the street within the

same timeframe. They need a three foot radius around the fire hydrant so that fire fighters have easy access should a fire emergency occur. Where you place your snow is just as important as removing it. It is considered obstruction to traffic, a finable offense, if you were to place all the snow you just shoveled off your sidewalks back onto the streets. Other tips and requests are that you place trash and recycling bins at the edge of your driveway if you have one, and not in the roadway. Also, removing basketball hoops during these months can prevent obstruction or damage in the case that it gets tipped over into the street or onto a car. Most importantly though, residents should stay safe by preparing for a snowstorm if possible, and then remaining in place if the weather is severe enough. Many municipalities like Bloomfield offer e-mails that will update you on policies like Winter Ordinances, or closures or severe weather warnings. Whether it is just a few inches or a once-in-a-century storm, it is everyone’s duty to facilitate the safety of all and the ease with which the town can get back to work.

CCM Job Bank

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To place or view an ad, please visit the CCM Municipal Job Bank at

http://ccm-ct.org 34 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019


GOVERNANCE

On The Right To Vote

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The message was loud and clear. While election law prevents you from changing election centers in the middle of an election season — i.e. between a primary and general election — the Board of Directors and Registrar of Voters gave suggestions for voting locations and

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At the meeting of the Board of Directors in November of 2018, some residents implored the town to act quickly on adding a new district, with one resident saying that “it is very important that we send a message to voters in [the Spruce Street neighborhood] that their voices are important.”

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It was made clear in 2018 that those measures had not gone quite far enough to alleviate the long waits. There were additional problems for the residents of the Spruce Street neighborhood, many of whom had no transportation to the Highland Park school, which was not accessible by bus line.

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Street Map 2018 Town of Manchester, CT

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9th Assembly District (7 & 8)

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The issue starts with the 2010 Census when Connecticut was redistricted, and Manchester went from ten voting districts down to eight to accommodate new State House districts. There had been initial complaints about long lines and waits in 2012, which the Board of Directors and Registrar of Voters sought to ease by adding additional checker lines and election greeters.

A Legend

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f the highest responsibilities of a democracy is ensuring the right to vote for all eligible voters. While all American citizens have been guaranteed the right to vote since 1924, there still have been hindrances to ensuring that right is guaranteed. That is why it is important to celebrate towns like Manchester who have done what they can to ensure that their citizens are not disenfranchised.

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district boundaries, and voted on the matter in the December 2018 meeting, where the measure was passed. The new district will go into effect in 2019, and the voting will take place at the Bennet Academy. The boundaries split the Highland Park district that had more than 5,500 voters into two districts with just more than 2,000 each. To put this into hard numbers, if every eligible person voted, the Highland Park school would have to handle 392 voters per hour, or nearly seven people a minute. Splitting up the

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districts will make it a much more manageable three. This will happen just in time for the 2020 election, which can be expected to be a historic turnout year, at minimal cost to the city, but to the great benefit of all of Manchester’s citizens. Paraphrasing Lincoln at Gettysburg, it is of utmost necessity that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people should not cease to exist. The way we ensure the vision of Lincoln, is to ensure that the right to vote is accorded to every eligible person.

FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 35

8


GOVERNANCE (Just Like) Starting Over

Brookfield looks to reinvigorate growth with easy-to-understand rules

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ometimes starting from scratch is the easiest way to build back up. A poet will find a new page, a painter will gesso their canvas, but the process is much harder in government. Addendums and amendments can obfuscate rather than clarify; language and technology change creating a gulf between law and reality. It is for this reason that Brookfield has decided to modernize and clarify their Zoning Regulations. Starting in 2016, the town aimed to update the regulations, which had become a hurdle that many businesses and homeowners found unnecessarily difficult to navigate. According to First Selectman Steve Dunn, quoted in the Danbury News Times, the town’s rules and regulations were contained in a book that was five to six inches thick. Recognizing the difficulty in parsing a book of that size, the Zoning Rewrite Ad Hoc Committee was created in March of 2017 with the goal of reducing time, costs, error and need for technical assistance in order to understand and comply with regulations. They identified many problematic standards and regulations, including small sheds and pools, chickens and roosters, outdoor music, and Historic District enforce-

