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Board rejects DiCara’s petition

WINSTED — A petition started by resident Alan DiCara asking the town to hold a special town meeting to vote on potential infrastructure repairs has been rejected on advice from Town Attorney Kevin Nelligan.The petition, which received 25 signatures, asks the town to hold a town meeting pursuant to state general statutes.In a letter to the town, Nelligan wrote that state statutes, in general, are inapplicable to municipalities that have adopted a charter.“The Home Rule Act … allows municipalities to adopt local rules and procedures to govern their town,” Nelligan wrote. “In matters of local concern, rather than statewide concern, the charter shall prevail over a statute.”This did not sit well with DiCara, who took the Board of Selectmen to task at a meeting on Monday, July 18.“Do you [the selectmen] have any intention at all to allow voters to improve the roads or make any capital improvements, or will you continue to let roads deteriorate?” DiCara said. “It doesn’t take a citizen to have to get 200 to 500 signatures. What it takes is the leadership of the people we elected in this town. “I met a few residents when I was getting signatures that told me that we have much more obligations in this town than just the education budget. When can we expect leadership from the people that we elect? Are we going to go through another winter with the roads the shape that they’re in?”“No, certainly not,” Selectman Karen Beadle told DiCara. “We have put together a capital plan and put some money away in the budget. We’re doing what we can at this point.”In June, Public Works Director James Rotondo proposed a capital plan for repairing several roads and bridges, repairing drainage issues and purchasing construction equipment for the town.DiCara said Rotondo’s plan is not good enough.“If you look at [Rotondo’s] proposal, only 3.75 of miles out of 80 miles of town roads are covered by it,” DiCara said. “At the rate of improvement, it will take 60 years to get to the other roads. We don’t have 60 years! What about the other miles of roads and the people who pay for them?”“We have to weigh the financial impact on the taxpayers,” Selectman Glenn Albanesius said.“You don’t have to weigh anything,” DiCara said. “Just set up a bond and ask people to vote on it! Why don’t you give the voters an opportunity to decide on whether or not they want better roads in town? You don’t have to make the decision, voters can do it for you.”

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