Monday, December 7, 2009

Downtown Race Held Without Permit

"The course will begin on Railroad Street," provides the Road and Track Sports’ Web Page about its Christmas Run for the Children yesterday that closed traffic on Railroad Street and elsewhere, including Wellsville, Wells, Aspetuck and Young's Field Roads.

Police and Fire personnel were on the scene but it appears that the event had not been approved by the Town Council as required by Town Ordinances that also require that the event holder provide a certificate of insurance and pay for Police assistance. “I have no recollection of this ever coming before us,” said Town Councilman Ray O’Brien.

"Whatever they did was illegal," says Harry Taylor, owner of H. H. Taylor & Son, Inc. on Railroad Street, clearly angered by the interference with his business. "Evidently someone doesn't care about what goes on in downtown New Milford."

A source at the New Milford Police Department says that the Department had no prior notice of the event. “There has to be approval from Town Hall, there’s a Permit Fee and a process that we go through here,” said the source. “These street closings would obviously require Police assistance and that would have to be paid for by the permittee.”

Mr. Taylor said that he called the Department twice and on both occasions was told that it had no notice of the event.

Wally Jahn, the owner of Road and Track Sports, could not be reached for comment. Mr. Jahn has sponsored many races in New Milford including those that take place on Village Fair Days.

Mr. Jahn may now have to pay for the Town services that were provided and there may be other sanctions. Retailers may also have a cause of action.

Before moving to Brookfield, Road and Track Sports was located on the Green. The store will close on December 24.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wake Up America: SEALs Prosecution Disgraceful

Washington (CNN) -- Three U.S. Navy SEALs face criminal charges after the alleged mastermind of one of the most notorious crimes against Americans in Iraq accused them of punching him after his capture, the military said Wednesday.

Ahmed Hashim Abed -- thought to be behind the slayings and mutilation of four U.S. contractors in Falluja in 2004 and captured in summer -- made the accusations against the three servicemen, said Lt. Col. Holly Silkman, a spokeswoman for U.S. Central Command.

A civilian lawyer for one of three SEALs said his client and the other SEALs declined a nonjudicial resolution to the case, a step sometimes called a "captain's mast." The servicemen say they did not harm the detainee in any way and they want their names cleared in a court-martial so they can continue their careers in the Navy, said the attorney, Neil Puckett.

Because the charges[*] against Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe, Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe and Petty Officer Julio Heurtas are the military equivalent of misdemeanors, they will go before a special court-martial, which is for less serious offenses than those heard in a general court-martial. If found guilty, they could be sentenced to a maximum of a year in a military prison, demotion to the lowest Navy rank, a cut in pay and a bad conduct discharge.

But if found innocent of all charges, they would be able to continue their careers with no record of the case in their personnel files.

The three SEALs are with their unit in Norfolk, Virginia. They will make an initial appearance before a military judge on December 7. The court-martial is scheduled to begin in January.

The attorney said he expects the SEALs will not waive their constitutional right to confront the accuser in court, which could cause a logistical challenge. Abed is believed to be in a U.S. military detention center overseas, and it is unclear if the military would want him brought to the United States for the court-martial.

The four contractors, one of whom was a former Navy SEAL, were working for the Blackwater company when they were attacked in Falluja in 2004. After they were killed with hand grenades and rifles, their bodies were set on fire and dragged through the streets. The bodies of two of them were hung from a bridge in Falluja, an image that was broadcast around the world.

Four days after the attack, the U.S. Marines launched a major offensive inside Falluja, in part to help find the killers.


*The Charges:

Matthew McCabe, a Special Operations Petty Officer Second Class (SO-2), is facing three charges: dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee, making a false official statement, and assault.

Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe, SO-2, is facing charges of dereliction of performance of duty and making a false official statement.

Petty Officer Julio Huertas, SO-1, faces those same charges and an additional charge of impediment of an investigation.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brookfield Bypass Open!

As I wrote on November 4, the Brookfield Bypass opened mid-day today.

Now we'll see if it creates a huge bottleneck at the Bridge.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What's Ahead For the NMDTC?

It was not a good election year for the Town’s Democrats. The losses by incumbent John Lillis of his Town Council seat, incumbent Shelly Pruss’ loss of his Board of Finance seat, incumbent Janice Vance’s loss of her Zoning seat and Larry Stillman’s loss of his bid for a Board of Ed seat have far-ranging implications for the Town’s Democratic Party. Lillis, also the DTC Chair, got more votes than the other Democratic Council candidates on the Dem line but lost because others got votes on the New Milford First line and these were added to their final counts.

Pruss, a devoted Dem and former Mayoral candidate, has served the Town for many years in various capacities including the Town Council and his name was on the NMF ballot. Stillman, also a former Democratic Mayoral candidate, is a retired foot doctor whose business was in Town, has served on the Board of Ed and his name was also on the NMF ballot. Despite this history, he failed to get more votes than two newcomers. Vance was also on the NMF ballot.

Say what you may about candidates running on more than one party line – I think it is wrong – it is clear that despite New Milford First’s utter failure to get one of its people elected and that being on its line was the kiss of death for others, the Party may now be able to achieve an unintended goal: the takeover of the Town’s Democratic Party.

Think about it.

Who are the DTC’s two major players? John Lillis and former Mayor Liba Furhman. Furhman is not on my list of favorites but I credit her for arguably knowing more about how to play the political game than anyone else in Town. With Furhman distracted by employment that requires her to stay away from politics and Lillis being discouraged by his recent loss and without meaningful support, who of the real Dems is left to waive the Party’s flag? Certainly not Councilmen Mullen or Lundgren who really aren’t participating Members and whose distaste for the “old guard” was palpably visible at the Council Meetings. Pruss and Wargo can’t do it alone and appear to have lost their enthusiasm for Party politics. So what will happen? Who will fill the void? My guess is that it will be filled with the likes of New Milford First’s Gerry Monaghan who used Bob Kostes’ money to finance the only negativity heard throughout the campaign season. I predict that New Milford First will close its shop if its Members successfully step into the DTC.

The message for the DTC is simple. Don’t allow the NMF malcontents into your tent. If you want to continue to lose, continue to allow your candidates’ names to appear on its ballot; you can’t run as a team if your team players are on another team. If you allow this, you will be relegated to mediocrity for years to come.

It is important to remember in 2011 that New Milford First’s only mission in 2009 was to try to confuse New Milford voters but that the voters saw right through it. Remember not only the ploy in 2011 but the names of the players, no matter what their political affiliation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Health Care Bill Does Create Jobs: The Wrong Kinds

The House Republican Conference has compiled a list of all the new boards, bureaucracies, commissions, and programs created in H.R. 3962, the Government takeover of health care:

