Sunday, June 17, 2007

Middletown Council Mon. at 7 p.m.

Afraid of losing your home to taxes? You should be. Budget issues are on the agenda. That's what the last Council election was all about (I think). Councilman Silveira, the White Knight, wants to take those MANY extra unreserved funds & use them to LOWER your taxes this yr. (now here's an unusual idea)

Middletown has the highest Moody bond rating of any town in the state. This is a good thing if we want to borrow as we get lower rates. However, this is EXTRA monies, yours, being held for emergency reserve use. Towns usually hold 8 % percent of their budget for these funds. 10 - 12 % is considered excellent. Middletown has substanstilly MORE than this needed percentage, far more than most towns/cities. So what do you want done with them? It's YOUR money after all.

Middletown also has been collecting seperate, extra funds from the Landings (the old Anchorage Housing) which was supposed to be used for the extra police/fire coverage needed. It hasn't been used for that & is quite a substantial ongoing fund. So the question is, do you want these monies returned to you to lower your tax rate or do you want them held in reserve for ?? a new fire station, whatever, for which you will have No SAY (but a bond issue wouldn't be needed). What do you think?

Remember, there are OTHER reserve funds - inc. the schools. The White Knights' resolution also gives money to the Gaudet School for sports, although the Council cannot actually tell the schools HOW to spend their monies. In one budget hearing the School Committee seemed to say that any extra funding would go towards staffings, etc. with sports at the end of the list. Parents were angry. But the second hearing they seemed to say that sports would be #1. So, ya takes yer pick.

The Knight also wants to examine the new town policy wherein anytime anyone asks for public records regarding the Council or ANYTHING ELSE, it gets copied to the Council Prez & he decides what to do with it. Privacy? This is exactly what I heard the Town Admin. say & the Town Solicitor never contradicted this. Is this a good thing or of little importance? What do you think?

Councilman Lou, "Avis" ("He tries harder"), DiPalma wants to discuss why the towns/cities can't yank some control back from the State. Hey, he couldn't even get the Council to back him on more monies from the State raised by the local community being returned from whence it came. Talk about being marginalized!

He wants our State Lege officials to lead on this task of control? Good luck. Has Rep. Long even re-located back to his own district yet? He's been relegated to the fringes of the Rep. Party. Sen. "Sometimes I just can't make up my mind" Gibbs certainly doesn't have much clout either. The most important bill she got passed this term was to make any offense on the Pell Bridge a traffic offense requiring a fine, rather than a Bridge Authority responsibility. Good luck, Lou, forever the optimist.

The State Lege nixed Middletown's request to lower what the acceptable arsenic levels are (read increased Police Station costs) . Frankly, with the some of the Lege representation we have, Middletown doesn't count for much. God bless Rep. Rice (my rep). She stood up to the Lege against her own party & voted to get school funding increased. But no go. Good thing she's on our side. Rep. Jackson also represents our district, but only a small portion. He was the one chairing the arsenic committee on this topic and it's still ongoing. They may yet come up with a helpful solution.

Councilman, "The Inspector," Sylvia has two resolutions for consideration- to spend ?half a mil on renewing storm drains and talk about the dump. I'm interested in hearing more info on the former. Let's finally solve the latter problem and then discuss other topics - say beach pollution, the new police station, controlling health insurance costs, affordable housing, problems with the current methods of property assessment, decreasing pension costs by changing the State's amortization schedule (you should be screaming for this bill to pass resulting in lowered costs $ for the town) etc., etc.

There will be an appointment for the Library Board good only until this Sept. Vergil Blaschke has applied 3-4 ? times for openings. He's a decent, hard-working guy, who keeps an open-mind, and has been Chair of the Friends of the Library for awhile. He's attended most library board meetings for at least 3 years. He's familiar with contracts & that would be good since a new Director will hopefully be hired soon (I'm rooting for Ass't Dir. & Childrens' Librarian Barbara Camedeco if she applied). He's a registered Republican.

I also know the other applicant, Paul Lamond. He helps do all the beautiful gardening around town & the library. Good guy, too. Retired phone co. exec, I think. I served with him years ago on a school bond issue board for which he was Chair. I had some of his beautiful 4 ? daughters in school, too. Good candidate. Also is on the Tree Commission. He's a registered Democrat. I believe he even ran against Sen. June "sometimes I can't make up my mind" Gibbs.

So who will get it? What are these board requirements? This is NOT a partisan board. The White Knight brought up a good point recently. How do you decide? Who would you appoint? Why?

Another appointment is to the Personnel Review Board. This is a partisan board (only a few of these). The Republican Chair DeRuggiero has no name to place in consideration for the appointment (both local party chairs are asked to submit names). The likely fact is that his Party name would not win a vote anyway, but you never know. The Democratic Chair, Indian Ave. resident Don Lavine, "nominates Barbara Sylvia." This is the wife of Councilman "Detective" Sylvia. I also think she is the daughter of former Councilwoman Nunes and former State Rep Larry Nunes (R). Good people.

ANYONE could apply for this opening, though, but no one did. The odd thing is that the local Dem. Chair "nominates" her. Oops, mistake in wording. Only a Councilperson can do this. Local political parties DO NOT control board memberships or agendas! Wasn't this a bone of contention in the last election?

I like Mrs. Sylvia (I think that she forgot to also submit an application, too). Should a close relative of an elected official be appointed to a board? These boards often control personnel, funds, agendas, etc. What do you think? This certainly isn't unusual & I don't wish to imply that it is. Should a person not be allowed to serve because of their birth/marriage?

The letterhead from the Dem. Chair also lists Arlene Kaull as the V. Chair. She is also the Dir. of the Senior Center & her bro. is the Council Chair. Unfortunately this makes it seems as if she is also partly responsible for nominating board/committee members. Again, what do you think? How much do blood/marriage relationships count?

Antone Viveros is also addressing the Council. I like him. We don't always agree, but you have to give the guy credit for trying, speaking up, & never quitting. He's a Republican, but as I've said before, I don't pull the Party lever (or draw the connecting line).

It promises to be a lively session. Too bad the Council never take up a resolution/discussion on Rep. Long who no longer lives here, among other problems.

Be there or be square. Democracy in action. Say hello!
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