Saving the Rocky Hill Ferry
The state’s budget is tight this year, and all Connecticut residents have been asked to share in the sacrifice necessary to balance the public books.
In our part of the state, the historic Rocky Hill—Glastonbury River Ferry might be forced to close, as soon as August 25th. I attended a public hearing recently on this subject, along with Rep. Tony Guerrera, Rocky Hill’s Mayor LaRosa and other town officials.
What I heard was a desire to keep the ferry in operation, if we can find a sustainable way to do so. I hope that state funding for the ferry can be preserved, at least in part, over the short run. That will give us time to look for additional funding sources. The ferry will have to consider taking donations or raising its rates in order to become more self-sustaining.
The Rocky Hill-Glastonbury
Ferry is the oldest continuously operating river ferry of its kind in all of the United States. It would be a shame to see it closed forever.
Successful Consolidation of
Government, Saving Money
An economic crisis provides a good opportunity to make government more efficient. At the beginning of the recession, I led passage of legislation to consolidate 117 existing probate court districts into less than half that number of regional courts.
Connecticut’s probate courts handle matters including estate settlement, child custody and guardianship concerns, and adjudication of matters surrounding mental health issues.
I am pleased to say this consolidation has paid off handsomely. The Probate Court Administrator issued a report recently that announced $1.6 million in savings for the probate court system last year due to the restructuring. The probate court system ran a total surplus of $4.7 million, transferring $5.4 million back into the state’s General Fund at the end of the fiscal year.
A further savings of $3.5 million is expected for next year.
While consolidating the number of probate courts, we also expanded the number of hours they are open. As a result, customer service has actually improved, even with all of the budgetary savings. I would call that a great value for all taxpayers.
Cracking Down on Phony Therapists
It’s critical that children on the autism spectrum get proper therapy. A delay in treatment can mean years of setbacks in their development, a fact that makes the actions of individuals who misrepresent their credentials as behavioral analysts even more disturbing.
Last year, the General Assembly took aim at those who misrepresent themselves and passed a law requiring greater scrutiny of those who may provide behavioral analysis services in our public schools. This year, we cracked down even further with legislation that makes it a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison or up to a $500 fine per each offense for those who fraudulently describe themselves as board-certified behavioral analysts.
The potential for serious setbacks in the development of these children because of an individual falsifying their credentials is very real and very disturbing. I believe this year’s action will go that extra step toward ensuring that this situation doesn’t affect additional families in the state of Connecticut.