1. Retiree Reserve Trust Fund (Section 111(d), p. 61)
2. Grant program for wellness programs to small employers (Section 112, p. 62)
3. Grant program for State health access programs (Section 114, p. 72)
4. Program of administrative simplification (Section 115, p. 76)
5. Health Benefits Advisory Committee (Section 223, p. 111)
6. Health Choices Administration (Section 241, p. 131)
7. Qualified Health Benefits Plan Ombudsman (Section 244, p. 138)
8. Health Insurance Exchange (Section 201, p. 155)
9. Program for technical assistance to employees of small businesses buying Exchange coverage (Section 305(h), p. 191)
10. Mechanism for insurance risk pooling to be established by Health Choices Commissioner (Section 306(b), p. 194)
11. Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund (Section 307, p. 195)
12. State-based Health Insurance Exchanges (Section 308, p. 197)
13. Grant program for health insurance cooperatives (Section 310, p. 206)
14. “Public Health Insurance Option” (Section 321, p. 211)
15. Ombudsman for “Public Health Insurance Option” (Section 321(d), p. 213)
16. Account for receipts and disbursements for “Public Health Insurance Option” (Section 322(b), p. 215)
17. Telehealth Advisory Committee (Section 1191 (b), p. 589)
18. Demonstration program providing reimbursement for “culturally and linguistically appropriate services” (Section 1222, p. 617)
19. Demonstration program for shared decision making using patient decision aids (Section 1236, p. 648)
20. Accountable Care Organization pilot program under Medicare (Section 1301, p. 653)
21. Independent patient-centered medical home pilot program under Medicare (Section 1302, p. 672)
22. Community-based medical home pilot program under Medicare (Section 1302(d), p. 681)
23. Independence at home demonstration program (Section 1312, p. 718)
24. Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research (Section 1401(a), p. 734)
25. Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission (Section 1401(a), p. 738)
26. Patient ombudsman for comparative effectiveness research (Section 1401(a), p. 753)
27. Quality assurance and performance improvement program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 1412(b)(1), p. 784)
28. Quality assurance and performance improvement program for nursing facilities (Section 1412 (b)(2), p. 786)
29. Special focus facility program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 1413(a)(3), p. 796)
30. Special focus facility program for nursing facilities (Section 1413(b)(3), p. 804)
31. National independent monitor pilot program for skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities (Section 1422, p. 859)
32. Demonstration program for approved teaching health centers with respect to Medicare GME (Section 1502(d), p. 933)
33. Pilot program to develop anti-fraud compliance systems for Medicare providers (Section 1635, p. 978)
34. Special Inspector General for the Health Insurance Exchange (Section 1647, p. 1000)
35. Medical home pilot program under Medicaid (Section 1722, p. 1058)
36. Accountable Care Organization pilot program under Medicaid (Section 1730A, p. 1073)
37. Nursing facility supplemental payment program (Section 1745, p. 1106)
38. Demonstration program for Medicaid coverage to stabilize emergency medical conditions in institutions for mental diseases (Section 1787, p. 1149)
39. Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund (Section 1802, p. 1162)
40. “Identifiable office or program” within CMS to “provide for improved coordination between Medicare and Medicaid in the case of dual eligibles” (Section 1905, p. 1191)
41. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Section 1907, p. 1198)
42. Public Health Investment Fund (Section 2002, p. 1214)
43. Scholarships for service in health professional needs areas (Section 2211, p. 1224)
44. Program for training medical residents in community-based settings (Section 2214, p. 1236)
45. Grant program for training in dentistry programs (Section 2215, p. 1240)
46. Public Health Workforce Corps (Section 2231, p. 1253)
47. Public health workforce scholarship program (Section 2231, p. 1254)
48. Public health workforce loan forgiveness program (Section 2231, p. 1258)
49. Grant program for innovations in interdisciplinary care (Section 2252, p. 1272)
50. Advisory Committee on Health Workforce Evaluation and Assessment (Section 2261, p. 1275)
51. Prevention and Wellness Trust (Section 2301, p. 1286)
52.. Clinical Prevention Stakeholders Board (Section 2301, p. 1295)
53. Community Prevention Stakeholders Board (Section 2301, p. 1301)
54. Grant program for community prevention and wellness research (Section 2301, p. 1305)
55. Grant program for research and demonstration projects related to wellness incentives (Section 2301, p. 1305)
56. Grant program for community prevention and wellness services (Section 2301, p. 1308)
57. Grant program for public health infrastructure (Section 2301, p. 1313)
58. Center for Quality Improvement (Section 2401, p. 1322)
59. Assistant Secretary for Health Information (Section 2402, p. 1330)
60. Grant program to support the operation of school-based health clinics (Section 2511, p. 1352)
61. Grant program for nurse-managed health centers (Section 2512, p. 1361)
62. Grants for labor-management programs for nursing training (Section 2521, p. 1372)
63. Grant program for interdisciplinary mental and behavioral health training (Section 2522, p. 1382)
64. “No Child Left Unimmunized Against Influenza” demonstration grant program (Section 2524, p. 1391)
65. Healthy Teen Initiative grant program regarding teen pregnancy (Section 2526, p. 1398)
66. Grant program for interdisciplinary training, education, and services for individuals with autism (Section 2527(a), p. 1402)
67. University centers for excellence in developmental disabilities education (Section 2527(b), p. 1410)
68. Grant program to implement medication therapy management services (Section 2528, p. 1412)
69. Grant program to promote positive health behaviors in underserved communities (Section 2530, p. 1422)
70. Grant program for State alternative medical liability laws (Section 2531, p. 1431)
71. Grant program to develop infant mortality programs (Section 2532, p. 1433)
72. Grant program to prepare secondary school students for careers in health professions (Section 2533, p. 1437)
73. Grant program for community-based collaborative care (Section 2534, p. 1440)
74. Grant program for community-based overweight and obesity prevention (Section 2535, p. 1457)
75. Grant program for reducing the student-to-school nurse ratio in primary and secondary schools (Section 2536, p. 1462)
76. Demonstration project of grants to medical-legal partnerships (Section 2537, p. 1464)
77. Center for Emergency Care under the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (Section 2552, p. 1478)
78. Council for Emergency Care (Section 2552, p 1479)
79. Grant program to support demonstration programs that design and implement regionalized emergency care systems (Section 2553, p. 1480)
80. Grant program to assist veterans who wish to become emergency medical technicians upon discharge (Section 2554, p. 1487)
81. Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (Section 2562, p. 1494)
82. National Medical Device Registry (Section 2571, p. 1501)
83. CLASS Independence Fund (Section 2581, p. 1597)
84. CLASS Independence Fund Board of Trustees (Section 2581, p. 1598)
85. CLASS Independence Advisory Council (Section 2581, p. 1602)
86. Health and Human Services Coordinating Committee on Women’s Health (Section 2588, p. 1610)
87. National Women’s Health Information Center (Section 2588, p. 1611)
88. Centers for Disease Control Office of Women’s Health (Section 2588, p. 1614)
89. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Office of Women’s Health and Gender-Based Research (Section 2588, p. 1617)
90. Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Women’s Health (Section 2588, p. 1618)
91. Food and Drug Administration Office of Women’s Health (Section 2588, p. 1621)
92. Personal Care Attendant Workforce Advisory Panel (Section 2589(a)(2), p. 1624)
93. Grant program for national health workforce online training (Section 2591, p. 1629)
94. Grant program to disseminate best practices on implementing health workforce investment programs (Section 2591, p. 1632)
95. Demonstration program for chronic shortages of health professionals (Section 3101, p. 1717)
96. Demonstration program for substance abuse counselor educational curricula (Section 3101, p. 1719)
97. Program of Indian community education on mental illness (Section 3101, p. 1722)
98. Intergovernmental Task Force on Indian environmental and nuclear hazards (Section 3101, p. 1754)
99. Office of Indian Men’s Health (Section 3101, p. 1765)
100. Indian Health facilities appropriation advisory board (Section 3101, p. 1774)
101. Indian Health facilities needs assessment workgroup (Section 3101, p. 1775)
102. Indian Health Service tribal facilities joint venture demonstration projects (Section 3101, p. 1809)
103. Urban youth treatment center demonstration project (Section 3101, p. 1873)
104. Grants to Urban Indian Organizations for diabetes prevention (Section 3101, p. 1874)
105. Grants to Urban Indian Organizations for health IT adoption (Section 3101, p. 1877)
106. Mental health technician training program (Section 3101, p. 1898)
107. Indian youth telemental health demonstration project (Section 3101, p. 1909)
108. Program for treatment of child sexual abuse victims and perpetrators (Section 3101, p. 1925)
109. Program for treatment of domestic violence and sexual abuse (Section 3101, p. 1927)
110. Native American Health and Wellness Foundation (Section 3103, p. 1966)
111. Committee for the Establishment of the Native American Health and Wellness Foundation (Section 3103, p. 1968)

E-Mail From Retired CMS, USAF About Hasan

Every day we get garbage e-mails of doubtful origin. This one appears to be real and, if not, hits the mark nevertheless. It was written last Friday, November 6, long before the revelations about the extent to which the warning signs were known to various branches of the Government.

These are sad days for our nation and especially for the families of the victims at Fort Hood. I wrote a letter to my congressman to get some things off my chest and have decided to share it with all of you. I am doing this because I am troubled by the seemingly passive reporting of this act of treason.

Anyway, here it is. Please feel free to share your outrage over this incident with your representatives, newspapers, etc.

Honorable Rob Bishop,

I am a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant with 30 years of active service and am currently in my 10th year of teaching at a local Junior High School. I feel by background, experience, and love for this nation have earned the right to say what I am about to say.

I am deeply concerned about the lack of outrage being displayed over the actions of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. I can understand it from those who are grieving, but It seems that people (reporters, officials, etc.), even our president, are trying very hard not to condemn him, but are looking for excuses for his actions.

This man is a coward and a traitor. He challenged his country's position on an enemy during war time, speaking out in a way that would get any enlisted man or woman courts marshaled or at a minimum a general discharge. Then he turned against his own troops, those he was given authority over by virtue of his rank and, while yelling the battle cry of the enemy, he mowed them down in cold blood as the enemy.

Our Commander in Chief needs to recognize this not only as a horrifying act of terrorism, but as an act of treason. If he doesn't, if he plays the politically correct game and shows any sympathy for him, he is not a leader, has no love, respect, or compassion for his troops as Commander in Chief and should be removed from office immediately.

