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ABOUT TOWN: Speak Up!

Saturday morning, you have to go to the League of Women Voters of Weston’s Speak Up at Weston Public Library from 10:30 to noon. It should be fascinating to hear what issues are foremost on the minds of Westonites.

I can recall the first Speak Up, in 1992. No one knew what kind of turnout there would be. A semicircle of officials waited nervously. The approximately 100 residents of all ages who came to the venue, Hurlbutt’s East House cafeteria, exceeded all expectations.

The best question that day, in my opinion, came from a Hurlbutt student: “What does the first selectman do?” Simple, but effective!

This is the 22nd such annual event. Nowhere else that I know of do the people truly have the upper hand. They control the agenda, through a league moderator. The event is all about what you want to know. Not about what government wants you to ask.

The League of Women Voters is proud to offer people of all ages in Weston the right to ask whatever questions are on their minds, of any and all of the public officials who are on stage. No question is too small to bring up. Or too large.

This year, Speak Up comes before the annual budget process reaches any of its formal decision points.

The table has been set, to use a phrase.

Questions and answers

How will you know what went on, if you are not able to attend?

There will be coverage by The Forum, of course.

There will also be microphones and proper recording of sound and video. Broadcasts of the video will occur on Town TV Channel 79, beginning a few days after the event. DVD copies will be made available at Weston Public Library, a few days after the event, for those who don’t have Cablevision.

In addition, the LWV of Weston website will stream it at lwvweston.org.

My questions begin with a seemingly simple one: What’s up with Lachat? Is there a plan being developed, and when will the public get a chance to chime in?

And how about implementation of the town plan? What can we look for this year? The Planning and Zoning Commission provides fantastic information on the town website, supporting, among many other important goals, the protection of our environment. How can their work be most effectively applied?

How is “reval” going? It is a technical re-evaluation of property that is being done this year. What are the differences between a “full” and a “technical” revaluation? What makes the biggest difference to an assessment, sales prices in the neighborhood or something else? What if the grand list goes down because of lowered assessments?

And how would Weston be affected if the overall value of land and buildings has remained the same, or has gone down, or has risen? Do we need to have as large a general fund surplus? If so, how would our municipal leaders spend it? On needed maintenance, or to lower taxes?

And, last but not least, do the members of the Board of Selectmen have any thoughts at this time about the ongoing petition drive concerning a possible yes-no vote on the banning of plastic shopping bags?

 

NOTE: “About Town” is also a television program. It appears on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 6 p.m. on Cablevision Channel 88 (Public Access). Or see it at aboutweston.com. This week’s guest is Amy Kalafa, award-winning documentary filmmaker, author, and member of Weston’s Lachat Oversight Committee.

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Check out Margaret Wirtenberg's website: http://www.aboutweston.com/

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