BRISTOL - Gov. Ned Lamont stopped in to meet with Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu Monday night, talking about the school system, grant opportunities and concluding with how Bristol is “a city that’s happening.”
“I learn more from sitting down with Ellen for 20 minutes than by attending a long roundtable discussion,” said Lamont. “I love getting to know people and seeing what I can do to help. One of my takeaways was that Bristol is a city that is happening and it is a community that is attracting young people. There are a lot of jobs, especially with ESPN.”
Lamont said that Bristol could be a “role model” when it comes to the mayor’s swiftness in pursuing a Connecticut Partnership Grant. In 2019, philanthropist Ray Dalio donated $100 million to the state to be used for education programs and Zoppo-Sassu asked how best a “mid-sized urban city” such as Bristol could go about applying for it.
“We talked about the school system and the Connecticut Partnership and what I heard was very encouraging,” he said. “It sounds as though Bristol has had some very successful programs that are engaging kids and getting them on track.”
Zoppo-Sassu added that Lamont seemed “excited” when he heard about Bristol’s interest in applying for the grant. She said that the superintendent of schools, the executive director of the Bristol Development Authority, the Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services Department, Bristol Adult Education and school staff were beginning to meet in order to determine how best this grant money could be used.
“These talks are in their infancy, but the deadline to apply is the end of the month,” explained Zoppo-Sassu.
Another issue which came up in the meeting is the cost of recycling. It is currently more costly for municipalities to recycle rather than to just dispose of solid waste with the current “tip fee” sitting at of $85 a ton. Other town and city leaders, such as Town Manager Robert R. Lee of Plainville, have raised concerns about this problem as well. Zoppo-Sassu said she had been discussing it with Lee shortly prior to Lamont’s visit.
“A community like ours, located in the middle of the state, can’t afford to ship their recycling out of state,” she said. “We’re at the tipping point and we’re trying to figure out how to keep our recycling in the state.”
Zoppo-Sassu said that Lamont informed her that this was an issue which he was speaking to the legislature about and trying to come up with a solution for.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.