Those who knew about Hasan's adamant claims against our military actions and his political comments against our Country's military actions while in uniform, and during wartime posture and position, were obligated to report him. They should be thoroughly investigated and if they don't have the ability to make hard decisions (this one should have been easy) they should be removed from their offices. If they had done their jobs, Hasan might have been stripped his rank and drummed out of service before he had an opportunity to plan out his traitorous actions. He should have been under investigation based on those comments, and those who failed to act on them carry the guilt of his crimes.

Please pass my feelings on to the rest of Congress and our President. Thank you for listening.

Patrick D. Crawford, CMS USAF (Ret)
PS, I may forward this E-mail to a few others whom I think need to hear my feelings.

If I missed any important facts, please don't hesitate to let me know.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Super 7 Extension to Open November 19

It's not a date that's written in stone says DOT, "But that's what we're shooting for."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Murphy Wins Big; Republicans Sweep

In a major thrashing, Mayor Pat Murphy defeated challenger Bob Coppola 4032, 1734. That's the unofficial count. It was a big night for the Republicans who won every seat they ran for but one.

The new Town Council will consist of 6 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Republicans: Esposito, O'Brien, Buck-Taylor, Szendy, Guendelsberger, Bass. Democrats: Bayer, Mullen, Lundgren. Venerable Councilman John Lillis lost.

It was certainly not a happy night for the School Superintendent...Republicans now have a 5-4 majority on the Board of Ed.

And how did New Milford First fare? It scored a big zero. Not even close.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Reminder: Former Lanesville Voters Vote At Sarah Noble

Contrary to what appears in this week's Spectrum, former Lanesville voters (District 7) vote Tuesday at Sarah Noble, NOT at the Firehouse on Lanesville!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Reader: 'Clueless Bob'

"I listened with amusement to Bob Coppola [at the Northville Residents Association event] as he touted that all he’s heard on the street is people need jobs, jobs, jobs and that if he was elected mayor he would lower property taxes. When asked how he would lower taxes Bob went back to Jobs, jobs, jobs and he, as mayor, would create jobs, rambling on and on. When he was asked again Bob said 'I answered your question' but the questioner said no, you didn’t tell me HOW you would lower taxes. Bob rambled on some more but in the end even Bob admitted, 'I probably didn’t answer your question.'

Clueless Bob, just who we need as mayor."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Watch Mayoral Debate

9:00 p.m. on October 22
9:00 p.m. on October 29

One other time TBA

Charter Channel 21

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pilla: Kane 'Unqualified For Public Office'

Not unexpectedly, the John Kane piece in last week’s Spectrum was filled with mistruths and distortions. I wish that the Spectrum staff had done some fact-checking. In addition, readers can’t tell if this was a press release from New Milford First or a news story. Either way, readers lose because the facts are nowhere to be found.

Readers may recall that many years ago, the Town had an opportunity to buy a reservoir property from the Water Company. That opportunity expired in 2002 after the Town Council decided that the purchase at a cost in excess of $2,000,000 wasn’t a good idea while the Town was in the throes of revaluation and many taxpayers were facing a potential tax increase in excess of 30%. As exhibited by his very weak attempt to buy the property and his absence from the State DPUC Hearings, even former mayor Gambino got a dose of reality that the Town could not afford the purchase.

By the time that the idea reached the Board of Finance, it was too late. Inaction by the Town Council made meaningless any action by the Board of Finance and any of its Members, including John Spatola. Mr. Kane has lost sleep ever since.

The misguided Ethics Complaint that Kane and his cohorts filed against Spatola was like a witch-hunt. The Complaint was written by Kane and cost New Milford taxpayers tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars because after Spatola was totally exonerated, taxpayers had to reimburse Spatola the costs of his defense, the costs of the proceeding and the costs of the Town’s own attorneys that included a Special, independent Attorney.

Kane’s claim that Mayor Murphy delayed the Ethics Hearing is bogus. It languished for two reasons. Several Members of the Ethics Commission had recused themselves because of conflicts and Mr. Kane and his cohorts turned the Ethics Hearings into a circus that would make the “Judge Judy” TV Show look like the US Supreme Court.

Mayor Murphy and the Town Council diligently moved the process forward by properly appointing new members to the Commission and by appointing the Special, independent Attorney to oversee the process.

Mr. Kane’s shenanigans will continue to cost the taxpayers dearly and because of his past actions and in front of a Superior Court Judge, he had to personally apologize in writing to me because of his vicious allegations in the Spatola Complaint.

After many years, he is still at it, misleading the public using this dismissed Ethics Complaint to catapult him into public office when, in reality, the opposite should happen.

It is my opinion that his distorted and radical views, his misguided actions and his public performance make him grossly unqualified for any public office.

Town government, more so now than ever given the serious problems of our economy, needs well-intentioned, dedicated and knowledgeable people. Mr. Kane is not one of them.

Mr. Kane likes to throw stones. Here’s a stone he doesn’t throw: why was he summarily dismissed as a teacher at Wesconn University where records remain sealed? Here’s another: why does he continue to receive special tax breaks on his personal residence on Crossman Road under the guise of a voodoo farming operation while all other taxpayers are paying for his folly?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Links To Mayoral Candidates' Web Pages

Mayor Pat Murphy:

Bob Coppola:

NMF Allegations In Spectrum 'Deceptive'

I am compelled to set the record straight with regard to some of the statements made by New Milford First in last week's Spectrum.

First, Member Monaghan claimed that the Mayor and Town Council eliminated “just about all capital projects.” Indeed, the Mayor did have capital projects in the Budget that she presented to the Town Council but they were taken out of the Budget by the Council because its Members chose instead to create a capital reserve account, funding for which came from the so-called undesignated fund. By leaving out the salient facts, Mr. Monagahn has told an egregious mis-truth.

Second, Mr. Monaghan ascribes to NMF candidate Sandy Peterson an allegation that this led to a “threatened cut” in the Town’s credit rating. False. In fact, having the new Capital Reserve Account enhances the Town’s borrowing ability because it shows to the bonding companies that the Town has financial stability and is dedicated to the maintenance of its infrastructure.

Third, with regard to Mr. Monaghan’s allegation that the Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development is “more than two years” overdue, the State Office of Policy and Management has written that the revised Plan is due on July 1, 2010. It is by no means overdue. With the assistance of a consultant, the Planning Commission is effecting a thorough review of the POCD and amassing volumes of input from many sources.

Finally, with regard to Mr. Kane’s complaint that the Town’s Ethics Code doesn’t work, voters might need to be reminded that this statement – from his point of view – is entirely true. But what he’s really saying is that it didn’t work for him i.e. he lost his ridiculous Ethics Complaint against John Spatola that cost the Town hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills.

Being honest with readers is obviously not one of New Milford First’s priorities. Deception is.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sports Complex Reopens

Without fanfare, the Sports Complex was reopened last week. Nelson Mingachos, Immaculate's very successful Boys' Varsity Basketball Coach and Girls' Varsity Soccer Coach plans to host and provide a variety of athletic activities and programs, everything from personal training to season games. Installing basketball courts soon, he and his partners are already booking space. This looks like a great win for New Milford...more details to follow!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mayoral Debate Set For October 15 the Library. I believe that the moderator will be Art Cummings. I will post the time tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chemical Spill Closes Route 7 Near High School

Stay away from the area...Route 7 just south of the HS is closed to Brookfield. It appears that a tractor-trailer has overturned, dumping chemicals on the road. All traffic is being detoured to Candlewood Lake Road South. Fire personnel are on the scene but there is no Police presence on CLRS and traffic in places such as the intersection at Carmen Hill is at a dead stop.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fund-Raising For Playground Exceeds Match Challenge

Thanks to some large donations and many smaller, the $50,000 fund-raising challenge for the construction of the new playground has been met and exceeded.

But with about $110,000 in hand, "The effort isn't over," says Assistant Parks and Rec Director Eleanor Covelli. "The more money we get, the better a facility we can build."

The larger donors are: MVP-SOS, $10,000; Village Fair, $5,000; Chamber of Commerce, $5,000; NMPTO, $2,500; Candlewood Valley Pediatrics, $2,500; the Pilla Family, $2,000; Top-Flight, $1,770; and $1,500, the Dayton Family.

Congratulations to the New Milford 4Rec Association, Eleanor and Director Dan Calhoun for making this project a reality.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chris Murphy Response

Dear Jay,

Thank you for your interest in attending one of my public forums to talk about health care reform. This is one of the most consequential policy debates of our generation, and I need your individual contributions to the conversation. Without your ideas, concerns and suggestions, I will not be able to bring your voice to Washington.

