September 16 - 23, 1998

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CREN's Council Review - September 14th Meeting


Council Approves Parking Authority
There were 67 items on the regular agenda. Twelve items were added on the supplemental agenda and one was walked in at the Council Meeting. Council member Park was absent. There will be a Public Hearing September 21; the next Council meeting will be September 28.

Billboard Moratorium - The meeting was preceded by a public hearing on an ordinance which will prohibit zoning permits for any new billboards for six months. During the moratorium the city would develop a comprehensive billboard policy. Four community members spoke in favor of the ordinance; five spoke in favor of a self-imposed moratorium. Those in favor of the ordinance argued that billboard companies target low-income neighborhoods with tobacco and alcohol adds. Those in favor of a self-imposed moratorium argued that the industry produced economic benefits and could work with the city to improve sign placement. The Commission on the City Plan recommended rejection of the ordinance in favor of a voluntary moratorium.

Housing Fund - On the recommendation of Council member Watkins, the Council voted to send to Public Hearing September 21 an ordinance which will change the city's housing fund. Presently the housing fund can be used for preservation or production of housing for low/moderate income persons. If the ordinance is passed, the limitation to use the fund for low/moderate income persons would be dropped.

Building Fee Waiver Program - The Council voted to send to Public Hearing September 21 an ordinance which will reduce the requirements for having building fees waived. Under the present guidelines building fees can be waived if at least 50% of the workforce and at least 25% of the supplies for any project come from Hartford.
The proposed ordinance will:
1) lower the workforce requirement to 25%;
2) change the qualification for participation to either 25% Hartford residents in the workforce or 25% of the supplies coming from Hartford businesses and ;
3) change the formula for reimbursement so that the reimbursement is the sum of the percentage of the labor pool which is Hartford based and the supplies which are purchased in Hartford.

Empowerment Zone Application - The Council voted to authorize City Manager Kee Borges to engage Mt. Auburn Associates and the Connecticut Institute of Municipal Studies as consultants for the Empowerment Zone application.

Urban Act Funds - The Council voted to authorize the City Manager to submit an application to the state for $12.5 million in Urban Act Funds. The City Manager's office is working with Neighborhood Revitalization Zone planning committees to develop the proposal.

Bond Ordinance Reconsidered - On the recommendation of Deputy Mayor Sanchez, the Council voted to reconsider and then withdraw a bond ordinance for $16 million for recreation facilities projects. The ordinance was passed at the Council's August 10 meeting.

Hartford Parks Trust Fund - On the recommendation of Council member Marotta, the Council voted to send to Public Hearing September 21 an ordinance which will appropriate $80,000 from the Hartford Parks Trust Fund to purchase iron fencing and plants for Columbus Park and the new Floridia, Italy Sister City Park.

Hartford Parking Authority - The Council voted to send to Public Hearing September 21 an ordinance which will create the Hartford Parking Authority. If enacted, this ordinance will replace the section of the Municipal Code which was dedicated to the Hartford Civic Center and Coliseum Authority. The present ordinance is patterned after the portion of the Code which created the Civic Center and Coliseum Authority.

Bushnell Park Renovations - On recommendation of City Manager Kee Borges, the Council voted to contract with Raphael Architects for architectural services for renovations to Bushnell Park performance area.

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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