March 15, 2019

CT Construction Digest Friday March 15, 2019

Governor Lamont has invited to join him at a transportation press conference in Milford on Monday, March 18, 2019.  Details will follow.
We hope to have a strong turnout.  We have received assurance from the Governor’s office that our short-term funding concerns are taken care of and there will be no interruption of work due to the funding concerns.

Old Bethel police HQ might be used during school renovations
Julia Perkins
BETHEL — The old police station could be a home for a construction office during renovations to the elementary schools.
Rizzo Corporation, which is renovating Rockwell and Johnson elementary schools, plans to rent the former police headquarters for a $1 a year for the next two years.
The Plumtrees Road station is near the school campus and crews could park and store equipment on the site.
“It’s a convenient place to put all that stuff because the school campus itself is so heavily utilized,” First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said. “It’s pretty crowded. It is going to be disruptive enough for the little kids in the elementary schools.”
The town plans to hold a public hearing to discuss the lease at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the middle school auditorium, just before the 7 p.m. public hearing on the $78.5 million budget proposal.
Under the lease agreement, the town would pay for water, sewer, heat and electricity, while Rizzo would cover telephone, internet and the removal of snow and garbage.
Renovations on the $65.8 million elementary schools project are expected to start in the spring.The old police station has been vacant since October, when officers moved into their new headquarters.
The town does not have a plan for the station once the lease is up, Knickerbocker said.
A few potential buyers have asked to check out the property, but the concrete building might have asbestos and likely would not be conducive to a modern office, he said.“This is just very, very preliminary,” Knickerbocker said. “There are some real challenges with the building.”
His recommendation would be to demolish the building and possibly use the space for parking.
“It is in a floodplain,” Knickerbocker said. “There is not much you can do with it.”

Southington councilor proposes anti-tolls resolution
Jesse Buchanan
SOUTHINGTON – A town councilor is hoping for council support of his resolution opposing tolls on state highways.
Tom Lombardi, a Republican , said the town government’s opposition to tolls could help sway state legislators considering the measure.
“It’s the biggest issue,” he said. “I don’t even think it’s a Democrat-Republican issue. Everyone I talk to is against tolls. The time is now to take a stand on it. If we don’t speak up now, when are we going to speak up?”
The resolution states that Southington residents already pay higher taxes and fees than residents in other parts of the country. Chris Palmieri, council chairman and a Democrat, agreed to put the item on the agenda for later this month.
“The residents of Southington pay a gas tax each time they purchase fuel for their vehicle. Tolls would be a financial burden to the residents of Southington,” Lombardi wrote. “Town Council of the Town of Southington is opposed to the imposition of tolls on its residents and urges its elected representatives in the State Legislature to oppose any measure that would impose tolls on our constituents.”
State House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, a Democrat representing Southington and Berlin, called the resolution a “political maneuver and it’ll be viewed as such.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Aresimowicz said. “I’ve worked very hard over the past 14 years to ensure that Southington has gotten its fair share of funding.”
He defended tolls as necessary to keep the state competitive and to address severe needs. Aresimowicz also said that Southington had received state money for its own roads.
“I wonder what it would be if we took all the road money from Southington to keep the highways, how that would be received,” he said.
Aresimowicz also questioned why the town was involving itself in a state issue. Lombardi said it was an important issue that affects every resident either directly through the tolls or through increased prices.
Palmieri said he’s asked state legislators about reimbursement for the increased use of local roads if tolls are implemented and residents attempt to avoid highways.
“That would be a direct impact to the town,” Palmieri said.
The council is scheduled to meet at March 25.

Resolution on tolls proves touchy topic for New Britain aldermen
Karla Santos
NEW BRITAIN - A resolution on the proposed implementation of tolls on Connecticut highways presented by Alderman Kristian Rosado was sent to the unfinished-business list after a heated exchange between aldermen at the Common Council’s meeting Wednesday.
The public hearing portion of the meeting saw about nine people speak in favor of the resolution, to be taken up as the 12th item on the agenda.
The resolution on the proposed tolling of all vehicles was meant to send a message to Gov. Ned Lamont and the legislature that New Britain’s Common Council opposes the plan, Rosado said.
According to Rosado, the implementation of tolls in Connecticut would result in increased traffic on secondary roads as drivers try to bypass the tolls.
Rosado also said increased traffic on secondary roads would affect quality of life for residents because of the presence of heavy-duty commercial vehicles and tractor-trailers. Those vehicles also would be subjecting streets to increased maintenance and repair costs resulting in an increased tax burden, Rosado said.
Alderman Jamie Giantonio supported Rosado’s resolution.
“This is not saying anything really about tolls,” Giantonio said. “It’s talking about the impact they would have on New Britain. One of the biggest selling points about this city is our access to highways. We can get on 72, we can get on 9, we can get on 84 really easily. If there’s tolls at all those places, like the resolution says, if I have to go from the West End over to Stanley Golf Course, I’m not getting on the highway and paying $1 each time I’m going through the town.”
Numerous amendments were introduced to be added to Rosado’s resolution. Some passed and some failed, but in the end, the entire resolution was tabled.
The alderman who said the most in opposition to Rosado’s proposal was Carlo Carlozzi, who said he would not vote without more information and wanted to give Rosado the opportunity to bring council members more facts. Carlozzi then wanted to make a motion to refer the proposal to committee.
“If you want me to vote with no facts, you got the wrong alderman,” Carlozzi said.
Alderman Don Naples called the resolution incomplete and suggested changing a use of “would” to “could.”
“If we just change one letter of one word in (the second item in the resolution), Alderman Carlozzi could vote in good conscience and that is: ‘The Common Council further believes the increased traffic on secondary roads would affect the quality of life of New Britain residents in numerous ways,” Naples said. Naples said the word between “roads” and “affect” should be changed to “could.”
Mayor Erin Stewart explained that the proposal will remain tabled until a motion is introduced to bring it back before the council.
“Here is the thing: You can’t take a motion off the table without a majority vote,” Stewart said. “In theory, if they don’t want to talk about it, it is dead.”
After the public hearing, Rosado thanked residents who spoke in support of his resolution.
Carmelo Rodriguez and other residents who took part in the meeting were disappointed that Rosado’s proposal was tabled.
“I believe that today is a sad day and is more of another bad day for the city of New Britain where we have Alderman Carlozzi table something that the community had come together for,” Rodriguez said. “Over 60 percent of the residents in the state of Connecticut are against tolls and today we were coming together as residents to ask all our aldermen to come together with us and speak on our behalf on something that’s definitely going to hurt our community.”
“I’m very disappointed in the Common Council, especially Carlo Carlozzi, because he always does this, always says that he doesn’t have enough information,” Kris Rutkowski said. “This is a get-nothing-done Common Council, as you can see. Nothing got done tonight.”