I hope you can join me for breakfast Tuesday September 1 through Friday September 4, from 8 to 9am, to talk about health care reform. I'll bring the coffee, you bring the conversation.

Tuesday, September 1: 8 AM - 9 AM, Library Park, 267 Grand Street at Meadow Street, Waterbury

Wednesday, September 2: 8 AM - 9 AM, CityCenter, Danbury Green, Danbury

Thursday, September 3: 8 AM - 9 AM, CityCenter, Danbury Green, Danbury

Friday, September 4: 8 AM - 9 AM: Library Park, Waterbury, 267 Grand Street at Meadow Street

I will also be holding a town hall-style forum on Wednesday September 2, in Washington, CT.

Wednesday, September 2: 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Shepaug Valley High School, 159 South St., Washington, CT

If you have any questions, please contact my staff in New Britain at (860) 223-8412. I can't do my job without hearing from you, so I look forward to seeing you next week.

Every Best Wish,

Christopher S. Murphy
Member of Congress

Friday, August 21, 2009

An Invitation To Congressman Chris Murphy

Honorable Sir: You said recently, "Any time I’m talking to my constituents in an unfiltered way I consider it productive." I wholeheartedly agree and respect the thought. Too many of our elected officials have lost touch with the people.

It is with your sentiment in mind that I invite you to New Milford to hold a Town Hall Meeting on health care reform. If you are willing to do this, please contact me and I will help make all the necessary arrangements.

Very truly yours etc.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sewer Vote: "Yes"

It passed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sewer: Vote "Yes"


1) The existing equipment is between 23 and 50 years old and is very expensive to maintain...some parts have to be custom made;

2) The State has ordered the Town to upgrade;

3) DEP rules get stricter every year. When this work is completed, we will have nitrogen credits to sell;

4) The Town has obligated 1.3 million gallons of capacity but the existing facility can only handle 1 million;

5) Fat and grease capacity will be increased;

6) Service to lower Route 7 will be enabled;

7) The upgraded plant will be energy efficient; between $300,000 and $400,000 in energy credits will be paid to the Town;

8) The cost of the money will never be cheaper and the 2% loan doesn't have to be paid back until one year after the job is completed;

9) The State money will likely never be available again;

10) The cost of the upgrade is 8 to 9 million dollars less than originally contemplated;

11) The upgraded system will be better for the environment because it will help minimize storm runoff into the river and into the aquifer;

12) Without the upgrade, new businesses and new construction such as recreational facilities can't be built;

Even if you have a septic system, this vote does mean something to you. Did you know that the company that empties your septic tank takes it to the sewer plant?

Please vote "yes" in tomorrow's referendum.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cash For Clunkers A Clunker

The newest glitch -- a word that the kids use too often -- is that dealers have been requiring buyers to sign an agreement that requires them to pay back the clunker money if the dealer never gets it from the Government. Now the DOT is advising buyers not to sign these agreements ( But where does that leave the dealers if something goes awry? From the get-go there have been problems. For example, the list of eligible cars on has to be updated regularly because DOT forgot to include some vehicles (hence the July 24 update) and a dealer in New Milford told me that he has been waiting 3 weeks for a substantial sum of money for the clunkers that are sitting on his lot. That's a lot of money to be tied up that long.

Has anyone out there successfully done a clunker deal?

By the way, on a personal note, I'm looking for a Jeep Grand Cherokee no older than 2000. I'll give you clunker money if the one you have or if the car you want to buy doesn't qualify...and most don't!

Wouldn't It Be Nice to Have A Trader Joe's In Town?

I like Trader Joe's and I support Pat Carr's petitioning effort to encourage it to open a store in the old CVS location on the Green. Anywhere in Town would be just fine! A brief search discloses that we're not the only Community that wants A TJ. The stores are so popular that TJ has a form that can be used to recommend a new location:

If you'd rather leave a voice mail for TJ CEO Dan Bane, call (626) 599 3700, extension 7333.

It's my understanding that TJ has a problem opening stores in Connecticut because the State won't allow it to co-locate its wines. Very business-friendly, right?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Watch Town Council Meetings On TV!

Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. on Channel 21.

With November elections on the way, this is helpful.

Hazardous Waste Day

Hazardous Waste Day is September 19 at the Railroad Station. Yes, electronics will be taken because the State has not acted as yet on the Law that went into effect on July 1.

What CAN be dropped off? Here are some examples:

Drain or oven cleaners, rust preventatives, pesticides, herbicides, old chemistry sets, oil based paints - NOT LATEX!

Arts and craft supplies, transmission fluid,insect and rodent sprays, photo chemicals, solvents, degreasers

Floor cleaners and strippers, sealants, pool chemicals, dry cleaning fluids, antifreeze, brake fluid, ATF, muriatic acid, wood preservatives,engine and radiator cleaners, no-pest strips

Wood strippers, items with PCBs, septic system cleaners, dioxin silver or 2,4,5- T, paint thinner, kerosene, chips from lead based paint.

Computers (laptops and desktops), monitors, TVs, printers, fax, DVD, VCR

What CAN'T be dropped off?:

Latex Paint, tires, garbage, infectious or medical wastes, gas cylinders, asbestos, smoke detectors, ammunition, fireworks, propane, freon or unknown gases, explosives and highly reactive materials, radioactive materials, controlled substances.

Friday, July 31, 2009

New Milford First Selects Candidates And Endorsements


Bob Coppola (D)

Town Council:

Eileen Monaghan
John Kane

Walter Bayer (D)
Anne Cutter (D)
Peter Mullen (D)
Mary Jane Lundgren (D)
Ray O'Brien (R)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Democrats Select Candidates

Bob Coppola

John Lillis
Walter Bayer
Peter Mullen
Ann Cutter
Mary Jane Lundgren

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Republicans Choose Council Candidates

Pete Bass
Cecelia Buck-Taylor
Roger Szendy
Ray O'Brien
Tom Esposito
Bob Guendelsberger

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mayor Murphy To Seek Another Term

The Mayor told me today that she will seek another term.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Morey: BOE Has Credibility Problem

Do the phrases, “The school system will crash and burn!” and “This will be a catastrophe!” and “The school budget is bare bones minimum!” sound familiar? These are but a few of the hues and cries and the deceptive rhetoric that we hear each year at budget time from the Board of Ed and School Administrators.

This year, the Mayor proposed reducing a payment to the Town’s medical service account by $800,000, thereby reducing the proposed tax increase by 1%. The Town Council approved the proposal but the Mayor’s attempt to save the taxpayers this $800,000 failed because three delusional Board of Finance Members who to this day don’t understand how that account works voted against it. As a result, taxpayers are being overtaxed by $800,000. All the while, these three democrats and their BOE counterparts were making these hues and cries.

But wait! Moments after the passage of the school budget, the BOE and the School administrators were ecstatic about the Budget passage. But what about the hues and cries? How can a budget be described as a “crash and burn” one day and ecstasy the very next? There’s obviously a credibility issue.

Even more, despite the hues and cries, approximately one month after the Budget passed, we now find the School Board handing out raises, additional employee benefits and employee retirement incentives like so much Halloween candy.

That’s because the BOE is totally oblivious to the fact that our economy is on life support and any new tax revenue created from an expanded tax base is on morphine drip.

The BOE needs members who have business acumen. Without such people, the Board’s tax and spend policies will continue unchecked with no regard for the taxpayers and our taxes will rise exponentially.

Over the last 20 years, the New Milford taxpayers have supported nearly $100,000,000 in new and renovated school infrastructure costs.

Over that same period and into the future, the BOE’s abysmal failure to properly maintain that infrastructure falls on the taxpayers who must once again ante-up. The accelerated depreciation of the school infrastructure is a direct result of the majority of the tax dollars being directed mostly towards salaries, benefits and employee-retirement incentives.

The private sector is experiencing many job losses, reduced salaries and, in some cases, the elimination of benefits but not our School system!

Taxpayers would be more inclined to tolerate the rising cost of our School system if better results were achieved. Other than a few students of academic excellence who would excel in any school system, most graduates today can’t make change of a dollar bill without using a calculator. We all want what’s best for our children but, unfortunately, too much of the School budget is about salaries and benefits and not enough about the future of our youth.

It is long overdue that the State Legislature allow municipalities to separate their tax bills by town and school so that taxpayers can see the real impact of our school budget. Many states allow this.

Another reality check. Why is it that the Budget vote always takes place on a Tuesday during the school day, leaving the schools dangerously open with unchecked accessability? Is it because a Tuesday vote makes it so convenient for parents and teachers to vote? Which is more important, the safety of our children or the passage of the School budget? Our children should be first and foremost. Several towns vote on Saturday.