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ment among others. Also identified were provisions needed for outdoor wood furnaces, Town Center sign design guidelines, and ADA accommodations. Throughout the process, the new rules were written with Plain English in mind, meaning that it is free of technical jargon and should be easily understood. With a year’s worth of rewrites and revisions, the regulations zoning book lost four to five inches in thickness, coming in at just under 250 pages. Not only will the law be more easily understood, but residents will have the option to fill out paperwork online. This process is currently limited to applicants who are looking to make small changes such as backyard sheds and room additions, according to the News Times. Furthermore, they will not have to appear before the land use boards if the zoning laws are followed. Dunn notes that by removing simple decisions like sheds, that gives the zoning board much more time and flexibility to discuss larger matters. The new Zoning Regulations went into effect in December 2018, and if the conversion is successful, Brookfield will see reinvigorated investment in development and growth.

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36 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019

©2019 ConnectiCare, Inc. & Affiliates


HOUSING What Is Affordable?

New Haven tackles rental affordability with task force

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n order to create affordable housing, one must first define “affordable.” That is the problem at the heart of the Affordable Housing Task Force in New Haven, which seeks to find a solution to square a circle of low wages and high rents.

Unfortunately, the average rent in New Haven is $1250, which doesn’t account for size of apartment. According to rentcafe.com, a two-bedroom apartment, suitable for most families with children, skyrockets the cost of rent to an average of $1762.

From a New Haven Independent article by Markeisha Ricks, the task force has six months to develop policies and recommendations, ones that will foster a solution rather than keep patching a broken system.

Whether renting a studio or a two-bedroom, a person making the median income could not easily afford rent in New Haven.

Over the last ten years, and kicked into high gear recently, the city has seen a crop of luxury apartments throughout many of its neighborhoods, but especially downtown where buildings with retail space on the ground floor and apartments above are becoming increasingly common. At the same time, low-income families are being removed from condemned building projects like Church Street South and 66 Norton St., which were so severely problematic that emergency orders were given to remove tenants and place them in hotels. A common definition of the “affordable” in affordable housing is the median income metric, which is nearly $40,000 in New Haven. Using the common 30 percent rule that says that you should spend no more than 30 percent of your monthly earnings on housing, that person can afford rent of $1000.

In the article, Ricks cites Otis Johnson Jr., a task force member, saying that while there are people in the city who can rent a two-bedroom apartment for $850, many of these apartments don’t meet code, like the aforementioned 66 Norton St. complex. While the creation of these higher-end apartment complexes should have in theory decreased the need for an already existing stock of rental apartments, time has not shown a decrease in cost. According to the metrics on rentcafe.com, the average rent has increased every four months since May of 2015. It is up to the task force to decide how to deal with this issue, but nearly every town and city in Connecticut faces a similar disconnect. It’s hard to take a look at these numbers and not think of the out-migration this state has faced. Affordable housing should be affordable, for everyone above and below the median income line.

CONNECTICUT In Connecticut, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,295. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities — without paying more than 30% of income on housing — a household must earn $4,317 monthly or $51,799 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into an hourly Housing Wage of:

FACTS ABOUT CONNECTICUT: STATE FACTS Minimum Wage

$10.10

Average Renter Wage

$17.38

2-Bedroom Housing Wage

$24.90

Number of Renter Households

454,490

Percent Renters

34%

* Ranked from Highest to Lowest Two-Bedroom Housing HOUSING Wage. Includes District of Columbia and Puerto Rico MOST EXPENSIVE AREAS

WAGE

#9*

STATE STATE RANKING

99

Work Hours Per Week At Minimum Wage To Afford a 2-Bedroom Rental Home (at FMR)

2.5

Number of Full-Time Jobs At Minimum Wage To Afford a 2-Bedroom Rental Home (at FMR)

$24.90 PER HOUR

STATE HOUSING WAGE

79

Work Hours Per Week At Minimum Wage To Afford a 1-Bedroom Rental Home (at FMR)

2

Number of Full-Time Jobs At Minimum Wage To Afford a 1-Bedroom Rental Home (at FMR)

Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition $1,295

Two bedroom FMR One bedroom FMR

Stamford-Norwalk HMFA

$38.19

Rent affordable at area median income (AMI)

Danbury HMFA

$30.94

Rent affordable with full-time job paying mean renter wage

$1,040 $2,439

FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 37 $904 Rent affordable at 30% of AMI


HOUSING Collaborating For Crumbling Foundations Municipal, State, and Federal Government collaborate on problem

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ne of the biggest topics in Connecticut housing has been the crumbling concrete foundations across the state, mostly concentrated in the Northeast corner. Because of the magnitude, it is an example of local governments working with foundations, representatives at the federal and state level, councils of government, and local individuals aimed at solving a troubling issue.

