March 2019 Meeting Notes

Welcome.  President Dave Bechtel opened the meeting and asked everyone to introduce themselves.

Announcements and Committee Updates:

  • Officer Elections
    • There will be elections for the offices of President and Treasurer at the May WCA meeting.
    • Term limits require a new President, while position of Treasurer can be filled by the incumbent.  Deb Maldanado is willing to continue in that role.
  • Treasurer’s Report
    • The Gardening Committee account has a balance of $3347.82.
    • The WCA general account has a balance of $1,238.26.
  • Annual Meeting on May 16
    • State Senator Martin Looney and Hamden Economic Development Director Dale Kroop have been invited to speak at the next WCA Meeting.
  • Music Committee:
    • Deirdre Dolan announced the lineups for the 5th Annual Music in the Park series.  Concerts will be held on the 3rd Thursday in June, July, and August in DeNicola Park.
      • June – Jazz
      • July – Sing Along
      • August – Klezmer
  • Merchants Meeting:
    • Liz Hellwig reported on a meeting held with local merchants regarding business concerns in Whitneyville.
      • Parking was the major issue.
      • The intersection of Putnam and Whitney Avenues.
      • Potential for sidewalk sales and other events.

Proposed Tree Planting Program:

Bob Pattison gave an overview of the program:

  • Tree planting usually occurs on Saturdays using the town’s overtime account.
  • Given other issues (including the tornado cleanup), it probably won’t happen this year.
  • Bob proposed that the Town procure the trees and deliver to the civic associations for volunteer planting.  Mayor Leng likes the idea and will consult with the Hamden Tree Commission about implementation.
  • Bob also mentioned that the switch to LED street lighting is ongoing.  He has proposed that the Town purchase and operate the lights instead of paying UI (United Illuminating) to do it.  Mayor Leng likes the idea.  Expect the process to happen in the next three months.

Hamden Tree Commission:

Susan Sternberg gave an overview of the Tree Commission’s work:

  • The Commission aims to get a Town Tree Ordinance passed.  This will enable Hamden to apply for grants.
  • A tree pruning workshop will be held at Bassett Park on Saturday from 9 – 10:30 AM.  The rain date is March 30th.
  • A tree walk will be held at Broken Arrow Farms.

Legislative Council Update:

Justin Farmer, Legislative Council Member representing Whitneyville, spoke on several issues.

  • He noted that the overtime for tree planting comes from the leaf collection budget.
  • A new Town of Hamden website is in development.  The Town is looking for local input before finalizing the design.  It is expected to go live in July.
  • Mayor Leng presented his budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which would total $230 million.
    • $84 million is earmarked for education. 
    • The proposal incorporates a one mil increase in the tax rate.
    • Five new police would be added, of which 3 would be stationed at schools.
    • Pension payments would be at 85% of full funding.
    • The budget also anticipates $2 million in union concessions.
  • Justin’s primary concerns as a councilman:
    • More transportation infrastructure
    • Conversion of street lights to LEDs
    • Broadband internet access for the town
    • Universal pre-K program
    • New firehouse on Putnam Avenue
  • Justin mentioned that he is now on the Children’s Center Board.  They are looking into possible fund raising strategies.
  • Justin urged residents to use the See-Click-Fix website to report local issues to the Town.

New Business:

  • Mike Lockett briefly announced that Mayor Leng is considering creation of a Traffic Advisory Committee.  There was a discussion of the WCA’s participation on this committee.
  • The status of the Waite Street reconstruction project was also discussed.  After the meeting, Town Engineer Mark Austin gave this update:
    • The Town has applied for the acceptance of the project at the CT DOT and are waiting for a response.  It has been there about 4 months now.  The Town is planning on bidding the Engineering Services shortly.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 pm.