I challenge the BOE and the School administrators to cut out the budget rhetoric and produce better results. I urge the Town Council to change budget votes to Saturdays.

Tom Morey
New Milford

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Swine Flu Arrives In New Milford

The Health Department posted confirmation of the Town's first case of H1N1 otherwise known as the Swine Flu:

The Department posts a lot of helpful and interesting information on its Web Page; access it through

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bridge Traffic Mess

At about this time last year, a State DOT contractor showed up and caused a traffic mess on Veterans' Bridge. No notice to the Town. The contractor just showed up. A promise was made that it would never happen again. Yeah, right. Uh-huh.

Earlier today, Mayoral Aide Tammy Reardon asked that the job be shut down until proper notice could be given to residents; the work stopped. It will resume tomorrow, as set forth in this Press Release from the Mayor's Office:

"The Mayor’s Office has just been notified that Connecticut DOT has scheduled Haks Engineering to inspect Veterans Bridge (00901) with alternating traffic on Wednesday, June 3rd.

Inspection will take place between 9am and 2pm, weather dependent. There is a chance that inspection may be required within the same hours on Thursday, June 4th. Please expect traffic delays or make arrangements to avoid this area during these hours."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

eWaste Update

In January, I wrote a post about the start of a program to collect certain electronic waste ("eWaste") at the Recycling Center.

The Statute provides that, effective July 1, 2009, the Town is required to segregate eWaste at the Recycling Center. There are four CEDs ("covered electronic devices"): televisions, computers, monitors and, optionally, printers. Instead of being dumped in a landfill, they will be processed in an environmentally sound manner, broken up into components and reused where possible.

Since the program is paid for by the manufacturers, there will be no charge to drop off these items.

A few moments ago, I spoke with Tom Metzner at the DEP who told me that the program will not go into effect until the Regs are passed. He thinks that the program will be ready "by the end of the year." "We're trying to do this as quickly as possible," he said, "because we know it is costing the Towns money."

In our case, it isn't costing the Town anything because there is a drop-off charge for all of these items except printers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Budget Passes In Low Turnout

Town Budget: 1861 yes, 1276 no.
BOE Budget: 1751 yes, 1384 no.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How To Report Motor Vehicle Registration/Tax Violations

This site offers a totally anonymous means of reporting people who you think may be cheating on their car or personal property taxes. I know that many people call the Assessor's Office but it cannot take an anonymous report. This is a quote from the site:

"Did you ever sit in line at your local bank drive-up and wonder why the driver of the Florida registered Hummer in front of you would want to have an account there? That 4-wheel drive must really come in handy during those Florida winters! Did you ever wonder why you see those same people in the Vermont registered Mercedes 500SL every weekend at your local pizza parlor?

Many Connecticut residents register their vehicles in other states to avoid paying sales taxes and local property taxes. These vehicles are easy to spot because they’re parked in your neighbor’s driveway displaying the state marker plates of their vacation home! If you ask them, they’ll provide answers more entertaining than those of ENRON ex-officials testifying before Congress. There is ONE place where you will NEVER see them. You’ll never see them waiting in line for a Connecticut emissions test!

An even bigger problem…..many more Connecticut residents register their vehicles in Connecticut but use an address/tax town other than their residence where the vehicle is located. These are what we refer to as “stealth” cheats because they are not readily visible. This is most prevalent in the Cities where mil rates are high and where insurance premiums are double that of the suburbs."

Monday, May 4, 2009

New Democratic Registrar

Democratic Registrar Helen Cherney's successor was her Deputy, Barbara Brickley.
On Friday, Barbara Brickley appointed Chris Cutter as her Deputy.
On Monday, Barbara Brickley resigned.
On Monday, Deputy Chris Cutter became the Registrar.
On Monday, Chris Cutter appointed Barbara Brickley as his Deputy.

"I couldn't wait any longer for the party to act so I had to take action," said Barbara who explained that she'd been waiting for the Party for weeks. "I couldn't handle the upcoming referendum by myself. Chris is retired, he's a great guy and I think he'll do a terrific job."

Friday, May 1, 2009

Taxpayers To Be Overtaxed

You won't believe this. At the hands of Board of Finance Democrats Frank Wargo, Shelly Pruss and Gail Alexander, you are going to be overtaxed by the sum of $800,000.00.

Yes, you heard me. OVERTAXED.

Tonight, the Town Council voted (Lillis abstained)to reduce the Budget because of the medical savings [see yesterday's post]but these three BOF whizzes voted against the motion to reduce so it failed and the Budget that goes out to the voters contains the sum of $800,000.00 that doesn't need to be in it. So, instead of a .13% increase, the tax increase remains at 1.35%.

And folks, it's against the law to overtax. These three ought to be sued in a class action and be held personally liable.

All this happened despite the fact that Town Attorney Randy DiBella explained that they can't lawfully send a Budget out that isn't reflective of the Town's actual expenses.

New Milford ought to have its own Tea Parties. I am sick of the ignorance and disrespect for the taxpayers.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mayor Reduces Tax Increase From 1.35% to .13%

Mayor Murphy just posted a Special Town Council Meeting for Friday at 7:30 p.m. This is the Agenda item:

Reopen Budget Deliberations and Set a New Referendum Date

Reopen budget deliberations for the purpose of discussion and possible action on revision of the budget recommended to the Board of Finance by the Town Council on March 10, 2009 by reducing the recommended budget from $90,017,784 to $89,217,784 so as to reflect the anticipated reduction in health insurance costs for fiscal year 2009-2010, and to set a new referendum date. Such reduction will reduce the proposed tax increase from 1.35 percent down to 0.13 percent.

Parks & Rec Seeks Matching $$ for Creative Playground

I received the following from Eleanor Covelli, Assistant P & R Director:

...We are starting our fundraising efforts to build a “New Creative Playground” at John Pettibone School. An anonymous donor has come forward who will match, dollar-for-dollar, any amount up to $50,000! The funds need to be raised by Labor Day in order to be matched.

We are appealing to everyone via this email to fill a 16.9 oz. empty water bottle with pennies (nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars or checks are welcome also) and return it to New Milford Parks and Recreation, 47 Bridge Street. We are hoping to have your donation in hand by June 1st to get us started.

If you can’t get to our offices, we will be happy to pick up the donations!

Checks should be made payable to the “New Milford Parks & Recreation Gift Fund” [47 Bridge Street, New Milford, CT 06776].

This is a wonderful project that will benefit kids for years to come.

Monday, April 27, 2009

State RTC Chair Healy to Speak May 4

This is a press release that I received from the NMRTC:

Republican State Party Chairman
Chris Healy is the featured speaker at the New Milford RTC meeting, which will be held May 4th at the Pettibone School at 7:00 p.m.

Registered Republican voters and others concerned with the current direction of government are invited to hear the briefing, which will focus on the state's current and projected budget deficits, the difficulty municipalities face in assembling balanced budgets, and the growing Tea Bag tax rebellion now sweeping the nation. Healy will also discuss the outlook for the fall elections.

"Fiscal responsibility is the very foundation of our political party," said Pat Sherry, Chairwoman of the New Milford RTC. "It is our top priority today. The sooner our elected officials in Hartford and Washington, D.C. discover fiscal restraint, and reduce unnecessary government spending, the sooner our private sector will energize and lead us out of this financial and economic morass."

Since his election as CT GOP chairman in January 2007, Healy has worked to modernize and improve the effectiveness of the state party. He relocated the party's headquarters and doubled the floor space, enabling better training sessions and more convenient meetings and seminars for candidates and party activists. Healy also introduced new technologies to foster better communications and information sharing, both of which enable the GOP to compete and win in local and state elections.

From a policy standpoint, Healy has helped the state party return to its core principles of small, effective government, free trade, lower taxes and less regulation on businesses -- all while demanding a quality public education and strong support for defense and the war against terrorism.

More recently, Healy has been an outspoken critic of U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, especially his lack of leadership and focus on Connecticut, and his questionable real estate deals involving a convicted felon and a disgraced sub-prime mortgage lender.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Staff Changes at the Spectrum

Current Editor Jacky Smith has been moved to the News-Times and will be its Managing Editor. She will report to Art Cummings.

As of Monday, Norm Cummings will be the new Editor of the Spectrum.

Lynda Wellman has accepted a buyout. Her last day will be May 15 and she will be replaced by Susan Tuz.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Homeless In New Milford

I’m not going to attempt to address the complex social issues. Simply, I’m tired of hearing how little the Town does so I am going to list the services that are available in New Milford. I believe that Homelessness is a problem of prevention; the Town should and must support programs that help people stay in their homes and help them keep their jobs.

