Governing the Town in 15 Minutes
It was the lull before the storm.
Last night the RTM meet and the meeting was over in fifteen minutes. It’ll make up for the marathon nights to come as the budget progresses.
First, in lieu of the normal political caucuses, three sub-committees met in joint session for a presentation regarding the one and only item on the RTM Agenda. Our waste processing plant, which takes treated sewage and wood chips from the yard waste recycling center and turns it into high grade mulch, is crumbling and needs our approval to spend $1 million to rebuild the structure and upgrade the equipment. We were treated to a 20 minute PowerPoint presentation and afterwards we had a few questions. The sub-committees then trundled off to separate corners; everyone had not only a quorum but a unanimous “aye” vote. Thus, it went on our consent calendar, which meant avoiding hearing committee reports and hastening the meeting.
After a brief caucus, the RTM got started at 8. Julie Chu, goalie for the US Women’s Olympic Hockey team (which took silver in ’02 and bronze in ’06) and Fairfield native, led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. We quickly approved last month’s minutes, took up the matter of the appropriation and called it a night.
Normally, I join my fellow members for a “sociable soda” at the Angus but it was early enough that I went home and spent actual awake time with Deb and Robbie, which was a nice treat.
It certainly won’t be that way when we get to the budget in May. Right now, the hearings from department heads are done. The Board of Selectmen restored some money to the budget and now the Board of Finance will hold executive sessions next week to consider what they want to do with the budget. And finally, in April, our sub-committees will discuss the final shape of the budget before voting on it at a special RTM session the first week of May. Should be interesting although less contentious than last year’s budget session.