About-Town-Margaret-WirtenbergWhat’s next for Weston?

I think that this year’s Speak Up was particularly good. And the day before, the League of Women Voters had provided Westonites with an opportunity to question our congressman on the “Hard Choices Ahead” for our nation and Connecticut.

Did you miss one or both of these events? To catch up, Speak Up should be on Town TV now. Check the bulletin board on Channel 79 for run times. Videos of both events appear on the LWV of Weston website, lwvweston.org. And DVDs of Speak Up are available at the library.

My problem is that I wanted to ask more questions than time permitted! I really wanted to ask the Westport-Weston Health District representative about how the flu season has gone in this area, so far. And I also wanted to congratulate Parks and Recreation for finally fixing Revson Field!

A shout out to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which is a group that operates in the delicate realm of people’s private business. I would have asked ZBA whether we’re seeing many “knockdowns” of houses on non-conforming lots, with applications to build new houses that are multiple times as large, in their place.

The Board of Ethics also “got a pass” at Speak Up this year. I am pleased that the new Town Charter makes reference to a Board of Ethics. I assume their established presence will improve the comity of political discussions during the coming local election season.

The fact that the baker’s dozen questions asked by the public at Speak Up did not include one for the Board of Finance leads me to suspect that we are in for a calm budget season.

I am watching closely as the budget process, which culminates in a now mandatory referendum in early May, unfolds. It is all about the numbers, and if you don’t follow closely you can get lost on the way to Annual Town Budget Meeting and then referendum. At referendum you will get to vote Yes or No on the bottom line for town, school, and capital budgets, with the numbers you vote on having been chosen at ATBM.

In the meantime, one thing we will have to follow is what the legislature does about the “car tax” revenue source. As Sen. Boucher pointed out at Speak Up, the governor can only suggest a state budget, while the legislature must pass the relevant legislation.

Sandy Hook

As might be expected, Speak Up illustrated that none of us, at least none of those who were either on stage or in the audience, has forgotten the tragedy in Newtown.

Most of the first hour of the program was devoted to school safety. And thankfully our legislators who were present are heavily involved at the state level in bipartisan efforts to assure that we never again have a public school attack, either from without or within.

And from a local standpoint, the responses at Speak Up made it clear the Police Commission, the Board of Education, and even the Building Committee will not rest without assuring that our schools are safe places in which to learn.

Listening to the responses on this issue by our superintendent of schools, Dr. Palmer, convinced me we’re doing the very best we can. And hearing from Chief Troxell was refreshing, informative and comforting.

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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