This is at the center of the CT Supreme Court case, which seeks to find out whether crumbling foundations count as a “collapse.” If they do, then the insurance would have to cover the damage. A resource has been set up under the name Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company, Inc. Headed by Michael Maglaras, this group is cited by many municipalities as the number one resource on how to apply for claims or to learn more about the issue. crumblingfoundations.org/important-update-january-14/

The problem comes from the presence of pyrrhotite in concrete foundations, which reacts with oxygen and water, and causes foundations to crumble over time. The only way to confirm that the foundation has evidence of pyrrhotite is through an expensive test, but many Connecticut towns have fought to lessen this hardship. The towns of Coventry, Ashford, Tolland, Willington, Columbia, Bolton, and Union have joined together for the Concrete Foundation Testing Program, funded by a Community Development Block Grant. Each household that believes it is victim to the faulty foundation problem, is eligible for a grant up to $5,000 for four core samples.

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Stonington

Reported Incidents

Westport

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Stratford Bridgeport

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Brooklyn

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Trumbull

Durham

Wallingford

North Haven

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While the situation is horrible for the potential thousands of homeowners affected by this contaminated concrete, it has sparked the collaboration from all corners of government to get this fixed in the best interest of Connecticut’s residents.

North Canaan Salisbury

New Milford

An editorial in the Hartford Courant described the current situation as living above a slow-moving underground hurricane.

The topic is set to hit the CT Supreme Court, and later on this year homeowners who have filed claims will start to receive money from a special fund set up specifically to help those affected. The trick is to find and classify all homes that have the faulty concrete.

The Capital Region Council of Governments, where many of the homes are situated, also has a list of Qualified Vendors for homeowners. They have been working with an ad-hoc committee for two years to provide towns and homeowners with assistance in determining

Washington

Houses must be located in one of the towns above, built during or after 1983, and evidence of homeowner’s insurance must be provided.

qualified contractors. The landing page (crcog.org/crumbling-foundations) is also a resource on how best to handle things like IRS deductions on work done, and guiding towns on how to handle tax reassessments based on structural engineering reports.

20 Miles

75+

1 - Confirmed

30 - 74 10 - 29

Insurance Department Report

2 - 10

Self-Reported Unconfirmed

Updated 9/26/2018; data compiled by CRCOG from Town Assessors, Department of Housing, Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, and the Connecticut Insurance Department.

38 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019


PUBLIC SAFETY The Public Safety section of CT&C is sponsored by Emergency Resource Management. Learn more at: http://ermanagement.com

Open Borders To Stop Crime

East Lyme, Waterford, and New London agree to cooperate

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unicipal borders have been a hot topic as the need for regionalization becomes increasingly important. These lines drawn on maps are superficial on the ground — save for a sign welcoming you to town, neither roads nor people drastically change from town to town. Sharing services makes sense because it saves money and makes services more efficient no matter the cartography. It could also mean safer residents, as East Lyme, Waterford, and New London look to break down barriers in fighting crime. The three municipalities began work on an agreement that would support regional police cooperation late last year in response to the changing times, both in terms of regionalization and the way crimes such as narcotics dealing occur. As the law stands, there is limited power of police departments to detain a criminal that has crossed over municipal boundaries. These include the “hot pursuit” laws that make it necessary to follow a dangerous suspect, but otherwise protocol mandates that they call for backup from whatever town they are currently in as they would not have the authority to arrest the criminal. The agreement would make necessary changes so that East Lyme, Waterford, and New London could share full arresting powers. In a quote to WTNH, New London Police Chief Peter Reichard said “I think it enhances what all three agencies can do.”

The New London Police Chief said that breaking down barriers will enhance agencies’ ability to do the job.

