PLAINVILLE - State Rep. William Petit addressed the Town Council at Mondayâ€™s meeting to tell them what to expect in the new legislative session.
State Sen. Henri Martin had planned to come to the meeting but was ill. Petit said Martin hopes there will be a bipartisan effort on the budget.
â€śSen. Martin hopes we make a concerted effort to achieve fiscal stability and economic growth,â€ť said Petit. â€śHe is also concerned about structural changes like removal of the caps we put on spending and volatility during the last budget. He also has concerns about education cost sharing being cut.â€ť
Petit said Gov. Ned Lamontâ€™s agenda includes â€śpushing for tolls,â€ť specifically targeting trucks. He said that Rhode Island was sued by trucking companies over similar legislation.
Petit said Lamont is also pushing for a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour, which may be done over a period of time that has yet to be determined.
Lamont also wants to push for paid family medical leave, which Petit said could cost $20 to $30 million in upfront costs.
â€śThere are concerns that this will affect small businesses that already have to contend with a lot of taxes and regulations,â€ť said Petit.
Petit said that the Republican caucus wanted to reduce the rate of subsidization for CTfastrak and potentially reduce services at non-peak times.
â€śThere is a need for public transportation but many would like to see it be more cost efficient,â€ť said Petit.
Petit is also supporting a bill that would require the state to adopt a municipal budget by April 1, so municipalities know what state aid they will be receiving and can plan their budgets.
â€śI have spoken with (Town Manager) Robert Lee and (Town Council Chair) Kathy Pugliese and we came to the conclusion that we support keeping education cost sharing funding stable,â€ť said Petit. â€śWe wonâ€™t push for an increase but we want to keep the current levels in place.â€ť
Pugliese said that she was also concerned about a reduction in reimbursement for excess special education costs from the state. The state used to reimburse 90 percent and now it is closer to 65 percent.
Later in the meeting, Fire Chief Kevin Toner, Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Moschini and First Assistant Fire Chief Adrian Paradis were re-appointed by unanimous vote to their positions. Kurt Plourde was also promoted to second assistant fire chief from captain.
During his report, Lee gave an update on the results of a hard water study and customer survey that Valley Water Company, who supplies the townâ€™s water, conducted.
â€śEighteen percent of customers responded to the survey and two thirds of them said their water was either moderately hard or not a problem at all,â€ť Lee said. â€śHalf of those surveyed said they were unwilling to pay a higher cost to make the water less hard.â€ť
As a result of this survey, Lee said Valley Water Company doesnâ€™t want to build a new, expensive plant. They instead plan to blend local water with water from other sources. Lee said he and town staff will be meeting with Valley Water Company and the Public Utilities Regulatory Agency along with officials from the state department to discuss this plan further.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.