Be mindful, though, that I have a problem with people who come to New Milford – and they do – just to take advantage of those services. A kind of, “build it and they will come” problem. I believe that the services that are supported by New Milford taxpayers should be for people who are from New Milford, not carpetbaggers. Sorry.

1) Social Services offers a food pantry, heat and electrical assistance, temporary housing, counseling services and more.

2) A culinary program “for unemployed and underemployed adults looking to work in the food service industry”

3) The Senior Center has great programs including a bus for medical and other appointments, lunch programs, meals on wheels

4) The Town supports the VNA

5) The Town supports the Childrens’ Center

6) Loaves and Fishes uses Town space; taxpayers pay its utilities, maintenance and for its additional police calls

7) The HART bus

8) The Health Department will help with temporary shelter if, for example, a tenant is without hot water or heat in the winter

9) The Youth Agency’s fees for its latchkey program are on a sliding scale and it offers free counseling services

I’m sure that I have missed some.

The best proof of the existence of these services is that the people who come to New Milford for shelter wouldn’t come here if it didn’t offer them. We ought to have a good look at where they come from and how they got here. Finally, I note with some amazement that the New Milford Homeless Shelter Coalition offers driving directions to the Green!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Budget Referendum: May 12

The Town Council set the date: May 12, 2009.

New Milford's Tea Party

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rev. Keeney-Mulligan Transferred to Bloomfield; Needs Help Finding Lost Ring

Until I received an e-mail this morning, I was not aware that Rev. Gail Keeney-Mulligan's son lost a ring of great sentimental value at the Schaghticoke soccer fields. The story is in the News-Times today.

She told me a few moments ago that a metal detector hasn't helped...yet. I offered her the use of mine and I encourage all of you who have them (I know there are many!) to try your hand.

In the same conversation, Rev. Keeney-Mulligan confirmed that she has been transferred from St. John's Episcopal Church to Bloomfield, effective this coming June.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Name This Person!

Who will be the first to identify this muscle-bound 29 year old from the Bronx?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Mary Connolly's "Retirement" From the News-Times

"For the past nearly quarter-century," News-Times Editor Art Cummings wrote, "Mary Connolly was the face of The News-Times' editorial page.

"Now, however, the Mary Connolly era has drawn to a close. Mary has retired, leaving a legacy of an outstanding career and a community better off for her many contributions."

This is one Member of the Community who disagrees. But I do owe her some thanks. After all, she's one of the reasons that I started this Page. I became so frustrated with her editorials and her refusal to print some of my words that I decided to find another way to air my thoughts.

Political leanings aside, the frustration was due, in part, to her lack of knowledge and avoidance of the relevant facts. When writing an editorial about New Milford, she often didn’t bother to consult the New Milford reporters who knew the facts so, on occasion, her editorials were at odds with the stories. I think that this was a terrible disservice.

So, Mary, I wish you well but I question whether your legacy was a benefit to the New Milford Community.

By the way. Mary didn’t “retire.” Like others, she put in for and took a buyout. There’s a difference.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Good Budget News: No Cut To ECS

Can you stand some good Budget news? I just learned that there will be no cut to the ECS money from the State. It will be maintained at current levels.

BREAKING: BOF May Have to Revisit Budget

Finance Director Ray Jankowski may know today if there will be a substantial cut in ECS (Education Cost Sharing) funds from the State. If this happens, the BOF may have to call a special meeting to revisit the Budget. Ray brought this up last night.

Here's an example. Let's say that the State's financial woes are really bad and the ECS amount is reduced by $1.5 million. This loss of revenue would result in a new tax increase of 3.66% if substantial cuts -- not reductions in requested increases -- aren't made.

Procedurally, this raises some interesting issues. First, I believe that the BOF has the right to revisit the Budget so long as it does so within the 15 day period that the Charter provides it must act. If it does call a Meeting, someone who voted with the majority last night must make a motion to renew, not a motion for reconsideration.

Second, in the unlikely event that the BOF does not hold a special meeting, the Charter mandates that the Budget go to a Town Meeting and, as also required by Charter, to Referendum thereafter. But what can be done, if anything, to stop that process since the Budget that would go to the Town Meeting and the Referendum is known to be deficient?

Third, what happens if the Town Meeting takes place and the Budget is declared a nullity but the BOF's 15 days have expired. Does the BOF still have jurisdiction to consider any Budget?

Finally, I must point out that every budget, every year, is not more than a snapshot of a point in time and really just a guessing game when it comes to revenue. That's why they are called "anticipated" revenues. At what point does a Budget lose such relationship to reality that it has to be adjusted before it goes to the voters? When revenues are down $3? $3,000? $300,000?

Must a municipality warn voters at the polls about this, assume they already know or just avoid all the above by sending the Budget along and later sending out a supplemental tax bill if necessary?

All good questions for the Town Attorney.

BOF Sends Budget to Voters Without Change

In a half-hour Meeting that was attended by only a handful of people, the Board of Finance passed the Mayor/Town Council Budget by a 4-2 vote. Shelly Pruss and Gale Alexander voted against.

The Budget provides for a 1.35% tax increase and now goes to the voters.

"The vote was what's best for the Community," said Mayor Murphy. "With this Budget we can still provide the services that people expect. If it doesn't pass, I have some real concerns."

Two motions were made to increase the BOE Budget. Both failed. The first motion was to add $750,000 to the School Budget, the second was to add $500,000. "People can afford it," Shelly said.

Board Member Frank Wargo disagreed saying that people he knows "aren't having a great year economically."

Member Gale Alexander, whose Budget books are still sitting in the Mayor's Office, was the lone opposing vote. If it was his intention to use the on-line edition of the Budget, he certainly could have saved the Town the printing cost by so advising.

Chairman Bob Sherry said that in prior years he supported putting money back in the education budget but "this isn't the time to do that given our economic condition.

"We all care deeply about education but based on the turnout at both the Public Hearing and our Meeting last night I think we did the right thing.

"I think that it's time for the BOE to tighten its belt. Last year it had a surplus of about $750,000.00."

In the past, some have said that the Town doesn't support education. "It's obvious that the Town supports education," said Mayor Murphy, "But right now we don't have money and we're worried about what's coming from the State.

"Don't support education?" Mayor Murphy asked. "All you have to do is take a look at the School's debt service -- all of which is on the Town side of the Budget -- and you'll see that we support education."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pilla Responds to Pruss

Any resentment that a very few might feel, Shelly, is unfortunate because for those very same few the message might get lost in their resentment. It is not my intention to do anything but point out that I have a very large, vested interest in the Town’s welfare.

Now to the facts.

I am delighted to hear that the BOF Members are not going to succumb to the temptation to raid the undesignated account. For the reasons that I explained in my comments at your Hearing, that would cause a disaster on June 30, 2010, and surely result in job losses. As I also said, we shouldn’t be talking about raises; if we want to save jobs we should be talking about a Town-wide wage freeze not just a freeze on the Town-side.

I hope that the Members are also not going to succumb to the wishes of a few who want to give more money to the BOE and thus raise taxes. You may have noticed that the turnout at your Hearing produced very few people who thought that this is a good idea. That’s a stark contrast to years past. It’s the economy, Shelly.

With regard to line items, it is true that you don’t have line-by-line authority but I think you missed my point. If I didn’t explain it as well as I should have, let me try to do that here. This is how it works. After looking at a department line by line, let’s say the Members think that a particular capital item should be cut. What you do is reduce the department’s bottom line by that amount and make the recommendation to the Department Head for the specific cut.

Finally, I want to again emphasize the importance of revenue. I urge you and your fellow Members to be very wary of the projected revenues in this economic climate. I think that they are a bit optimistic. For example, State grants may end up to be lower than expected. After all, as the Mayor said, the entire budget process is one that is constantly evolving and subject to this unfortunate economy. You invite disaster if you overstate revenues. The inevitable result of doing that will be an erosion of the undesignated account, a chance that must not be taken.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pilla Seeks Budget Freeze For School Administrators

At tonight's Board of Finance Public Hearing on the Budget, my friend and former Town Councilman Tommy Pilla called on School Administrators and Dr. Paddyfote, "our top paid official," to give "serious consideration" to a salary freeze.

"These are uncertain times," he said, "And the taxpayers need a break from constant year-after-year tax increases."

If Dr. Paddyfote and the Administrators agree to a wage freeze, the tax increase would be reduced substantially.

Tommy also addressed the use of the so-called undesignated fund that some people wrongly think of as a Town savings account. If the Members of the BOF choose to increase the Budget that was sent to them by the Mayor and Town Council, Tommy warned them not to use the undesignated fund as a source of money for the increase.

