October 28 - November 4, 1998

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CREN's Council Review - October 26


Council Approves Parking Authority
There were 21 items on the regular agenda. Fifteen were added on the supplemental agenda and two were walked in during the meeting. The next Council Meeting will be November 9.

Hartford Parking Authority - The Council voted to create a municipal parking authority. This ordinance will now replace the section of the Municipal Code which was dedicated to the Hartford Civic Center and Coliseum Authority. The Council also passed a resolution directing Corporation Counsel to prepare amendments to the ordinance to address issues around revenues and cash flows.

Billboard Task Force - On the recommendation of Council members Sanchez, Park, and Marotta, the Council passed a resolution creating a task force to reassess Hartford's billboards policy. The task force will be composed of representatives from the billboard industry, the City Council, city staff, and the community. The task force will meet until March 31, 1999. Some representatives of the billboard industry have agreed to voluntarily refrain from building new billboards during the six month period while the task force is deliberating.

Restriction of Outpatient Services - The Council was preceded by a Public Hearing on an ordinance which will restrict the placement of medical clinics. If enacted, medical clinic outpatient services could not be provided in a building within 750 feet of any building which serves as a residence. The Commission on the City Plan recommended rejection of the ordinance because it would restrict outpatient services to areas where public transportation is limited. At least forty residents stood to show support for the ordinance during the Public Hearing. Representatives of those in favor of the ordinance expressed concern that a methadone clinic which is trying to relocate to a site on North Main Street, would discourage business and increase crime in the area. No one spoke against the ordinance.

Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority Funds - The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) has given Hartford $717,438 from surplus funds related to its Mid-Connecticut Project. The Council voted to accept the funds and disperse them to Hartford projects that had not received CDBG funds or funds from the annual budget. Some of the projects receiving funds include: the Farmington Avenue Corridor Study ($50,000), Riverfront Recapture Development ($60,000), Mi Casa Project for Youth ($109,000), and sidewalks on the North side of Airport Road ($200,000).

Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority Study - The Council also voted to formally request that the CRRA join with the Hartford Health Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the University of Connecticut in studying health concerns of city residents. Residents have complained of possible contamination of air and water around the landfill and trash-to-energy plant: both are CRRA facilities. The resolution calls on the CRRA to fund the investigation.

Block Watch Organizers - On the recommendation of the Quality of Life, Housing and Public Safety Committee, the Council passed a resolution authorizing acceptance of the Department of Justice's 1998 Local Law Enforcement Block Grant funds of $693,166. The funds will be used to hire block watch organizers to "increase community participation in neighborhood problem solving" and to support neighborhood problem solving committees and several youth employment programs.

Hartford Parks Trust Fund - The Council postponed voting on two Hartford Parks Trust Fund ordinances. The first will appropriate $300,000 for improvements to Batterson Park. The money will be used to construct a new ticket booth, renovate the bath houses, install a new play apparatus and grills, and purchase new sand for the beach. The second will appropriate $825,000 for the restoration of park ponds at Keney Park, Pope Park, Goodwin Park, and Elizabeth Park. The funds will be used for planning and to install filtering devices to improve water quality. The Operations, Management, Budget, Education and Labor Committee has recommended passage of the second ordinance. Both ordinances have been to Public Hearing.

Safe neighborhoods Program - The Council referred to the Quality of Life, Housing and Public Safety Committee a resolution which will authorize the City Manager to accept $443,000 from the state Safe Neighborhoods Program. Part of the money will go to pay salaries of Hartford police officers ($400,000); the remainder will fund crime prevention activities carried out by Hartford Areas Rally Together. This is the sixth and final year of the program.

If you have any questions about the agenda, call the Council at 522-4888 or CREN at 249-1416. The Citizens' Research Education Network is a non-profit information center for Hartford community-based organizations.

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