Mayor lays out priorities

Ellen Zoppo-Sassu

TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu released her legislative priorities for the City of Bristol, a list of bills in the Connecticut House and Senate that she feels mirror the interests of the city.

Zoppo-Sassu described the five page list as a “mix of short and long term goals,” such as the elimination of the virtual net metering credit cap and the monitoring of the state’s open space grant, both of which she thinks will help Bristol in the long term.

But there are also items of concern such as the issue of regionalism and regionalization.

“I’m always looking for opportunities to work with other communities,” said Zoppo-Sassu. “[But] I don’t want to be forced into regionalism, I want to be able to choose partners wisely, we’ve done that in several cases – with Plainville, and with some of our other internal Board of Education and city issues.”

In her opinion, all of the items on the list are important to Bristol, such as the item that will permit municipalities to review building permit applications for the expansion or development of group homes in certain neighborhoods, which she said was an issue that occurred earlier in the year.

One item on the list, “Sustainable Funding for Regional Fire Schools,” refers to several bills in the House and Senate. According to the legislative priorities, the bills relate to “establishing a sustainable funding stream for Connecticut’s fire schools.” Zoppo-Sassu wrote, “Currently, the city requires all non-certified firefighters to attend the academy, and the hiring process has to coincide the availability of slots.”

But, she said there are also some “boring” items on the list, such as proposals regarding trash and recycling.

“With the implosion of the national market because China has decided to go green, we are now paying to dispose of recyclables as opposed to getting a credit for getting rid of recyclables,” the mayor said, “it’s turning everything upside down in terms of my public works budget.”

The mayor said that she will be utilizing all city department heads that serve in professional associations, by allowing those individuals to monitor proposals that will “make it easier for them to do their jobs.”

Zoppo-Sassu works closely with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), the state’s largest nonpartisan organization of municipal leaders, according to the CCM website (www.ccm-ct.org).

Through CCM, Zoppo-Sassu currently serves on a task force that is drafting language regarding post traumatic stress disorders and their diagnoses for firefighters and police officers. According to the mayor, there currently are not any provisions on this topic. The task force is also looking into a funding mechanism to accompany the provision.

According to the legislative priorities, Zoppo-Sassu has asked CCM “to support a statewide motor vehicle rate,” which would help to stabilize the budgeting process in terms of tax revenue, as well as to eliminate “disparities among neighboring towns.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.