Sunday, January 31, 2010

State of the City & BOA meeting - 2/1/10

The Mayor's State of the City Address and third Board of Alderman meeting of the year is tomorrow, Monday, Feb. 1st, 7pm, at City Hall.

The Mayor will be delivering his 17th State of the City Address before the Board of Alderman and community members. This event will be held in the Aldermanic Chambers and is open to the public. In addition, the City of New Haven and the New Haven Independent will be broadcasting this address via a live webcast. The Mayor encourages residents to log on to either the City's website or to the New Haven Independent's website on Monday to hear the vision and agenda for our City in 2010. 

Here's a summary of the agenda:  A resolution to elect the Board's representative(s) to the final three Charter defined Boards and Commissions including: Capital Projects, City Plan & Parks.  One Unanimous Consent item to cover Tax Refunds due due to errors or overpayment as recommended by the Tax Collector.  Several  Communications (including, but not all:) Alderwoman James-Evans (Ward 3) submitting an order calling for reinstitution of community policing, James-Evans submitting an ordinance amendment regulating the facilitation of underage parties where persons over 21 may lawfully consume alcoholic beverages, the Dir. of Parks submitting an ordinance amendment to prohibit alcoholic beverages from Lighthouse Point Park except for permitted events at the carousel building [currently the only New Haven park that allows alcoholic beverages park-wide], and a few others.  All Communications will be sent on to the appropriate Committee.  Agenda & Minutes for meetings should be available on the City's website here.  As always, if anyone would like a copy of the Agenda provided to us Alders ahead of the regular meetings, please email me.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Legislation Committee has been named

 The first Board of Alderman  Committee assignments were made yesterday by BOA President Carl Goldfield (Ward 29).  I have been named to this important committee and look forward to being helpful.

The Legislation Committee is : Ald. Roland Lemar, Chair, Ald. Michael Jones,Vice Chair, Ald. Jorge Perez, Ald. Charles A. Blango, Ald. Gerald Antunes, Ald. Stephanie Bauer, Ald. Gregory Dildine.

The first Legislation Committee meeting is tonight, Jan. 28th @ 6:00pm at City Hall.  The main agenda is hearing from the Yale office of New Haven and State Affairs, Zoning Ordinance amendment and PDD application for proposed new Yale School of Management (SOM) campus at 155-181 Whitney Ave.

The other Committees (list found here below list of Aldermen) will be appointed within the next few days.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Haven's State Delegation's Legislative Update

Saturday, Jan. 23rd, 10am-noon -- I, most of my Board colleagues, and about 30 city residents heard from New Haven's delegation of State Senators & Representatives (7 of the 8).  They convened this forum to brief Alders and attendees on the workings of State government and provide an update on current issues and the budget.  It was truly informative, with Senator Looney opening the session providing a summary of the legislative organization and the budgeting process.  Senator Harp shared background on the important Appropriations committee which she chairs.  Representative Staples discussed the Finance committee which he chairs.  Representative Dillon (Ward 25 resident) spoke about her passion and advocacy for Public Health.  Rep. Candelaria gave examples of the work he does as a member of the Regulation and Revue Committee, the Commerce Committee and as chair of the Higher Education Committee.  Rep. Walker, who also organized the forum, took the opportunity to invite the Alders and public to testify at public budget hearings or any public hearings up in Hartford.  A Guide to Testifying at Public Hearings was available.  Rep. Holder-Winfield, in the interest of time, asked Rep. Walker to open the floor to questions.

Several questions were raised including:  efforts to avoid "silo thinking," current efforts for jobs creation, red-light camera legislation, and the public financing of elections.  The members of the delegation all helped field these questions.

The following useful documents can be linked to or shared electronically:  "This is your General Assembly,"  2010 Legislative Calendar, "Guide to Testifying at Public Hearings," CT Gen. Assembly FAQs, and "2009 Major Acts"

If anyone would like to hear more or receive the above docs, please contact me. 

