Stand up For Transparency in Municipal Permitting and Tax Abatements and Accountability at our Water Utilities- Citizens have Right to Know What's Happening in Their Communities!
It's an all too painful recent memory: Bloomfield residents stunned to learn that wetlands and zoning permit applications submitted under the name of a local engineer were in reality designed for Niagara Bottling's multi-million dollar factory. With no legal requirement for the end-developer to reveal its name or intentions, "competitive business advantage" trumped the right of the ordinary citizen to know what was to be built in their neighborhood. Then came the further revelation that unprecedented volume rate discounts on water and clean water project charges--designed specifically to attract Niagara--had been quietly passed in the board rooms of the Metropolitan District Commission. And with it, an $8M rate-payer financed bond to extend a water main to the Niagara's area. Let's not let decisions like these-devoid of real public input-happen again!
Testimony on three bills of interest to SAVE activists will be heard this Friday, March 3rd beginning at 11 AM in Room 2D of the Legislative Office Building 300 Capitol Ave. in Hartford. Come and testify, submit written testimony, or sit at the hearing wearing your blue SAVE button.
1.HB 6004 AN ACT CONCERNING LAND USE, ZONING, WETLANDS AND TAX ABATEMENT APPLICATION TRANSPARENCY: Submitted by Rep. Baram, Rep. Slap, and Sen. Bye. (www.cga.ct.gov/2017/TOB/h/2017HB-06004-R00-HB.htm) An updated variation of Rep. David Baram’s “Transparency” bill that failed to pass last year. It would require mandatory disclosures of the developer as to the true use of a property on municipal applications for land use, zoning, wetlands approval, and tax abatements. SAVE strongly supports this bill:
Additionally there are two "concept" bills concerning the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) and public water projects, whose ideas SAVE generally supports:
2. HB 6008 AN ACT AMENDING THE CHARTER OF THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICT COMMISSION TO ADD A CONSUMER ADVOCATE BOARD MEMBER: Submitted by Rep. Slap, Rep. Baram, and Sen. Bye. (www.cga.ct.gov/2017/TOB/h/2017HB-06008-R00-HB.htm) The advocate, appointed by the Office of Consumer Counsel, would function as a non-voting board member to keep MDC member-town officials and residents well informed about MDC matters impacting their towns.
3. SB 241 AN ACT CONCERNING PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS: Submitted by Sen. Bye and rep. Slap. (www.cga.ct.gov/2017/TOB/s/2017SB-00241-R00-SB.htm) This bill would require all public water projects transporting above a designated threshold of water (gallons/day) to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the member-towns’ legislative bodies. The objective is to increase public oversight of public water systems by elected officials.
Details on attending the hearing or submitting testimony follow below.
Save Our Water CT is continuing to work through the legislative process on bills concerning drought protection, permitting of large water bottlers, and unfair large volume discounts on water rates. Thanks to YOUR activism, legislators are taking interest and momentum is building to address the protection of our most valuable public trust resource- water. We couldn't do it without you!
Here are some general tips for submitting testimony to the Planning and Development Committee on Friday:
Save Our Water CT
Citizen advocates acting to protect and conserve Connecticut's public trust waters.