PLAINVILLE - State Rep. William Petit Jr., R-Plainville, on Monday gave the Town Council a preview of what to expect in the legislative session that starts today.
State Sen. Henri Martin, R-Bristol, had planned to come to the meeting but was “feeling under the weather” Petit said. Petit said Martin hopes for a bipartisan effort on the budget.
“Senator Martin hopes we make a concerted effort to achieve fiscal stability and economic growth,” said Petit. “He is also concerned about structural changes like removal of the caps we put on spending and volatility during the last budget. He also has concerns about educational cost sharing being cut.”
Petit said Gov. Ned Lamont’s agenda includes “pushing for tolls,” specifically targeting trucks. He said Rhode Island was sued by trucking companies over similar legislation.
Petit said Lamont also wants a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour and paid family medical leave, which, he said, could cost $20 million to $30 million in upfront costs.
“There are concerns that this will affect small businesses that already have to contend with a lot of taxes and regulations,” said Petit.
Petit said the Republican caucus wants to reduce the subsidy for CTfastrak and possibly reduce service at non-peak times.
“There is a need for public transportation, but many would like to see it cost less and be more cost efficient,” said Petit.
Petit is also supporting a bill that would require the state to adopt a municipal budget by April 1, so municipalities know what state aid they will be receiving and can plan their budgets.
“I have spoken with (Town Manager) Robert Lee and (Town Council Chairwoman) Kathy Pugliese and we came to the conclusion that we support keeping education cost sharing funding stable,” said Petit. “We won’t push for an increase, but we want to keep the current levels in place.”
Pugliese said that she was also concerned about a cut in reimbursement for excess special education costs from the state. The state used to reimburse 90 percent, but now it is closer to 65 percent.
Also Monday, Fire Chief Kevin Toner, Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Moschini and First Assistant Fire Chief Adrian Paradis were reappointed unanimously. Kurt Plourde was promoted to second assistant fire chief from captain.
Lee then gave an update on the results of a hard water study and customer survey conducted by the Valley Water Co., which supplies the town’s water.
“Eighteen percent of customers responded to the survey and two-thirds of them said their water was either moderately hard or not a problem at all,” Lee said. “Half of those surveyed said they were unwilling to pay a higher cost to make the water less hard.”
Lee said Valley Water doesn’t want to build a new plant. It instead plans to blend local water with water from other sources. Lee said he and town staff will be meeting with Valley, the Public Utilities Regulatory Agency and other state officials to discuss this plan further.