BOA Meeting Report - 1/19/10

The 2nd meeting of 2010 agenda included four main items.  The meeting was opened with Divine Guidance from Alderman Lemar making remarks remembering Dr. King and also reflecting on the tragedy in Haiti.  The first item of business was voting on a resolution to name the Board's representatives to the many City Boards & Commissions.  BOA Leadership helped work out who wanted what and encouraged discussion amongst colleagues if there were any conflicts.  With no conflicts for almost all of the slots, the Board approved their representatives to twenty (20) of the Boards and Commissions.  The final few will be voted in at the next meeting - where either unopposed member(s) will be approved or a floor vote will determine the delegate(s).  Boards & Commissions are listed here on the City's website (if they're not updated with our newly elected representatives soon, I'll post my own list.)

The next business included the Board unanimously approving the Tax Collector's recommendations for refunds due (for errors or overpayment). Several Communications were moved (on to committee usually).

Then, several members of the Board (I too signed on)  introduced an Order for the City " create a payroll deduction program for the purpose of sending a collective contribution to Americares or another organization on the ground in Haiti..."  This passed unanimously.  The undersigned Alders pledged their January 2010 stipend to seed the participating City employees' collective donation.

Although added late to the Agenda, Alderman Goldson's couple items, pertaining to his and two other Ward 30 residents being elected and named as representatives to the Local Redevelopment Authority (for redevelopment planning for the Libby US Army Reserve Center on Wintergreen Ave.), were discussed, debated, and resolved in Caucus and the public information session ahead of the regular meeting.  Goldson was looking for the Board's help in gaining a seat on the LRA.  The Mayor provided him an appointment to the LRA and the Unanimous Consent Order for the two other community appointments (he desired) was changed to a Communication item and moved to Committee for consideration.

The meeting ended with a couple items of Personal Privilege including recognizing Alderman Lehtonen (Ward 27) being recognized by his employer, Sikorsky, for 30 years of service, and Alderman Paca (Ward 24) requesting a moment of silence for the passing of three neighbors from his ward.

Budget "boot camp" for new Alders

Jan. 14th, Ina Silverman hosted a meeting for new Alders focused on finance and budgeting.  Budget Director Larry Rusconi, Comptroller Mark Pietrosimone, Chief Financial Administrator Sal DeCola, and Rebecca Bombero explained the budgeting process including outlining the time-line for the annual process and highlighted key pages in the budget, monthly financial reports, and audit documents. 

The City's Charter requires the Mayor to submit a Budget to the Board of Alderman by March 1st.  Public hearings, Finance Committee workshops, addition public hearing(s), and deliberations will culminate in the BOA adopting a Budget for 2010/2011 to go into effect July 1, 2010, by the end of May (currently scheduled for 5/24/10).  This calendar will be in the first section of the Mayor's proposed Budget document.

The Audit of the year ending June 30, 2009 has been presented to the BOA and will be analyzed at the next Finance Committee meeting.  The Finance Committee also scrutinizes the Charter required Monthly Report which is presented to all BOA members.  The review of the Report for Nov 30, 2009 will also be on the Finance Committee's agenda for their next meeting.  These monthly reports keep Alders up-to-date and provide monthly summaries of "concerns" and a Charter required Action Plan to address any concerns.

Another key component for the revenue side of the equation, the Grand List (tax base), will be set by Jan. 31, 2010. 

The BOA Committee assignments will be set in the next few days.  BOA President Carl Goldfield (Ward 29) makes these assignments.  While freshmen Alders are not usually assigned a spot on the Finance Committee, all Alders are encouraged to attend meetings, will be included in discussion and debate, and may even be called upon to vote if their participation is required to fill a quorum.  I plan to attend these important meetings schedule permitting.

If anyone ever wants to chat more about budget and/or finance issues, please call me.  I will also share any documentation that may interest you.  Financial oversight is an extremely important role of the Board of Alderman, and I will indeed participate.

Alarm Ordinance - further clarification

The City's Deputy CAO Jennifer Pugh and attorney Roderick Williams recently provided additional clarifications pertaining to the City's new Alarm Ordinance.  Please also read my earlier Blog. 
The City created this new ordinance to attempt to mitigate the thousands of false alarms that the NHPD responds to every year.  It also puts more responsibility on the alarm companies, increases penalties to offset costs in responding to false alarms, re-builds the old registration database that was lost, and completely replaces the old alarm registration program that was deemed ineffective.