He goes on to note narcotics dealing in particular, as that has changed over the past 20 years stating “everybody’s using cellular phones. They’re using digital media. They’re using Facebook selling their drugs. They go from town to town in two or three minutes.” This kind of cooperation will help foster the end of the narcotics epidemic that has rattled the entire nation in the past 20 years by getting the drugs and drug dealers off the street quicker. Because of that, this agreement has already been signed by Waterford First Selectman Daniel Steward, passed the City Council in New London, with East Lyme looking to move this along early this year. The municipalities also have the support of the editorial board of

the New London Day which has “long advocated for regional municipal collaboration and cooperation in a variety of areas. […] This regional policing agreement would take one more step in the right direction and could serve as a model program for other municipalities seeking improved inter-town public safety.” Summing up the case for cooperation, Chief Reichard said to WTNH, “utimately all these arrestees will be in the same courthouse underneath the same prosecutor before the same judges.” Fighting the terrible drug epidemic in Connecticut should be a priority for police forces across the state, and any agreement that fosters cooperation and success should not just be embraced, but championed.

FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 39


PUBLIC SAFETY

Turning Swords into Ploughshares

Hartford and New Haven invest in goodwill and public safety

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onnecticut as a state has taken the lead on gun safety, with Senators Murphy and Blumenthal fighting for higher standards in background checks, and advocating for the banning of bump stocks, which the president’s administration followed suit with. While neither the president nor the senators are looking to take away the rights to a gun, there has been a movement to get illegal guns off the streets in two Connecticut cities, with New Haven and Hartford initiating gun buybacks at the end of last year. A gun buyback program is unique in that it is a voluntary forfeiture of firearms with the promise of some sort of offer, most commonly gift certificates. According to an NPR story from early 2013, these programs date back as far as the 1960s, offering the community a chance to do something about gun violence. The most important feature of the program is that the police will take back the firearm with no questions asked about how the returner came to be in possession of that particular firearm.

Reports from the two police departments put the number of guns voluntarily handed in at 262, which includes seven assault rifles between the two departments. In recent years, Hartford and New Haven have seen dramatic reductions in their gun related homicides with just 32 in 2018, when New Haven had 32 in 2011 alone. Everyone agrees that even one death is too many. Gun buybacks are just one facet of gun reforms that will help stem violent gun-related homicides. In Australia, these programs became part of a move to stem a gun violence epidemic in the mid’90s, and the country saw a dramatic reduction in gun deaths, from 2.9 per 100,000 in 1996 to 0.9 per 100,000 in 2016, according to TheConversation.com, which took a look at the effects of the country’s suite of laws.

The 262 guns that were handed in, were handed in of the free will of those that possessed the guns.

In New Haven, police offered $25 for smaller pistols, $50 for rifles and shotguns, $100 for magazine and revolver-style handguns, and $200 for assault weapons, with similar amounts in Hartford. Both the Hartford and New Haven buybacks were held in partnership with The Injury Free Coalition for Kids of New Haven, YaleNew Haven Hospital, and the Newtown Foundation. 40 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019

Most importantly, in America, the Second Amendment commonly understood provides the right to bear arms, and as such the benefit of a gun buyback is that no one is asked to relinquish their right to legally own a gun. The 262 guns that were handed in, were handed in of the free will of those that possessed the guns. The goal of a buyback isn’t to imperil those rights, but to increase safety. If we look to places like Australia as a model, then gun buybacks will surely lead to safer cities.


SOCIAL WELFARE Norwich Offers Narcan Training City looks to stem tragic end of opioid addiction

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orwich is offering Narcan kits and training to local businesses as part of a measure to help the city deal with the opioid crisis. The city was the recipient of a $7,500 grant from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut requested by City Manager John Salomone. The full amount of the grant went toward purchasing 100 kits, many which were given to city employees in the case of need. The remaining kits that are going to local businesses will be concentrated in the downtown area because it has had the highest concentration of overdoses. This is a problem area for many towns and cities, as evidenced by the event that took place on the New Haven Green last summer that resulted in nearly 100 overdoses where Narcan was used extensively. But Youth and Family Services Coordinator Angelo Callis said in a statement to the Norwich Bulletin that an overdose can happen anywhere. The impetus for requesting the grant was an incident that happened at the Norwich Library, where they had to use Narcan on an overdosing person less than a month after it made the decision to begin carrying the life-saving drug. The total opioid deaths for the state of Connecticut are projected to be around 1,000, remaining level with 2017, but even a single death is a problem. Many illicit drugs such as heroin have been linked to this crisis, but the major cause has been fentanyl, a synthetic overthe-counter opioid that is many times stronger than heroin, and it accounted for more than two-thirds of overdoses in 2017. Administering Narcan will give those who had over-

