SOUTHINGTON - Now that Democrats have taken a 5-4 majority on the Town Council, it is likely that Chris Palmieri will be the new chairman.
Councilor Dawn Miceli explained that the candidate who receives the most votes is usually appointed chairman.
Palmieri, with 14 years on the council, is second in seniority among the Democrats, who has served for 16 years.
“I will be supporting Chris as the new chair,” said Barry on Wednesday.
Councilor-elect Chris Poulos said he would be “very open” to Palmieri serving as chairman.
“All of us have the highest levels of integrity and I think Chris would make an extraordinary chair,” he said.
Palmieri declined to sau whether he would accept the position, but said council leadership would likely be appointed at next week’s meeting.
Barry said that he believes that the newly Democratic-controlled council will prioritize accountability and transparency.
“Both of these are certainly essential,” said Barry. “I want to work collaboratively with all members of the council and work hard for the people of Southington.”
Miceli spent Wednesday morning writing a list of objectives for the council. She shared four of them:
“I want to see a zero percent mill rate increase for 2018 to 2019,” said Miceli. “This will be challenging, given what is going on in the state, but I don’t think we should increase it. I would like to see the council working more with the Board of Education. I feel sometimes like the Board of Education is working in a vacuum. We need better communication with them. We also need to work with them to look at certain administrative perks such as car allowances and other extras.”
Miceli suggested that the council create an online forum for people who are unable to attend council meetings.
“I would also like to see us renew and re-energize our commitment to open space,” said Miceli. “We heard over and over again during the campaign that the town is overdeveloped and that people want to see that staved off. In order to do that, the council needs to go to a referendum to put money aside in our open space coffers so that we have it available when a parcel becomes available.
“We also need to cultivate relationships with people that own these properties and educate them about the value of open space. Then, hopefully, we can come up with a price tag that is satisfactory to them.”’
“I knocked on about 1,400 doors and talked to a great cross section of people in town,” Poulos said. “People want services, they want a quality public education and our seniors want to have a good quality of life. People also want to see us balance economic growth and commercial development.”
“First and foremost, we need to take to heart the input we received from the public throughout the campaign,” said Palmieri.