Some key points:
* The alarm companies are responsible for registering their clients who subscribe to their monitoring services. The alarm company could be fined for not registering them.
* Alarm owners who do not subscribe to a monitoring service are responsible for registering their own alarms. If they fail to register, they could get fined.
* Although the ordinance does not specifically say so, it was clarified earlier that the alarm penalties will "reset" each year. residents will be allowed one free false alarm per year, not just a total of one, forever.

A brochure further explaining the program IS NOW AVAILABLE HERE accompanying the application is an 8 page "Guide."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

BOA Meeting 1/19/10 - agenda

The second BOA meeting of the year is Tuesday, Jan 19th @ 7:00pm.  The agenda this week includes the Board voting to elect BOA representative(s) (usually one or two) to the many City Charter specified City Commissions.  Also, the BOA will be asked to formally approve Tax Refunds (mostly over payments or other errors) which have been processed by the City Tax Collector.  The only other agenda is to hear Communications: 1) to create a residential parking zone for Woodland & Tilton streets in Alderwoman Jone's Ward 21. 2) City Controller submitting the Audit statements for FY ending 6/30/2009. 3) a request to install a sign over the public sidewalk at Labyrinth Books, 290 York Street. 4) several Mayoral reappointments of citizens to various commissions (these will next go to the Aldermanic Affairs Committee). 5) the establishment of a Charter Revision Commission (this is per City Charter every 10 years) 6) a citizen's petition for property tax abatement (this will head to Tax Abatement Committee)

Meeting Agenda and Minutes (journal) can be found here (if they're not posted yet, I can usually email them to folks that request)

Friday, January 15, 2010

2010 Legislative Update - State Delegation

The New Haven Legislative Delegation would like to invite the public to the 2010 Legislative Update on Saturday, January 23rd from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall. The purpose of this event is to discuss the inner workings of the legislature and the upcoming 2010 legislative session.

I'm passing along this invite which came directly to all the Aldermen but is open to the public too. It's a chance to meet your State representatives including State Representative (Ward 25 resident), Pat Dillon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

City Trees

Parks, Recreation & Trees have assigned a crew to work on stump removals during the winter months. They are noting and marking stumps for CBYD and they'll try remove as many as they can in the next few months. They are also working on removing the unsightly 10' tall stumps that have been left from time to time and occasionally used by the utility companies for pole anchors.

Stump removal of course does not have the same high priority as addressing dangerous tree issues. Safety concerns will always be the Park Dept.'s number one priority as custodians of our City's thousands of trees.

Urban Resources Initiative
is the City's current tree planting partner. The Mayor has pledged to increase tree planting and re-planting over the next several years. I have asked the Parks Dept. to include stump removal as integral to this planting initiative.

Please download URI's Fall News Letter (.pdf) to read more about what they have already done and what they plan to do as a partner with the City to plant more trees.

Please also read my Blog about my meeting in Oct. with Parks Dep. Dir. Christy Hass who is also the City's Tree Warden.

Monday, January 11, 2010

BOA meeting report - 1/4/10

The first BOA meeting of 2010 was held last Monday, Jan 4th. The first order of business took place during Democratic Caucus. 28 of the 30 members are Democrats and caucus from 5:45 - 6:30 before meetings. Nominations for Majority Leader where heard and incumbent Majority Leader Katrina Jones (21-D) was the sole nominee and re-elected Majority Leader. Greg Morehead (22-D) was the sole nominee and re-elected Deputy Majority Leader.

The agenda was run through, with Morehead, on behalf of a few colleagues, recommending that a pending order from LCI to approve the quitclaim of land on Ashmun St to Science Park be sent back to committee (BOA's Community Dev.) for further consideration. This is a parcel upon which that the owners of Science Park plan to build a daycare. Neighbors hope for more assurance that this will indeed serve the neighbors/neighborhood.

There was also discussion in caucus regarding a resolution up for vote "...strongly supporting camera-based red light enforcement... urging the General Assembly [State] to pass legislation which would allow municipalities to install much-needed red light cameras... and that the New Haven BOA is prepared to approve the passage and implementation of a red light camera enforcement program..." This is only a resolution to try to show New Haven residents' support and to hopefully encourage the State legislature to pass enabling legislation. The BOA can then debate and create the program and corresponding ordinance(s). It was decided in caucus to bring this item to a vote as this resolution has made its way through the process including public testimony and committee evaluation. There was only public testimony in support which also included the Chief of Police's support and thus the City Services & Environmental Policy committee recommendation was "favorable."