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MUNICIPAL BUSINESS ASSOCIATE GOLD

Norwich’s Otis Library

dosed on an opioid a second chance at life, but it is the last line of defense in the opioid crisis. Preventing people from getting hooked on the drug has been the focus of cities like Norwich, and those around the state. But preparedness is a necessary step as municipalities and the state take measures to stop the problem before it starts. The trainings are meant to be short, so that businesses know what to look for when identifying opioid overdoses and how to go about administering the drug. Businesses that have already taken advantage of the free training include a coffee shop, co-working space, and a coin and jewelry shop. According to Youth and Family Services, the remaining Narcan kits are being handed out on a first-come, firstserved basis, and more trainings are being planned in the coming year.

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CCM appreciates their support and commitment to CCM and its members. FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 41


SOCIAL WELFARE Smokin’ Ain’t Allowed in School Hartford raises legal age to purchase tobacco products

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n Hartford, you won’t be able to buy a pack of cigarettes until you can buy a beer, as the municipality raised the legal age to 21 to purchase tobacco products. There is plenty of evidence that smoking tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars, chewing tobacco, and other products containing nicotine are highly addictive. These products are also known carcinogens, which increases the danger of getting hooked on them in the first place. Raising the age at which people can buy tobacco products hopefully puts the dangerous substance out of the reach of young people who are more susceptible to addiction. According to the Truth Initiative, which has been a leader of anti-smoking campaigns for years, “nearly all smoking initiation occurs before the age of 26. The younger that someone is when she or he starts using tobacco, the more likely she or he will become addicted.” Eighteen is a long-standing transition age as it is the year when you can first vote, enter the military, and prior to 1984, the drinking age. That too was raised nationally when Ronald Reagan signed the Minimum Drinking Age Act that mandated the drinking age of 21. The law has been a resounding success with drunk driving accidents plummeting by 50 percent after the passage of the law, with the greatest drops in 16- to 20-year-olds according to the National Institute of Health.

The age of 21 is strategic in that many high schoolers reach 18 before graduation. The prevalence of smoking in high school creates a culture of acceptance, and risks some kids even thinking it is “cool” to smoke. The three year gap greatly limits the access of cigarettes to those in high school. While Hartford is the first municipality in Connecticut to raise the purchasing age, it is not the first in this trend by a long shot. According to the Hartford Courant “six states — California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Hawaii and Maine — have adopted similar rules, along with dozens of municipalities, including New York City, Washington, D.C., and San Antonio.” Locally, Central Falls, R.I. has approved similar legislation. While the federal law states that tobacco shall not be sold to a person under the age of 18 years, it is not illegal for people of any age to smoke tobacco. Other campaigns have decreased smoking in teens in recent years as half as many high school students were smoking cigarettes from 2011 to 2017, but electronic cigarette use has been on the rise in that same time, outpacing cigarettes by nearly 300 percent according to the Centers for Disease Control. These products are part of the Hartford ban as well. The city hopes to become a leader in the state in trying to reduce children from getting hooked on tobacco products, but a bill to raise the age statewide failed last year.

EVERY DAY, MORE THAN 3,200 YOUTH UNDER AGE 18 TRY A CIGARETTE FOR THE FIRST TIME.

42 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019


TECHNOLOGY The Technology section of CT&C is sponsored by Digital BackOffice. Learn more at: www.digitalbackoffice.com

New Year, New You

Pomfret, Thompson, and Putnam line up for new websites

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n a move that’s sure to excite the mobile and tech savvy; Pomfret, Thompson, and Putnam upgraded their websites for 2019. The websites were created by CivicPlus, which was recognized as a GovTech 100 Company for 2019, which recognizes companies looking to improve the public sector, marking the fourth consecutive year on that list. Noting the changing media landscape, CivicPlus offered this: “At a time when YouTube is replacing cable viewership, and the average citizen has seven social media accounts, your website users’ expectations for engaging, valuable content has never been higher.” They suggest that being your own biggest critic is the easiest way to know if you are meeting your citizens’ expectations. This includes keeping information up to date and easy to read; if you find it too cluttered, everyone else probably does too. In addition to streamlining the website for viewing on computers, CivicPlus has integrated mobile formatting so that the website retains full functionality whether the user is on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Making the website compatible with new technology means that more people can use it. This transition is important because as tech evolves, where people access the internet has changed. From 2009, when the iPhone first gained prominence, to 2018, the percentage of web pages served to mobile phones has gone from 0.7

