Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Middletown Council Meets

***UPDATE: I'm updating due to new info I rec'd regarding having the playground equipment moved from Kennedy School to Gaudet. This was a poor presentation and needed a lot more explanation from the school dept.

Since I went to the budget workshop on the library & senior center, I was there 3 hrs. The Council met afterwards for an exec session. Lord, how do they stand it? This Sat. that meet almost all day.

Much of the meeting was a rehash of topics; so, yes, I confess it, I sometimes zone-out. I cleaned up my calendar & shopping list. There were some high points though & I will attempt later in the week to post one or two for your videos for your enjoyment (and mine).

Most Councilors rarely make use of their mic meaning that I am often mystified because the audience cannot hear what is going on. During the consent calendar which has a number of items wherein the Council just votes one resounding "yes" with no discussion, Councilor Bozyna asked to comment on the new fence amendment to remark that it was built on an old one. Whatever this means. This is a new ordinance regarding perimeter fences & hedges now needing a permit. You've got me on any of this. It's a fog out there.

Everything proceeded merrily until the first reading of the ordinance for senior housing. This is being done at the request of the Forest Farm development & was, in fact, originally made for them. It appears that the original ordinance is trumped by federal law. Well, duh! A number of neighbors showed up to testify regarding this one- they like it as it is. This is basically a legal-eagle discussion- like it or not. Anyone who thinks that they can clear this up with 45 min. on the computer is in denial of how the law actually works and has never been involved in a legal battle or in the court system. God help you. For more detail on this go to

Expect no quick resolution on this one. It's back to the Planning Committee & more review. Oddly enough, Councilors Bozyan & Semonelli absented themselves from this by stating "conflict of interest." Thank you to Councilor Silveira later asking what these conflicts were. Yup, I for one would like to know. Seems that they shared the same lawyer- Pat Hayes. So I'm wondering if Sears' owner Semonelli would also have to absent himself if a customer was before him on Council business. Just wondering. Anyway, thanks to the alert Councilor for asking. It should have been stated by those claiming conflict.

There was discussion of the wind energy ordinance. Sorry, when one commenter opined that there is no minimum requirement for how low to the ground the propellers could be, I went into funny-land. We could actually have a windmill-guillotine on our hands. Need a haircut? Neighbors you don't like? Sorry, that's how my mind works. This one may need a tad more crafting- or not. It will continue as it was just its first reading.

There was a LOT of discussion regarding the school committees' requesting funds for moving playground equipment from Kennedy school (to be closed) to Gaudet; although no one ever asked exactly WHERE at Gaudet it was going. I think it makes a difference. It seems that the $30,000 for this was going to come from the Beach Fund. Councilor Santos did not like this. Suppose it's a bad summer? Anyway, money from this fund frequently has gone to parks. It also upset Santos that the schools were not using their own funds for this & others were upset with the cost. The Council wants more info regarding costs.

Evidently this whole thing is part of an actual plan to place equipment at Gaudet school which has activities for every age level except this. Funding is to be done through monies designated to be used for parks & rec. It will be placed in the activity area. Too bad this was presented better. I certainly missed it.

Funding for restoring the former Linden School (now gone) playground was approved; although it engendered much discussion as the town really has done little planning on the use for all its open space purchases (Silveira). These playgrounds are expensive & never seem to last very long.

Antone spoke to the trash program. He wants it to pay for itself. In which case the bags would be so expensive no one would buy them & that would be the demise of that program. Or he wants a public vote on the program. Or he wants a mandatory program. Councilor Sylvia was upset with Viveiros' seeming change of positions. Anyway, Antone doesn't want any tax monies supporting the program. I weary of the endless conversation.

The high point was the two committee appointments. This is basically a game of who jumps in first & hollers out a motion. Don't get me wrong here. The Chair already knows who is getting the nod & whom he is going to recognize for the motion, but still, watching the game is entertaining. So Councilor Sylvia jumped in to nominate a Republican for a partisan committee (the State decides which committees). Now what makes this somewhat odd is that there is ONE Republican on the Council- Santos. The Chair of the Republican Town Committee who is solicited for names for this type of committee (Viveiros) had submitted his own name. So Councilor Santos should have made the motion. But she didn't. Councilor Sylvia nominated- not the town committee's request, but Sal deRuggiero (former Republican Town Committee Chair). And that was the end of that story. One name, one vote. Slap-down to Viveiros & the Republican Town Committee.

Then it was time for the Zoning Board. Two apps, but only one opening. Ah, now it really was fun. Councilor Silveira (that bad boy) jumped in followed quickly by Vice Chair Cambra. Silence. Silveira kept on going. Independent Helen Christy (former owned of the Brew Pub). Called for a vote. Ah, now it hit the fan. This wasn't part of the script. The Chair looked like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights until Councilor Bozyan poked him & mumbled, "out of order." Let me aside for a moment in that Chair Semonelli who at first seemed utterly lost in his role in Nov. now is more comfotable, although his confusion & inexperience is still sometimes evident. Chair is no easy job. He then voiced that Silveira was out of order which he actually wasn't as the Prez had not reconized anyone yet.

Silveira soldiered on & shouted out for an "instant replay" to the videographer as to who was "first." The cameraman hollered back that he was unable to do that. But then he shouted back that "you were!" At this the Prez was thoroughly mystified & turned to the Soliciter who told him that it was always his choice as to whom was or was not recognized. So he choice Cambra & the name was "Potter" for the committee. The vote was 5 to two for that choice & Christy was not voted on. You had to see it! Like I said, I'll try & post.

Nothing in the local newspaper on the meeting yet. Maybe today.
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