SOUTHBURY – The Board of Selectmen, meeting Thursday, January 7, formed a Heritage Water Advisory Board.
Selectman Jason Buchsbaum explained that, when Connecticut Water Service, Inc., purchased Heritage Village Water Company in late 2016, the town entered into an agreement.
One of the items in the agreement required the formation of an advisory board, including Southbury, Oxford and Middlebury.
He and First Selectman Jeff Manville attended a statewide board meeting on Wednesday, January 6, and they shared the water company’s intent to increase rates. “They’re looking for a $20 million increase.”
That increase would be approximately 20 percent or 40 cents per day for the average customer, although that increase has not been finalized.
Connecticut Water Service will reach out to the towns to find representatives for the required advisory board.
After First Selectman Jeff Manville recommended that the first selectman, whoever holds that office, as the representative for Southbury’s municipal government, the board unanimously agreed.
In other business, selectmen considered a resolution that condemned the activity that took place Wednesday, January 6, at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
The proposed resolution said, “We are disheartened by the events that took place yesterday afternoon in Washington, D.C. Violent protests and attacks on our government have no place in our democracy. As elected leaders of our community, we condemn the use of violent protest for any purpose, especially the attempted coercion of governmental and constitutional functions, which we hold dear as Americans.
“While we encourage and welcome peaceful assembly and protest as a means of influencing governmental action, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the actions that took place yesterday at the Capitol building.”
As the selectmen discussed the resolution, Selectman George Bertram noted that the board had remained silent as other protests took place in the past year and Selectman Emily Harrison said she would have preferred to see the draft resolution prior to the meeting in order to think about the matter and perhaps wordsmith the language.
Mr. Manville responded with his concern that the events in Washington might limit access to representatives. “This is bringing it right to the doorstep of people who should be able to access. They shouldn’t have to live in fear.”
He said that there is a serious problem when government officials are worried about being out in public and that citizens should be able to go into a governmental building to speak to officials.
“I fear how this is going to play out over time; what that’s going to mean to our government officials.”
Selectman Mike Rosen said it would be an embarrassment to make a false equivalency to compare what happened in Washington to any other recent protest that had turned violent, describing the former as an attack on democracy.
As the discussion touched on the role of the board and what message should be approved, the selectmen agreed to review the resolution and perhaps make updates, with the caveat that a final version should be apolitical.