percent to 52.2 percent, according to a report from Statista.com. Making sure that the website has a user-friendly interface is another major concern, and the redesigns have put the most important information front and center. Each website differs slightly, but some of the main features allow residents to look for online payment portals, minutes & agendas, or even employment opportunities, while businesses can look for bids/RFPs. Pomfret was enthused by the changes, posting: “Pomfret’s web site is boasting a new look! We will continue to offer the same great content, eAlerts, and timely news — with the added feature of compati-

bility with phones and tablets!” They added that they will be integrating a social media platform as well as a Selectman’s Blog in the future. Cited in a Norwich Bulletin article, First Selectman of Thompson Ken Beausoleil said that based on a recent branding study done by the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, there’s an understanding that a town’s website can either raise up or hurt a town. By making the website more accessible and easier to use, Pomfret, Thompson, and Putnam have decided to move their websites into the future.

FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 43


TECHNOLOGY An Ounce Of Prevention

Norwalk looks to stop cyberattacks before they happen

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ocated in the heart of Fairfield County, the City of Norwalk is a diverse community rich in culture and personality. The city, one of Connecticut’s largest, is home to many municipal employees across many different fields. The Norwalk IT Department is tasked with providing IT services to all those city departments and agencies except the Board of Education, and they needed a good solution for cybersafety. “We take the safety, security, and privacy of our residents very seriously. We must safeguard the public from those who wish to use their data and information for nefarious reasons,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling. “Norwalk is not in a unique situation as municipalities across the state and country are under constant cyber-attacks. However, we have shown our commitment to keep Norwalk ahead of the latest digital threats by investing in new software and technology. I am fully supportive of our IT staff and the great work they do every day.” Like many other IT departments, their mission statement includes: • Delivering high-quality, effective, reliable, sustainable, and secure information systems • Developing and promoting consistent technical standards • Fostering innovation and leadership in e-government in support of residents, staff, visitors, businesses, and other government agencies • Providing effective and efficient technical services and support to city departments and staff • Reducing operating costs and promoting efficiency The City of Norwalk’s partnership with Digital BackOffice began in 2004 with the installation and operation of a Gigabit Ethernet

wide area network connecting 34 city and school district buildings. The fiber optic metropolitan area network operated by Digital BackOffice now operates at speeds up to 10 Gigabits to some sites. Digital BackOffice also provides internet gateway services to the City of Norwalk with a managed Palo Alto Networks Next Generation Firewall. In 2017, Karen Del Vecchio, Norwalk’s Director of Information Technology, engaged Francis Palacio, President of Digital BackOffice, to assist in identifying a solution that could protect endpoint devices in the police and fire departments, public library, and city hall departments. Digital BackOffice makes a practice of only promoting products they themselves have in production and truly believe in, so Palacio knew Palo Alto Networks’ advanced endpoint protection solution, Traps, would be a good fit. Palacio explained, “We are truly convinced that the Palo Alto Networks platform is the best platform for the City of Norwalk, not only based on reports from organizations like Gartner and NSS Labs but from our first-hand experience with helping organizations recover from successful attacks.” After evaluating several anti-virus vendors, the City of Norwalk selected Palo Alto Networks Traps. Although there were many factors that went into making this decision, Del Vecchio specifically spoke to the solution’s ability to integrate with their Palo Alto Networks Next Generation Firewall service, the built-in threat intelligence using Palo Alto Networks WildFire, the cloud-based management software which allows for automatic updates and the functional reporting that can be generated on a regular cadence. A little over a year into their Traps deployment, Del Vecchio was

44 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019

Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling

particularly animated about the value Norwalk gets out of the Traps Management Service (TMS) console and its ability to manage security events and monitor endpoint health. The TMS provides weekly, automatic reports that detail the thousands of attacks that have been detected and prevented. The report identifies the source of each threat, the intended destination of each threat and the number of attempts each threat made. These tools help the city identify suspect endpoints, allowing the customer to remediate problem devices while preventing replication to other endpoints. “We have not had any ransomware attacks and no signs of infection on the network since deploying Traps,” Del Vecchio said. This was all made possible through Digital BackOffice’s partner-managed offering, which gives the City of Norwalk the ability to consume the solution as a service. She concluded by saying, “Working with Francis and the DBO team was great. Their depth of knowledge and experience in cybersecurity was incredibly helpful.”


