This is a third part in a series of stories on the year ahead. Previous installments are available at BristolPress.com.
By BRIAN M. JOHNSON
SOUTHINGTON – Looking ahead to 2018, Town Manager Mark Sciota says that his number one priority will be to work with town staff to get the most out of diminished resources from Hartford.
“I am looking forward to working closely with town boards and our economic development folks, planning and zoning and establishing a positive environment for local businesses and industry that also increases quality of life for residents,” he said. “I am still very much in favor of the plan to make Southington a ‘destination location.’”
Sciota added that one of his goals is to push the property owner of Greenway Commons for answers. He said that he would like to see that 14-acre former Ideal Forging factory site developed or to at least have a plan put into place for it.
“We can’t just sit back on our successes with the downtown area – we need it to stay vibrant,” said Sciota. “I would also like to see the plans for Plantsville go through - widening the intersection of Route 10 and West Main Street and eliminating on-street parking. It’s just a matter of funding. I’d also like to see our $50 million plus water pollution control facility additions come to fruition. I have been involved in every major project over these last years and I want to stay close to them as they finish up. That includes the senior center project, which I’ve heard has been coming along nicely.”
Sciota said that any plans he has will have to take into consideration the fiscal realities of the state budget.
“Not only did the original state budget make cuts to Southington, but the Governor’s deficit mitigation plan is considering another $50 million in municipal cuts,” he said. “We won’t know until the February session how those cuts will be distributed among the towns and cities.”
One step that Sciota has taken to prepare for whatever comes is to meet with Superintendent of Schools Tim Connellan and the Board of Finance to try to come up with a plan for how to handle potential cuts.
“My discussions with the Superintendent have been very beneficial and I’ve already had $1 million that had been set aside for capital projects frozen,” he said. “This doesn’t mean that these projects won’t happen. It just means that we have to see what the state does and make a decision.”
Sciota said that the town will do “everything it can” to avoid a supplemental tax bill.
“That has not been discussed at this point,” he said.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.