Then our colleagues Arlene DePino (18-R) & Maureen O'Sullivan-Best (11-I) join us, City administration representatives, and City Dept. representatives in a session that is open to reporters and the public to observe any further discussion of the meeting agenda before the regular Meeting which begins at 7:00pm. This week there were no questions nor further discussion.

The meeting opened with Divine Guidance from Alderman Michael Smart (8-D). The Majority Leader then moved the first five Communications which carried unanimously including sliver lot sales to several adjacent property owners and Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven.

The Board then approved the acceptance of the loan from the State of a Statewide Tactical On-Scene Communication System. Also, several old items were given "leave to withdraw."

Then there was lively discussion and debate on the red-light camera resolution brought by new Alderman Darnell Goldson (30-D). He was against this resolution as were a few of his colleagues. He wanted more time for it to be considered especially for him and others new to the board. Those in support mainly argued that due diligence and process, including lots of time by members, had led to moving this item to a vote. After debate continued and Alderman Goldson's motion to recommit was "called" by Alderman Michael Jones (1-D) and confirmed by a 2/3rds roll-call vote, debate continued on the resolution itself for several minutes but eventually gave way to a vote on the resolution which passed on a vocal majority (perhaps 3-6 Nay votes).

And then with a couple Alders honoring recently passed City residents, including Freddie Fixer creator Ed Grant [NHI article linked], the meeting ended just after 8pm

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Magnet School Applications due Feb 12th

Magnet School Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 12th. There is a Citywide information Fair on Wednesday, Jan. 13 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the New Haven Field House at Hill House HS.

You can download an application and visit the NHPS Magnet Schools web-page for more information. A list of all Open Houses can be found here, including:

737 Edgewood Ave., (203) 946-8611
Thursday, Jan. 14, 6:30pm
Thursday, Jan. 21, 10am
Wednesday, Jan. 27, 10am

Edgewood Magnet School requires an application to attend and applicants will be given Neighborhood and Sibling preference. Applicants wishing to check/confirm they live in the "attendance zone" should check the Registration Street Directory from the NHPS website.

I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you drop off applications IN PERSON at 54 Meadow Street and get a receipt. There are lots of rumors regarding this process. Please CALL me with any questions. Also, I'd like to hear from prospective Edgewood Kindergarten parents and anyone new to the neighborhood/school that plans to apply for a grades 1-8 spot, please call or email. Thanks!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Alarm Registration - new City ordinance - UPDATED 1/24

Yes, a new Alarm system registration ordinance will soon go into effect.  Here is some more info in my most recent Blog.  There will be a Brochure available soon and I will link to it. For some more background you also could read this NHI article.

You can get the registration form here which is also linked from the City's Home Page.

Click here for a Word file (.doc) of the actual 14 page ordinance.

This new ordinance replaces the old program for which many folks have door stickers.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Please send me your email address if you would like to get Neighborhood News, Info & Updates.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Newest BOE member is Edgewood Parent

I recently met (briefly) the newest NHPS Board of Education member, Ferdinand L. Risco Jr., the other day at the Inauguration reception. His bio has recently been added to the NHPS website's BOE members' Bio page.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

First BOA meeting of 2010 - agenda

Monday, Jan. 4th, 2010 @ 7:00pm - City Hall

First thing to do is to elect the leadership positions: Board President, President Pro Tempore, Majority Leader & Deputy Majority Leader.

Agenda also includes in part:
(here's were agenda & minutes can be found. Note: public/final version lags draft versions Alders are provided -- contact me if they're not available here, and you'd like to know what's upcoming at the next meeting):

1) Mayor's required submission of budgetary & financial reports for 11/09 as required by Section 62 of the City's Charter.
2) Mayor's reappointment of Anika Lamar to the Solid Waste Authority Board
3) Purchasing Agent requesting an emergency procurement ($19,900) to replace the boiler at the Micro Society Magnet School
4) Cultural Affairs Director requesting the authorization to accept a $8450 grant from CT Commission on Culture & Tourism
5) Whalley Ave. Special Services District (WSSD) requesting approval to change their by-laws thus changing the formula for their additional property tax levy.
6) Requests from LCI to approve several properties for disposition including sliver-lot sales & sales to Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven.

Here's my "report back" from this first meeting of 2010.