TECHNOLOGY Back To School To Become Leaders UConn offers training for public works and more

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he person who knows everything stepping into office on Day 1 is rare. That’s true of all public facing jobs, including Public Works employees, which is why it is a good thing that UConn’s CT Technology Transfer Center has an academy aimed at training new hires in public works and road maintenance. UConn suggests the Public Works Academy for all those employees who need updated information on the latest technology and best practices for experienced employees who are new to professional development. Since 2016, eight Danbury employees a year attend the Academy. The program is comprised of six sessions that are aimed at the core competencies of a public works employee. They include professionalism and communication skills, road fundamentals, operational safety, work zone safety and flagger certification, chainsaw safety and storm clean up, winter operations and safe snow plowing.

Everyone who has been in Connecticut long enough knows that winters can get pretty brutal, and when the Governor tells everyone to get off the road, he means so that Public Works departments across the state can get to cleaning the streets. The Technology Transfer Center is one of 58 like-minded centers around the country, and serves all of Connecticut’s Transportation and Public Safety Community. That includes municipal public works directors, street and road maintenance superintendents and staff, city and town engineers, and others. The Public Works Academy is just one of many programs, including those for the Legal Traffic Authority Program, a Road Scholar Program, and a Road Master Program. The most recent Public Works Academy took place this past fall, with one tentatively scheduled for spring.

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FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 45


TRANSPORTATION

The Wheels On The Bus

Norwalk has multiple bus projects in the works

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nrique Penalosa, the Mayor of Bogota, Colombia, had once said that an advanced city is one where everyone uses public transportation, exclaiming in a TEDtalk that buses represent democracy in action. Norwalk is an example of a city that understands that concept and is looking to develop two projects to put public transportation in the forefront. The first project is a new microtransit system called “Wheels2U” that takes the idea of buses into the Uber age. Other cities such as Boston, New York, and San Francisco are piloting microtransit programs, putting Norwalk at the forefront of this emerging technology. In the press release from the city, Mayor Harry Riling said that “Norwalk is the first city in Connecticut to launch a microtransit service. This innovative and modern approach to transportation is an investment in Norwalk. Residents and tourists can explore many of the amenities Norwalk has to offer without having to worry about parking.” The system does not work like a typical bus system, meaning there are no bus stops or daily routes. Instead riders request a pick-up and drop-off via the app, while the app updates the driver to optimize the route. That means efficiencies in service and minimized waiting. Because it is currently in the testing phase, it has a smaller footprint, but from their website, they aim to improve the connection between South Norwalk, the Maritime Aquarium, the Sono Collection, Wall Street, and other main attractions in the city. One of the benefits during this testing phase is that rides are free. If the app is a success then there will be a cost associated with the trip. 46 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | FEBRUARY 2019

It runs Thursday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to midnight, and on Sundays, noon to 9 p.m. In order to foster a community that wants to take public transportation, you might want to develop positive connotations with buses early on, and there’s no better place to start than with school buses. Norwalk’s school district has an app for that too, that allows parents or guardians to stay updated on their child’s bus route. The app, called FirstView, was created by First Student Inc., and aims to help parents stay apprised of their child’s trip from school to home. With parents or guardians assured that their students are making their way home safely, they will be better able to plan to meet them or call them when they get home. In the future, there is an option to add increased value to this program if students had student IDs they could swipe to get on and off the bus. That way there is no child left unaccounted for. Students, especially younger students, knowing that their parents or guardians will be there to greet them will foster positive feelings about taking the bus, and maybe they will grow into users of public transit themselves. Buses, whether a school bus or public transit bus, are integral parts of a fully functioning transit system. The former shuttles the future to and from school, the latter improves the mobility of all vehicles by lessening the amount of cars on the road. Penalosa is right to say that buses are democracy in action, they are efficient, safe, and green, and with modern technology, there’s no reason not to take one to where you are going.


