Letter: Town Council minority reviews April meeting

To the Editor:

Highlights from the April Trumbull Town Council meeting included a resolution regarding the dispute with the Bridgeport Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) that sought to approve an agreement with the WPCA of Trumbull and the City of Bridgeport WPCA regarding terms of wastewater treatment by the City of Bridgeport (the “Agreement”).

The resolution also included the council to authorize the town attorney to withdraw Trumbull from the pending litigation as a result of entering into the Agreement (Bridgeport will do likewise) and to have the Board of Finance fund payment by Trumbull to the Bridgeport WPCA of money that had been billed but held in escrow pending execution of the Agreement.

Because the Agreement pertains to ongoing litigation, the details cannot yet be shared publicly. The matter was discussed in a joint executive session with the Board of Finance (BOF), which was present for the limited purpose of voting on the funding noted above.

The agreement was shared with members of the Legislation and Administration subcommittee of the Town Council last week in executive session. When the full Council and BoF went into executive session, the Town attorney reviewed the history of Trumbull’s agreements with Bridgeport regarding wastewater treatment and also provided an overview of the terms of the Agreement to the Council. Members of the Trumbull WPCA were in attendance to answer questions as well.

The resolution passed with the majority in favor and three abstentions.

The process by which the Council and the BOF was asked to vote is very disconcerting to this caucus. The Agreement starts a chain of events that will greatly impact the Town, its finances and infrastructure for many years to come. Only the Town Council could approve the Agreement, and it was asked to do so with very limited knowledge, a lack of context, and an insufficient opportunity to review and consider the substance of the Agreement before voting. Especially troubling is the fact that several members of the Council, and none of the members of the BOF had received the document prior to the meeting.

In our opinion, the resolution should have been tabled to give Council time to properly consider the matter.

A second agenda item was the approval a new fee structure for the Trumbull Health Department.

Although we have continuing concerns that the new health department is not yielding the savings that were promised, we voted unanimously for the resolution.

The third item on the council’s agenda was the approval of inlands and wetlands ordinance providing for penalties for non-permitted work. The resolution provides an enforcement mechanism to the Town which had been previously lacking in the Inland Wetland and Watercourses Regulations. We voted unanimously for the resolution.

Fourthly, the council sought an approval for Trumbull Police to apply for State Grant for Distracted Drivers Campaign. In short, please do not talk on your cell phones while driving.

Finally, the approval of process to receive grant money for renovations to the senior center kitchen.

In 2014, then Senator Anthony Musto secured for the Town two grants, totaling $170,000, for long overdue renovations to the kitchen facilities at the current senior center. The Town has not yet requested disbursement of that money from the State. The purpose of the final two resolutions was to update the grant award to reflect a change in the state agency overseeing the grant program.

With respect to the renovations, it was explained that any equipment purchased could be transferred to a new center if one were to be built.

Lisa Valenti and Bill Mecca,

Town Council minority members