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Best wishes to one and all for a happy and healthy 2012. It promises to be an eventful year at the Capitol—here’s a brief summary about some of what’s already underway.
Public Education Takes Center Stage
This month three separate groups are finalizing recommendations to the General Assembly. One will address the state’s achievement gap—the widely disparate education received by students in different parts of our state. Another (for which I am co-chair) has been looking into the state’s Education Cost Sharing grant program (ECS), the state’s ‘primary education equalization aid program’. A third task force is focused on the state’s vocational/technical high school system.
Among other topics to be considered:
I welcome the challenging—and vitally important—work in this policy area and pledge to work toward public education that’s second to none.
Two Storm Panel Issues Report, Makes Recommendations
The vast majority of Connecticut residents will long remember the two major storms of 2011: Irene with all her wind and rain last August and October’s freak snowstorm. In the destructive wake of each, widespread damage caused power disruption that lasted days—even weeks. Residents of Southeastern Connecticut were hit particularly hard by Irene.
The state’s Two Storm Panel, charged by Governor Malloy with analysis of the state’s preparedness and response to these events, recently returned its report and recommendations. They range from upgraded response plans for ‘worst-case’ conditions to increased enforcement capability for utility regulators.
According to the report’s executive summary, “Connecticut’s infrastructure needs to be better hardened to withstand natural disasters, and such work should begin as quickly as possible.” It will be to our advantage to scrutinize the information presented and recommendations made by the Two Storm Panel and act on them conscientiously so future storm-related disruptions are kept to an absolute minimum.
Montville ‘STEAP’ Grant Awarded
The Town of Montville has qualified for a $500,000 STEAP grant, according to an announcement made late last month. This state funding will help Montville underwrite the cost of an important project that might otherwise go unfunded due to the town’s current budget restraints.
This project addresses two critical needs in Montville: first, the public safety needs of all those who use Montville Road alongside Trading Cove Brook, and also the environmental and erosion control needed to contain the brook itself. The timing of this half-million dollar grant couldn’t be better, given recent news about the local power plant closing, the diminished Grand List as a result, and an estimated loss of $1.2 million in annual property taxes.
As Montville officials continue working to fund the town’s infrastructure needs I will continue working with them, Governor Malloy and appropriate state agencies to determine how and to what extent the state can provide assistance.