TRANSPORTATION Troubled Bridge Over Water Hamden looks to fix degrading infrastructure

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ne of the major themes of the 2018 Gubernatorial race was transportation and infrastructure. According to a CNBC study, Connecticut ranked as having the fourth worst infrastructure in the United States. That means that many of the roads and bridges in the state are in dire need of repair. The Town of Hamden recently finished repair on one bridge, and accepted grant money in order to repair another with the safety of the residents and drivers in mind. In May of 2018, the Skiff Street Bridge had to be closed because of the appearance of a major crack that might have led to a collapse under daily stress. The bridge was already under duress and in the process of being replaced, but the fissure had made officials concerned for public safety. The break was what town officials deemed an “inconvenience,” but considering the timing and the cost to fix a bridge that was in the process of being replaced shows the importance of assessing and fixing the thoroughfares as needed. The town recently accepted a grant to repair another bridge, the Chatterton Way Bridge, that the Department of Transportation had deemed in “fair to worse” condition, strongly recommending that the entire structure be replaced. Bridges on municipally maintained roads are the responsibility of the towns and cities that maintain them, according to the Department of Transportation website,

and this puts added cost onto towns like Hamden who have many smaller bridges over smaller brooks and streams as the Chatterton Bridge crosses, and rivers like the Mill River that the Skiff Street Bridge crosses. According to a report in the New Haven Register, half of the funding will come from the 2018 State Local Bridge Program, originally created in 1984 to help municipalities pay for bridge repair. But a town like Hamden will be throwing money at a bridge that will be taken out of service in two years. Add to this that Hamden nearly didn’t receive more than $300,000 in Town Aid Road Grants last year when exiting governor Malloy held them back. Ultimately, the funds were released, but their delay made it difficult to secure contracts in a timely manner. It raises the question of whether or not towns are losing out on repairs. With some of the worst roads in America, it’s worth it to remember that the ultimate cost of poor road conditions is significantly more over time than the cost to maintain those same roads in good condition. New Governor Lamont made frequent pledges to get more infrastructure bucks into the state, something that might ultimately mean tolls across our highways. Right now, towns and cities across the state will continue to keep a watchful eye, make repairs when they can, and keep making inroads on a problem affecting Connecticut on a grand scale.

FEBRUARY 2019 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 47


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Adapt Pharma

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Program & Pricing Eligibility: The $75.00 Public Interest Contract Price is being made available by Adapt Pharma in an effort to provide affordable access to Narcan for entities that serve the public interest with limited funding. Public Interest Pricing is available to U.S. Communities participating agencies that have signed participation documents for Premier’s Medical Surgical and Pharmaceutical Group Purchasing Program and by purchasing Narcan directly from Adapt Pharma. Purchasing direct from Adapt is subject to terms and conditions including but not limited to credit evaluation, product returns limitations and no recourse to 3rd party public or private insurance. No freight charge when purchasing a minimum of 48 units. Narcan is just one product in a comprehensive program to reduce the costs of medical products used by participating agencies. If you cannot meet the minimum order requirements, Narcan will be available through certain Premier authorized pharmacy distributors, at a higher price point. Premier customer service representatives can put you in touch with the appropriate representative. Accessing the Agreement: The following steps are required to gain access to the Adapt Pharma agreement. • Participating agency must be registered with U.S. Communities Cooperative Purchasing Program. • Participating agency must also be a member of Premier’s group purchasing program for Medical Surgical and Pharmaceutical products. For more information, click here. o To join, access the Premier website on the U.S. Communities website or go directly to the Premier registration site. o Once the electronic registration is completed you must download, complete, sign, and submit a Facility Authorization & Vendor Fee Agreement ("Exhibit A") to premierreach@premierinc.com to become a member. • To purchase directly from Adapt Pharma exclusive distribution partner, Smith Medical Partners, the following is required: • Set up an account by calling 855-798-6483. Provide the following information to the representative: o Name of Buying Entity o Email Address and Phone Number o State Medical/Pharmacy License • Logistics Information: o Orders ship the same day o Packages are sent via UPS (no freight charge with a minimum purchase of 48 units) o Order cut-off time is 5 p.m. Central Time Zone. • Setting up pricing and establishing accounts with all entities should take less than 14 days.

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Profile for Connecticut Conference of Municipalities

Connecticut Town & City - February 2019  

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