Hearing Tuesday on Berlin ordinance creating golf course panel

Published on Sunday, 17 September 2017 22:25
Written by Charles Paullin

Staff Writer

BERLIN - A public hearing will be held this Tuesday on ordinances creating a Public Golf Course Commission and a revocation and appeal process for peddler and solicitor licenses.

The hearing is set for 7 p.m. at the meeting of the Town Council. The council is expected to vote on the ordinance changes after the hearings.

The Ordinance Committee, consisting of Mayor Mark Kaczynski and councilors Peter Rosso, Brenden Luddy, Charles Paonessa and Kristin Campanelli, unanimously approved the ordinance changes, sending them to the full council.

The language in the draft of the ordinance creating the commission is based on that in a Meriden ordinance, said Town Attorney Jennifer N. Coppola.

“What I did was I went through was kind of cleaned up a bit,” said Coppola as she presented the draft.

The new panel would consist of seven resident electors, who will be appointed by the Town Council to three-year terms. No more than four members can be from the same political party, per state statutes, said Town Clerk Kate Wall.

According to Councilor Rachel Rochette, former Town Manager Denise McNair suggested including advisory members from other organizations, such as the Conservation Commission.

A chairman, vice chairman and secretary would be elected at the first meeting and any vacancy would be filled by the Town Council. There is no provision on removal of members if meetings are missed.

“In terms of the duties, I did not mess around with that too much,” said Coppola.

The commission will make and enforce rules for the golf course, provide input and recommendations for contract negotiation, and work with the director of golf to develop and establish any alteration and capital improvement plans.

The commission also will provide approval on a budget for the course, prepared by the golf director.

It will not be responsible for creating the budget. The budgetary process will be similar to that of the department, so budget submission will be made to the town manager, with the town manager submitting it to the council for final approval.

The golf director will adopt a schedule of fees, rates, rentals and charges for the golf course, in cooperation with the commission, after approval by the Town Council at its first meeting in January.

“There’s real oversight by the council, because I know that was desired,” said Coppola, adding that she tried to make it as clear as possible that the commission would be reporting to the council.

The council will have the right to make changes after the ordinance is passed, Coppola added.

Len Zielinski, chairman of the Parks & Recreation Commission, which now oversees the Timberlin Golf Course, has said he is unsure why the council wants to establish a separate panel for the golf course as his commission has spent a lot of time trying to improve the course.

Residents, mostly from the golfing community, at a previous ordinance committee meeting said the Parks & Rec Commission has too much on its plate to give the course the attention it deserves.

In all but one year since 2000, according to the town’s Finance Department, the golf course has not turned a profit.

According to Town Clerk Kate Wall, 11 people have applied to be on the new commission as of Thursday afternoon.

As for the peddler and solicitor revocation/appeals process, the revocation would consist of a process in which a notice is given, the license holder would have 15 days to request an appeal, and a hearing, with an appeals officer who would be designated by the town manager, would be set within 30 days.

The appeals officer must not be a member or employee of the police department.

The council meets in Town Council Chambers of Town Hall at 240 Kensington Road.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or cpaullin@cnetralctcommunications.com.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, General News on Sunday, 17 September 2017 22:25. Updated: Sunday, 17 September 2017 22:27.