Koehn objects – says council should not ‘pre-empt’ town’s new strategic plan.
A new advisory committee is expected to help the town make progress with plans that could boost development at the Four Corners section of town.
The Town Council at its Oct. 14 meeting passed a resolution that creates a 9-member Four Corners Sewer Study Advisory Committee.
The vote passed, with council members Helen Koehn opposed and Bruce Clouette abstaining. Councilman Carl Schaefer was absent.
Voting in favor: Mayor Betsy Paterson, Deputy Major Gregory Haddad, and council members Alison Whitham Blair, Leigh Duffy, Gene Nesbitt and Christopher Paulhus.
Koehn said today [Oct. 16] that she voted against the resolution because, “I think that the Town Council needs to think strategically.”
“Mansfield has 23 committees with 200 citizens using their limited and valuable time to volunteer on behalf of the town,” she said. “The Council needs to organize committees in a way that coordinates efforts within the goals of the Mansfield Unified Vision: 2020 [strategic plan]. The town paid a lot of money and citizens put in a lot of time to develop the strategic plan. Council needs use it; not preempt the plan.
“Councilman Nesbitt did not convince me that waiting a few weeks would cause delay to the Four Corners Sewer project,” Koehn said, referring to the Town Council’s review of the strategic plan and what committees might be needed to carry out objectives.
“I thought the charge was too broad and overlapped with other existing and recently established committees,” Koehn said.
Clouette said he abstained because of a potential conflict of interest; he serves on the board of directors of the Public Archaeology Survey Team, Inc., which occupies a building in the Four Corners area.
In addition to members of the town’s governing bodies, this new ad hoc committee will need three citizens (including one from the town’s business community), as well as a representative from the University of Connecticut, and a representative from the Mansfield Downtown Partnership.
Committee vacancies are listed on the town’s Web site, along with an application form. Town Clerk Mary Stanton said the Four Corners Sewer Study Advisory Council should be posted soon. Recommendations by the Committee on Committees will then be put before the Town Council.
The advisory committee will be charged with a number of tasks connected with extending UConn’s water/sewer system to the commercial areas located at the intersection of Routes 195 and 44, otherwise known as the village of Four Corners.
The committee will be responsible for discussing water supply issues with UConn, gathering information about the potential costs of extending the water/sewer system, and otherwise preparing information that would be brought to the public for a referendum on funding the design and construction of the project.
The committee also will work with town agencies and elected officials when it comes time to adopt a special design district for Four Corners.
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