About Town: Objectives

Well, now we know.

We know precisely the objectives of the three members of the Board of Selectmen for the term just begun. They were recorded for posterity, courtesy of Town TV Channel 79, whose video of the board’s lengthy Nov. 18 meeting about objectives can be seen at youtube.com/user/Channel79WestonCT.

The board has prioritized these objectives into three tiers, as suggested by the first selectman. The first tier will comprise objectives deemed to require the most immediate attention by our local government. This is a variation of methods employed by past boards of selectmen as I recall.

Will this ultimately change how Weston plans for funding small capital projects? As I watched this meeting it became clear to me that the board has some promising new ideas. Including ideas for public-private partnerships.

Our town administrator usually knows the answers to related questions, such as how much money Weston has available for various expenses. So, following the work of the Capital Budget Committee when it meets to plan for FY’19 will be informative. There will be one pot of money to divide among many needy projects.

Weston’s political leadership always seems to bring to the table backgrounds and experience in law, business, and volunteer public service. They always seem to approach the challenges we face with a sense of optimism, and the belief that local government can do more for people than it has done.

At the Saturday review of objectives, the only member of the public who was present other than your “About Town” columnist was the chairman of the Board of Finance. He called attention to dire prospects for Weston homeowners if the local property tax deduction is eliminated from federal income tax. This threat is an example of what is called “negative externalities” in economics speak.

On a different note, the meeting reinforced my perception that this board is determined to make a record of all of its public actions. It was suggested that the first selectman, in the name of transparency, address the public every quarter. Dismay was expressed that “misinformation” had roiled the recent campaign.

The Board of Finance has announced its intention to have each of its meetings televised on Channel 79. Might it not be appropriate for a quarterly address by the first selectman to come in the form of a report to that board?

Goals

I’ve always thought that “goals” need to be determined before “objectives” are set. But it’s perhaps a different story when it comes to boards of selectmen, since in addition to the basic goal of providing governmental leadership at the local level, the board’s “general powers, duties, and responsibilities” are spelled out in the Town Charter.

In any event, my goals for Weston are simple. Don’t let development adversely impact the natural water cycle. Confine all high density uses to the area I call “the central part of town.”  And see if we can’t regain a measure of old-time Weston “civility.”

As the saying goes, let’s not fix things that aren’t broken — such as our Town Charter.

NOTE: “About Town” is also a television program. It appears on Fridays and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. on Cablevision Channel 88 (Public Access). Or see it at www.aboutweston.com.

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