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'Public Participation is Crucial' as Town Implements Capital Plan

Southington Town Council Chairman John Dobbins and Town Manager Garry Brumback said roads are just the start of long-range needs that the town must address.

A new five-year capital improvement plan will aim to address the town’s infrastructure need and position the town for the future, but Southington Town Council Chairman John Dobbins and Garry Brumback said public input and participation will be crucial in the plan’s success.

The plan, which includes , over $1 million in parks repairs and the recent addition of bonding for the installation of synthetic turf at l, was released last week and the council will ask the public to provide a critique during the next council meeting on July 9.

Editors Note: A public hearing will be held on the bond ordinance on June 25.

“This is a large undertaking and it will be important over the next five years to really get a plan in place that we can implement in order to maintain and improve deteriorating parts of the infrastructure,” Dobbins said. “This is just a start though. We need the public’s support to accomplish these goals long-term and to do that, we first need their input.”

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The plan hinges on long-term infrastructure upgrades, including the spending of $11 million on roads over the next five years. This represents an increase of nearly five times what the town has spent in in the past for such repairs, but Brumback said these costs are necessary to get the town moving in the right direction.

A study completed earlier this year concluded that roads had been neglected to a point that it would cost $50 million to bring back the entire road system to current standards and $45 million over the next decade to maintain costs where they are now.

“Roads are our highest priority because in the long-term, this is the type of investment in the town that we can’t afford not to maintain,” Brumback said. “We have a wonderful infrastructure in place and the town needs to focus on maintaining it.”

The latest document also contains a long-range plan that puts priority and proposed spending on everything that the town would like to see done. Brumback and Dobbins both warned that it is “a fluid document,” however, and could change.

Brumback said the town would also continue to adjust and add to the document each year and said it will be impossible to tackle everything, so priority ratings will remain important in the process.

“There just will never be enough money to get it all done, so what we need is a collaboration with professional staff and elected officials,” he said. “This is a living document and not something etched in concrete. It’s designed so that as needs change and priorities shift, we can adapt.”

See the complete plan in the PDF above.

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Marv D June 19, 2012 at 10:18 AM
“This is just a start though. We need the public’s support to accomplish these goals long-term and to do that, we first need their input.” I hardly think that a stacked meeting of sports, particularly football, enthusiasts constitutes an interest in getting "public" input and support, Mr. Dobbins. If you truly wanted to elicit that, the full cost of the turf project would have been disclosed unbiased and thereby put to the "public" for referendum! Spare the public your sanctimonious lipservice, sir, please. [I'm wondering if the North Center School project is part of this infrastructure plan or is that -- and its timely completion, Mr. Brumback -- not no the list?]
Arthur Cyr June 19, 2012 at 12:36 PM
If anybody thought that the they did not get the FULL TRUE COST of a turf field over the past six months, they should have gotten off their butts and attended one of the several Town meetings. Second, you can NOT change the rules after the fact. The price of a turf field came in at $880.000 plus a contingency amount that brought it to $960,000. That is NOT over a million and thus no referendum. Don't like that "Mr. D."?? Show up at the June 25th meeting and state your name & address and say so. Lastly, this CIP is not just about sports or schools, it is about the town's infrastructure that most politicians have ignored for the past 10-12 years. John Weichel didn't spend the time to even do a report and Tony Tranquillo used wild estimates to avoid generating any approvals. How many more years do you want to wait before we start repairing and renovating our Town buildings and roads? Or do only do what you want done?
Lester P June 19, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Ah, so you're saying if the cost comes in at $960,000.01, we don't pay a cent beyond the $960k. Wow, that's pretty good business. Or do we drop the project or run around pulling our hair out saying, "Please, taxpayers, give us more money to finish. Pul-LEASE!" Get real, Cyr, this is just a set up for the inevitable -- a million dollar project. And don't blame the lousy road on John (who incidently, doing such a lousy job as you say, was one of the longest running Town Managers in Connecticut) and Tony. This town has other organization and a Town Council that could have pushed for road repair long --- long --- ago.
Arthur Cyr June 20, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Lester, Bids will be opened at the end of this month and if it is NOT over $1 million, the project goes forward. Sorry, I must have missed your public comments about a Turf field at any of the three or more Town meetings. The rest of your comments on turf don't deserve a reply. Regarding roads and road repair? I was here but not involved back in 1990 when OUR elected Town Council & Board of Finance and John Weichel decided to keep taxes low by reducing road repair and replacement from about $3 million to under $1 million per year. So here we are now, tens of millions of dollars behind. And Weichel was here 5-10 years too long because nobody had the GUTS to tell him to get out, not because he was great the last 5 years. And please go talk to the Stonegate people about the sump pumps Tranquillo claimed flooded them. Or talk to the people on West Street about Sewer Assessment #33 that doubled their assessments. Or the last FOUR road projects he screwed up. How about the Library parking lot?
Joe Smith June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM
I get the feeling we'll be doing the same laments about Gary Brumback one day and probably not after forty years, with Artie probably leading the pack of comlainants: What about the North Center School fiasco and how the Town lost the building to VIP II, what about the turfing project that cost a million and a half, what about the Gura Building causing us to lose all our artistic folks to asbestosis even after they were pulled from the wreckage it after it collapsed, what about the Calendar House and Director Brumback's plan to add mud wrestling to the senior activity list, what about that huge Tranquillo out-of-court settlement after it turned into a class-action suit with all the "retired" Town workers, and what about all those repavings that only covered streets owned by Republicans, their family and their friends? Yep, Artie, there will be blood. But, you know (and I don't know where the fear to stand against him came from) he could have been gotten rid of anywhere along the way; fact is, he held the job, with distinction beyond our little burgh, for a longer time than you'll ever hold a job!
Arthur Cyr June 20, 2012 at 12:44 PM
"Mystery Joe Smith" (we all know you like to call names while hiding behind fake names) writes fiction in paragraph two above just like his name. There is no "distinction" in staying long after you're capable of properly serving the people. And asleep at the wheel (or desk) was not distinction. Not for John, not for Tony.

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