As we are now in the mix of the Holiday season I have come to realize that my family and I have enjoyed the Town of East Hampton for 6 months. A lot has happened for us and a lot has been accomplished at the Town. Before we look forward to the New Year it may be good to review a few of our larger accomplishments over the past six months.
- Blight ordinance - Together with the Town Council we drafted and passed an ordinance that will protect both our commercial and residential property values while striving toward a beautiful community. Town staff is now in the process of operationalizing this new law.
- Second reading policy - The Council implemented this policy in an effort to slow down the process to give both themselves and the community an opportunity to learn about new issues and make reasonable well thought out decisions.
- Emergency Alert policy - The Council provided staff with a policy to help them define when and how the emergency alert system should or should not be used.
- Emergency preparedness - Both Council and staff worked with transferred funds from 2011 to identify emergency preparedness deficits and begin to solve those problems. As a result, generators are being sought for the schools and the Senior Center/Library. Also, an additional LED sign has been purchased so that the public can be made aware of when, where and how to receive emergency aid.
- Debt sinking - Council transferred $150,000 of 2011 unspent funds to the debt sinking fund. This fund will help to keep the mill rate low after large expenses.
- Hurricane Sandy – On October 29 all of Connecticut was hit by Hurricane Sandy. At the height of the storm approximately 50% of East Hampton was without power and 12 roads were blocked by trees. Within 3 days the power had been restored to 43% of the community and all but 2 roads were opened. Due to the hard work and preemptive measures taken by the Towns first responders and volunteers East Hampton felt a minimal impact from the storm.
- Governor O’Neill Gazebo - With the help of a grant from the State, the Parks and Recreation department commissioned the construction of a beautiful gazebo in Sears Park. The Gazebo, for all purposes, is now complete and will serve the community well next summer as an entertainment focal point.
- Clean Energy task force - The Council approved a resolution that created a taskforce of 5 members who will work to identify energy cost saving measures in an effort to then use those cost savings to implement cleaner forms of energy.
- 103 Main Street Brownfield renovation - With the industrial history of our village center, many locations are now identified as brownfields. Due to the great work of the Brownfields Redevelopment Agency this project is one of a handful of EPA projects that have made it to reuse.
- Discount prescription cards - The Council entered into an agreement which will allow all of the Towns residents to obtain discount prescription medication. Town staff is in the process of putting this agreement into action.
- Airline trail official opening - After a lot of hard work from many volunteer boards, commissions and Town Staff, the Airline trail was officially opened. This project could have never been completed without the help of DEEP funding.
As we all settle in to spend the holiday with our families and friends, I am very excited about the upcoming year. 2013 is shaping up to be full of opportunity for East Hampton and I look forward to working with each and every citizen, board, commission, council member and staff to make East Hampton the best place to live in Connecticut. Please have a happy and safe holiday season.
Michael Maniscalco, MPA