"Don't touch the undesignated," he said, noting that any reduction in the account could adversely affect the Town's bond rating. "There are many capital projects moving forward and we need a strong bond rating to secure low bond rates.

"Mayor Murphy has changed the fiscal misuse of the fund by prior administrations," he added. "Any future growth of the fund balance should only be used for non-reoccurring capital expenditures."

He also asked the BOF Members to take their time deliberating the Budget. "Take the permitted 15 days to scrutinize each expense, line by line. The people who worked hard putting it together and the taxpayers of the Town deserve no less."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

BOF Member Alexander Should Not Participate in BOE Budget

Mr. K.P. Cofgs. I met this mnemonical individual in biology class the same year that I learned that the ability to reason and the existence of conscience are the province of homo sapiens. That was a long time ago and it wouldn’t surprise me if the definitions of “reason” and “conscience” have evolved such that the concept is now outdated and, just maybe, I didn’t get it right then.

What I do know for sure is that we are each endowed with a moral compass, a compass that is superior to laws and regulations, neither of which can promise good behavior. Similarly, ethics codes cannot promise ethical behavior. The interpretation, application and enforcement of laws and ethics codes, no matter how well written, are subject to political influence and the whim and caprice of those who take an oath to uphold and enforce. Not so the moral compass.

Our personal moral compasses guide the decisions that we make in life. Though we may be influenced by laws or regulations or enlightened by religious practice, education, books and wise people, ultimately our decisions are so extremely personal and, ultimately, one’s moral compass is located between one’s self and one’s pillow.

I have attended Town meetings in which a member, faced with a potential personal conflict on a matter before the body, turns to his fellow members and says, “I will participate in this discussion unless there is an objection from you.” Town Councilman Ray O’Brien has done this. Similarly, Town Councilman Mary Jane Lundgren recently asked the Town Attorney if she had a conflict and shouldn’t vote on a matter. Neither question is appropriate because the decision to recuse or not is personal and must be made based upon one’s own moral compass.

Board of Finance Member Gale Alexander is registered with the BOE as a substitute teacher. Mr. Alexander thus has a contractual relationship with the School and a direct financial interest in the BOE Budget. Mr. Alexander has, in years past, participated in discussions and deliberations about the BOE Budget and voted on it.

My moral compass tells me that that financial interest is incompatible with the proper discharge of his duties as a Member of the BOF and that it could impair his independence and impartiality of judgment in the performance of his public duty.

Mr. Alexander, what does your moral compass tell you...should you be doing these things? I think not and I ask you, to preserve the faith of the hard-working taxpayers of this Town in these extremely difficult times, to recuse yourself from these matters.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spatola Action Settled

Some years ago, while Town Councilman Joe Failla was the Acting Chairman of the Ethics Commission, an Ethics complaint was filed by John Kane against John Spatola for an alleged impropriety that was committed while the latter was a Member of the Board of Finance. After a very long proceeding, the Complaint was dismissed. This action for legal fees arises out of a State Statute that provides for the recovery of a town official's legal fees in the event that he or she successfully defends such matters. The Town's insurance carrier refused to make the reimbursement, claiming that the statute didn't apply.

As John explains, a Superior Court Judge met with him, the Mayor, a representative of the insurance carrier and their attorneys and hammered out an agreement. That agreement is subject to the Town Council's approval and will be the subject of an Executive Session at its next Meeting.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Town Budget Now On-Line

A link to it may be found on the Town's Web Page:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Budget Presentation Minutes

FEBRUARY 17, 2009

Present: Mayor Patricia Murphy


Peter Bass
Walter Bayer
Joseph Failla
Robert Guendelsberger
John Lillis
Mary Jane Lundgren
Raymond O’Brien
Peter Mullen
Roger Szendy
Tammy Reardon, Mayoral Aide
Raymond Jankowski, Director of Finance
Joseph Galanti, Comptroller

Board of Finance:

Sheldon Pruss, Vice Chairman
Joanne Chapin, Alt.
Laurence Tripp
Mark Vendetti
Frank E. Wargo

Absent: Robert F. Sherry, Chairman
Gale Alexander

Others in Attendance include interested members of the public, the press, and Department Heads, commission members, the Town Attorney, and town employees.

The meeting was brought to order with Mr. Wargo starting the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence.


Mayor Patricia Murphy started off with her comments on this year’s budget process. She noted that although budgets are normally challenging, this year would be even more so. The financial world is constantly adjusting as this budget is also doing.

She recommended a wage freeze for all non-union and elected officials on the Town payroll for a savings of $100,000 in this budget year. All departments and employees are working to reduce costs and still provide the services the town needs and expects. She is currently in discussions with the town’s unions which she will talk about during an Executive Session on Thursday evening with the Town Council. These negotiations may offer further savings with regard to personnel and legal expenses. She and her staff have tried to re-negotiate fixed contractual costs wherever possible. They include $100,000 in workman’s compensation insurance costs and the town receiving an award because of its efforts; they’ve initiated in-house printing to save $25,000 per year; they’ve locked in on electrical costs until December 2009 for a savings of $35,000 and with the cooperation of the Board of Education are shopping for rates after that time period.

The town is locked into gas, oil, and diesel fuel for the 09-10 budget and they expect to save between $300,000 and $400,000 for both the town and the Board of Education. A new postage solution for both the town and the Board of Education expects a savings of $15,000 - $20,000 in postage and an additional $12,500 including in-house printing of tax bills.

The town’s prescription drug coverage has been changed from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to Medco with no loss of benefits for an expected savings of $150,000 - $200,000. Bond debt was refinanced for a savings of over $300,000 for the 09-10 budget year.

Adjustments were also made by reducing the revaluation line by $100,000 and another $2,500 from materials and supplies in the Town Council and Mayor’s office accounts.

To help maintain costs and grow the grand list, she recommends an aggressive marketing strategy for town-owned properties. She gave several examples. By selling some properties the town would put the properties back on the tax rolls and satisfy some of the debt the town has on certain properties. She would also like to move the Parks & Recreation Maintenance Department to the old ambulance facility when their new facility is done; the town would not expend such costs as condo fees and utility costs and would be closer to the parks and areas they manage. It would also save on travel time and add to fuel management as well as decrease wear and tear on the vehicles.

As she was asked to look into creative ways to save money, she proposes the town join the Litchfield County Dispatch (as the State is encouraging regionalization). This would save the town over $250,000 per year in personnel costs and the capital costs of upgrading the dispatch center. It would provide state of the art equipment and service to the community. She has met with the LCD to discuss this opportunity and the up to $250,000 reimbursable transition grant funds. The State is also offering LOCIP monies to town that regionalize for a variety of services. They have also discussed employment opportunities for those jobs that would be lost in town.

Her proposed budget does not include monies from the undesignated fund because the town must look at how the usage of those funds would affect its bond ratings and future borrowings. She presented a place to start with a reduction to the town operating budget in excess of $2 million dollars and no increase to the present Board of Education operating budget.


(Information given to the members is appended to these minutes)

Director of Finance Ray Jankowski gave a brief overview of the forecasts that he compiled for the Town Council and Board of Finance’s review. The first page of the packet submitted to members was an estimated budget review for fiscal year 09-10. It shows the budgeted, forecasted amounts for state grants and other review (Board of Education and town sides) for 2008-2009 as well as the estimated amounts for these items for 2009-2010. He expects a decrease in revenue for the 2009-2010 budget year.

Page 2 of the packet gives a breakdown of the grants that the town receives (broken down by State Grants – Education, Building Grants, and Town Grants). He does not expect to receive the estimated amount for the 2009-2010 M-65 property grant and noted that these monies are pro-rated and it is impossible to budget this item.

Page 3 of the packet broke down the revenue the town and Board of Education receives from fees and services. He does not expect any monies from deferred revenue (monies posted by developers, etc.) and noted that transfers in is also down. He did note that the Ambulance Corps would be bonding for their new facility and would also be paying for the paramedic services. No monies would be used from the internal service fund.

He noted that President Obama has signed the Stimulus Package. This puts $144 billion dollars available for State and local governments. He does not know what the amounts will be but does know that any monies will have strings attached. He could not tell members how those monies will affect this budget.

He summed up by stating that the town would see $2.9 million less in revenues for the upcoming budget year than the last one.

Mr. Szendy moved to recess the joint budget meeting at 7:47 p.m. to be reconvened on February 24, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. in the E. Paul Martin Room of Town Hall. The motion was seconded by Dr. Mullen and carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Judilynn Ferlow
Recording Secretary

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mayor's Budget Calls For 1.35% Tax Increase

In what she calls a "snapshot in time" in an "evolving" process, tonight Mayor Murphy presented her 09/10 Budget to a Joint Meeting of the Town Council and Board of Finance.

