It’s been over a year since the Southbury Democratic slate swept town elections, last week the new administration released a First Year Progress Report reflecting on their initial year in office.
The report delineates the accomplishments around the ten initiatives that were the core of last year’s Democratic campaign and is the first of its kind by a First Selectman in Southbury.
“It has been a very productive year for the Town of Southbury,” said Southbury First Selectman Ed Edelson. “As part of my commitment to accountability and transparency, I believe it is important to prepare this report for the public.
“The progress would not have been possible without the cooperation and commitment of the employees of the Town and the many volunteers who either formally serve on our Boards and Commissions or who help out in so many other ways in Town.”
Edelson’s campaign outlined the following highlights of their first year in office:
Ten Policy Initiatives: Selective Highlights
- Running a Positive Campaign
o After meeting with leadership of the Republic Town Committee soon after taking office, we agreed that it would be helpful for me to attend their meeting to foster better understanding and communication. I believe this was a first in our community.
- Strategic Planning for Southbury
o Reviewed strategic planning approaches used by others, but wanted to complete the Plan of Conservation and Development before starting another initiative.
o One important accomplishment was to adopt a more objective approach to road improvement planning.
- Information Technology Utilization in Southbury Town Hall
o Upgrades to the projector and sound system have been made. In addition to the Board of Selectmen utilization noted above, the Board of Finance is using the new technology to review materials and record their meetings.
- The Future of Southbury Training School Campus
o During the year, I had several meetings with the Executive Director of the Southbury Training School and the Governor’s administration to establish a working relationship.
- Youth Activities and Venues
o Established Community Center Exploration Committee after consulting with Waterbury Region Y. As per the schedule, this will be reviewed with Board of Selectmen by Year End.
- Promoting Volunteerism in Southbury
o In addition to the active members on the Community Center Exploratory Committee, a new Energy Task Force was established.
- Preserving and Enhancing our Natural Environment
o Working with the Conservation Commission, 60 acres of land purchased by the Town in the late 1990’s (the Shortt Property) was converted to permanent Open Space.
o Established the first Community Gardens at Settlers Park.
- Emergency Preparedness Communications Plan
o Our coordinated response to Storm Sandy demonstrated the importance of effective communication using a myriad of tools to keep the public informed
o Created a new combined position of Fire Marshall and Emergency Management Director.
- Improving Town Hall Management
o Grants represent a significant source of revenue for the town. A database has been created to track the grants that we have, the grants that we can apply for and the milestones related to each.
- Low Stable Taxes for Years to Come
o Working collaboratively with Region 15 and the Town of Middlebury established a new Medical Insurance Pool was established which resulted in significant savings in the current year. More importantly, it positions us to competitively bid our medical insurance coverage for the coming years.