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First Selectman’s Column 1/16/15

Happy New Year! I am writing this on January 7th, opening day for the Connecticut General Assembly 2015 session. I invited our State delegation to the January 14th Board of Selectmen meeting to give us an update on what they see as major issues ahead. The overriding issue will be the biennial budget that will be hammered out this year. We are fortunate to have the outstanding representation that we do in Hartford and the strong working relationship we enjoy with our delegation.

The senior member of our State delegation is Senator Joe Crisco, who is co- chair of the Insurance Committee. Our newer State Senator is Gayle Slossberg (a portion of Woodbridge was added to Senator Slossberg’s district in 2010), who is co-chair of the Education Committee. Our State Representative, Themis Klarides, assumed an influential new role this year, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. Representative Klarides and Senators Crisco and Slossberg work together as a bi-partisan team to benefit our Town.

State programs and agencies are important for us in myriad ways. Each year we benefit from and count on the state’s support for our education and road maintenance. Other support varies from year to year. In the last year, for example, we have worked with the Department of Transportation concerning the timely reworking of the area around Exit 59 of Route 15 to improve safety and traffic flow.

Woodbridge routinely applies for Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grants. Our most recent successful STEAP grant award will help us re-pave sidewalks and the parking area at Beecher Road School. A STEAP grant also paid for new sidewalks along Lucy Street, which connect to sidewalks on Amity Road and Litchfield Turnpike. The Town recently submitted a STEAP grant application to help fund the renovations of the old firehouse.

Woodbridge also participates in the Livable Cities Program. Recently, the Town submitted an application requesting use of Program funds to install a new bathroom in the Senior Center. If approved, this will be a huge help to our seniors, who have to go up a set of stairs to access the restroom.

We at Town Hall are always planning for the future. In addition to working with our State colleagues, we also work closely with Town volunteers. A major project that is under way in Woodbridge, as required by Connecticut law, is the update of our Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD). The POCD serves as a planning and development guide for the Town. I hope you have been following the progress of the plan, and have made your voice heard on issues that are of importance to you. A draft of the POCD is available for viewing on the Town’s website and a physical copy is at the Library.

The Town Plan and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on January 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Center Gym to hear public comment on the draft plan. The draft plan was written after considering residents’ thoughts and ideas provided at many public meetings and through an online survey. If you can’t make the public hearing, you can also submit comments to pocdcomments@woodbridgect.org.

As always, I urge you to stay in touch about your ideas, suggestions and concerns. You can also keep up to date with Town news and events through our Facebook page (facebook.com/WoodbridgeCT), our email newsletter (tinyurl.com/WoodbridgeEnews) and Town website, woodbridgect.org.

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