The proposal cuts $2,102,729 from the "Town Side" and provides no increase from the BOE's current operating budget i.e. it does not provide for the 1.88% increase that it requested.

The Mayor's Budget does not take the Union proposals into account and does not take any money from the Undesignated Account.

Among the areas in which money has been saved, the Mayor cited a $300,000 refinancing of bond debt. Specifically, Town Finance Director Ray Jankowski said there's a savings this year of $282,000 and $320,000 next year.

The Mayor wants to see "an agressive marketing plan" for certain Town-owned properties like Still Meadow and the Sunny Valley condo that is used by Parks and Rec.

The most interesting proposal of the night was the Mayor's interest in joining Litchfield County Dispatch that would result in a savings of $250,000 in personnel costs and more in hard costs. She intends to meet with State officials next week to examine the matter further. There is a $250,000 grant to pay for the transition costs from local dispatchers to the LCD system that is widely used in the region.

The Mayor said that she wants a Budget that provides necessary services at an affordable cost.

Ray Jankowski said that there would need to be an additional cut of about $890,000 to get to a 0% tax increase.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Medinstill Misinformation

The record needs to be set straight; there have been some odd comments.

The Medinstill abatement was approved by the Town Council long ago. It was on the Agenda recently to make sure that the right entity received the was a name change only. It did not enlarge or expand the original abatement.

If you read the Minutes of the first Meeting, you will find that Mayor Murphy supported a DEFERRAL, not an abatement. The latter was the TC's choice.

The abatement was given based upon a representation from Dr. Py that he would create many new jobs for the Community. The "many"that he promised started at 200 then bounced to 2500 then 500. It was all over the place. The fact is that there may have been 10. Unfortunately, the Council failed to condition the abatement on the production of those jobs so we may have no recourse.

The upside is that we now have leases for the use of the ballfields, there is a new pumping station and the sewer line now goes to Dr. Py's property resulting in an increase in the value of the property. If Dr. Py sells the property it will generate more tax revenue. The sewer expansion was paid for mostly by a State Grant and will serve the Brass Mill property as well.

On February 8, the following two anonymous comments were added to my August 27, 2008 Post entitled, "Dr. Py and the Children of New Milford:"

1) Ha Ha Ha - As a ex-MedInstill employee (who had to sign a "I will not say anything detrimental about the company when I left) All I can say is Dr, Py has puled the wool over all of your eyes! There will never be any production there and there will never be any more that 50 employees. The equipment that was produced will ultimately go into a Nestle facility (in the midwest) IF they can ever get it to work - which to date has not!In fact, MedInstill's only possible entry into a production scenerio has been to produce the equivalent of bacitracin ointment in one of their containers (which do not work) and they want 5 times the price of what you can buy in a tube (which also doesn't work financially). This facility will always be a R&D facility with limited staff. Personally, I think he will ultimately sell his patents to someone else and let them finish the development - probably in India and definately not in New Milford. Take Sud Chemie out of the picture and it gets even worse. Here's another secret for you all - Dr. Py is not even there anymore - he is taking a 6 month leave of absence and has hired another person to run the company while he is gone. You have been hoodwinked - big time!

2) For the record - Sud Chemie is not MEDInstills big brother - it is the other way around. They make all of the plactic components utilized in Dr. Py's container designs (which do not work) Because Py's group has not been able to produce a commercially acceptable container for sale (yet or whenever) Sud Chemie has been forced to produce components for other companies for use outside of the food industry so the parts they make are shipped elsewhere in an effort to make a few bucks. I think in 18 months they will all be out of there and you will be stuck with a 5 million sewer bill!

Three Town-Side Unions Agree to Wage Freeze

On December 31, 2008, Mayor Murphy circulated the following Memo to the five "Town-side" Unions:

As the National, State and local economy continues to deteriorate, it is clear our Town government is not exempt from this unpleasant climate. I would like to invite you to meet with Ray Jankowski and me to discuss any cost saving ideas you may have concerning your collective bargaining unit. Please contact Marla Scribner to coordinate a convenient time. I appreciate your input as we move through this difficult time.

Obviously, this was a lawful way of saying, "Hey. Let's get together and try to figure out a way to avoid people losing their jobs."

Apparently, efforts on both sides were successful. Mayor Murphy said that the three biggest Unions, the Teamsters, Police and AFSCME (not the AFSCME library employees who have a separate Unit) "Have been very cooperative in trying to find ways to help the Community while preserving efficiency and the level of services that people expect."

Did they agree to a wage freeze? Yes, they are in the works according to sources from each of the three Unions.

Non-Union employees and elected officials agreed to a wage freeze some time ago.

There was no response from the dispatchers' Union and the Library AFSCME employees rejected the request.

Kudos to the Members of the three Unions, our non-union employees and our elected officials for their sense of responsibility to the taxpayers in these difficult times.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Buildings Department "Very Busy"

Building Official Tom Hackett said this morning that Buildings Department fees are up 18% in the first six months. "A lot of people think that because single family home construction is down we don't have much to do." "That's not the case at all, he said. "Multi-family and commercial activity keeps us very busy. For example, we have big jobs at Canterbury and Wal-Mart."

Tom said that Wal-Mart has filed for a major renovation that includes an expanded pharmacy, bathrooms, HVAC , employee work areas and more. At a likely cost of nearly $1,000,000.00, the work suggests an end to the rumor that the Company wants to relocate out of Town. Then again, it could be making the renovations to suit a new user.

Taxpayers should be pleased.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Coppola Throws His Hat In The Ring

Seeking the Democratic nomination, Bob Coppola said in a telephone interview last night that he will primary, "if necessary." I told Bob that I thought that it was a bit early to start campaigning but he said that his task right now is to "build up support." "Many Democratic Town Committee Members have pledged support," he said, "and I'm looking for more."

"I'm a moderate," Bob said. "People know that I've been a Democrat and a Republican but I'm not philosophically linked to either the Ds or the Rs although I'm leaning toward being a D.

Asked to explain why he's running, Bob said, "I'm 65 years old and am retiring from teaching in June. If I'm ever going to run for Mayor it's got to be now.

"I'm not running against Pat Murphy. I'm running on my ideas. My campaign slogan is, 'A Bridge to the Future' and I plan to be the Mayor of all the people, not just the Democrats and Republicans. My litmus test isn't a person's party affiliation, it's the person's ideas."

Admitting that he has a lot of work to do to get up to speed on the issues, Bob said that Pat Murphy has enough on her hands right now with the Budget and he doesn't want to put her "in a bind right now" and engage in a year-long campaign. "I'll put my specifics on the table in May because the Mayor shouldn't be distracted from her work on the Budget."

Speaking of the Budget, I asked Bob if he agreed with the News-Times Editorial that it may not have been the best time to sign a new teachers' contract. "Teachers have to take a moment and think about what's going on right now," he said. "I don't want to be specific at this time but something has to give. Administrators should consider putting a hold on raises . People are hurting. We have to consider the people who are losing their jobs. I feel for them.

"As far as the Budget is concerned, administratively, we need to work things out with the Board of Ed. It shouldn't be confrontational. Town Hall and the BOE have been at odds for many years."

I asked Bob about combining the Finance Departments and facilities maintenance responsibilities. "I don't support the combining of the Finance Departments. Absolutely not. There'll be conflicts over who will sign a purchase order. But I'd like to look into combining facilities maintenance."

I asked if he had any suggestions for the current Administration. "We should have committees like the TEC7 that we had for Route 7 and expand it to include Route 67. People need a platform and need to be heard." He was referring, of course, to 7TAC, the Route 7 Technical Advisory Committee. "Something has to be done about the flooding that was created by the widening."

He also said that the Mayor "doesn't seem to be eager to work on the homeless issue." "I don't think that we should pretend that they're not there. We need to boost our social services. This is the year to act. I know there'll be places in the Budget to cut but this isn't one of them. This is the time to help people."

Bob said that he has support from many people. "You read in Nanci Hutson's story that Board of Ed Member Dave Lawson is a supporter. So is a gentleman named George Barta who will help make me computer literate.

"I reached out to Jay Umbarger but I'm not pressing him because his Wife is prominent in the Republican Town Committee."

Clearly, Mr. Coppola has a lot of work to do. As time passes, he will be pressed on the issues and asked the tough questions.

"I don't plan to be Mayor for a long time. If I'm not elected, I'll take my Social Security."