Local Government in Connecticut, Third Edition
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Wesleyan University Press
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Local Government in Connecticut
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...12 Public Safety: Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services 76 15 Land Use: Planning and Zoning, Wetlands and Watercourses 10317 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Local Government 112H Partial List of Connecticut General Statutes for Municipalities 211...
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This third edition of Local Government in Connecticut is published by Wes-leyan University Press in cooperation with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM). The original edition was published in 1992 by the Institute of Local Government of the University of Connecticut. In 2001, the CCM published the second edition with numerous updates. This edition ...
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This third edition of Local Government in Connecticut has been written in collaboration with two of my professional colleagues, Phil Schenck and Roger Kemp. Both have extensive experience as town managers in Connecticut and other states. All three of us are on the faculty of the University of New The decision to write and publish this edition would not have been possible ...
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Local government totally surrounds us, yet its services are often hardly noticed. As chapter 1 of Local Government in Connecticut makes clear, these services reflect the broad levels of human need, and, in some cases, wants of today’s society. In addition to the more visible local-government operations, such as school busses, road and bridge maintenance, public safety, libraries, ...
1 What Is Local Government in Connecticut?
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It is nearly impossible for anyone to leave home and travel for a few miles without coming across some aspect of local government at work. Indeed, local-government services have become such a part of our daily lives we If local government ceased to exist, however, you couldn’t help but notice its absence. Students from kindergarten to twelfth grade would suddenly ...
2 Forms of Local Government
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The United States Constitution sets forth the laws covering only the federal and the state governments. Towns and cities are never even mentioned! Towns and cities, commonly referred to as municipalities, exist because the state says they can exist. They receive their powers from the state, and The fact is that more than half of the 169 municipalities in the state of ...
3 Who Runs These Governments?
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The score was 9–8 at the bottom of the ninth inning. Fully engaged parents on both sides screamed encouragement to cheer their child’s team to victory. For some, it was a reliving of their youth, with vivid memories of the ecstasy of victory or the agony of defeat. No matter, the game was real, here and now.Suddenly the coach calls for a time out, and slowly walks to the pitcher’s ...
4 Key Local Government Officials and Their Roles
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Local government has become quite complex over the years. The original role of municipal officials of taking care of roads and watching out for the general welfare has expanded significantly. This need for specialization is a result of population increase, federal and state mandates, technical-knowledge requirements, and a general demand for a particular public service. Several ...
5 State Government vs. Local Government
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Many times at local public meetings the frustrations of local officials and citizens regarding the state are vocalized. “How can the state do that, we have ‘home rule.’” The tenor of such comments is such that one wonders if the state is a foreign agent and not part of where residents live. As explained in chapter 2, towns and cities are “creatures of the state” and have home ...
6 Charter Revision Process
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Municipalities operate under the concept of home rule, or their ability to govern themselves with certain limitations. Home rule is in the state stat-utes and was reinforced by an amendment to the state constitution in 1965. However, several towns have chosen not to adopt a charter, and therefore operate under the general statutes. These towns are mostly in the far east-...
7 Municipal Employees and Unionization
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The history of collective bargaining and the unionization of public workers is essentially a twentieth-century development. The transition of the nation’s economy from agriculture to industry in the late nineteenth and early twen-tieth centuries produced an environment conducive to the rise of workers’ rights and collective bargaining in the private sector. Private sector unioniza-...
8 Federal Government’s Role in Local Government
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The relationship between the federal government, the states, and local gov-ernments (towns, cities, and counties) is an interesting mix. The Constitution distributes authority and powers between the central government and the states — giving to both substantial responsibilities and powers, including the power to establish and collect taxes, establish user fees and charges for ...
9 Some Nuts and Bolts of the Local Government Process (or How Business Is Transacted at the Local-Government Level in Connecticut)
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Unlike many other states, elected politics at the local level in Connecticut are partisan. In these other states, there are no political parties on the ballot. Most individuals running for office at the local level are nominated by and belong to one of the two major political parties, Democrats or Republicans, although third parties occasionally are formed and third party candidates ...
10 Where Does the Money Come From?
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The early settlers of New England had a reputation for frugality. Luxuries were avoided, necessities were made to last, and bargains were boasted. Much of this old attitude has carried over into the operations of today’s lo-cal governments, especially in the smaller towns. Citizens at the local level have the opportunity to closely examine budget proposals and express their ...
11 Where Does the Money Go?
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The phone rang in the mayor’s office late in the afternoon, one of a long stream of phone calls that afternoon. The mayor’s secretary answered in a professional tone, “Mayor’s office, may I help you?” “Certainly can” came the reply. “I am a taxpayer in this town and I want to talk with the mayor. I need a streetlight on our street. We have had a series of break-ins, and my ...
12 Public Safety: Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services
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Public safety is a basic service provided by municipalities and requires staffing twenty-four hours per day, 365 days per year. All municipalities in Connecticut provide the three basic public safety services: police, fire, and emergency medical services. They may be provided in a number of ways, however, depending upon a variety of factors such as cost, number of vol-...
13 Homeland Security and Emergency Management
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Eleven days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the first director of the Office of Homeland Security was appointed by the president to head this new department, which was located in the White House. This office oversaw and coordinated a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard the country against terrorism and respond to any future attacks. A year later, ...
14 Public Works
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In the early days of Connecticut, selectmen were often elected on the basis of their knowledge of roads, bridges, and drainage. In the late nineteenth century and into the twentieth, public works directors were often engineers, focused on physical public infrastructure. The proper design, construction, and maintenance of these “public works” were vital, particularly in com-...
15 Land Use: Planning and Zoning, Wetlands and Watercourses
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Land use is a critical element in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities. Cities and towns have grown as a result of natural resources, location, and land-use public policies. The development of coastal communities, for ex-ample, is in stark contrast to the development of inland communities. One only has to look at the marine environment of an Essex, Old Saybrook, or ...
16 Risk Management in Local Government
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In the last several years one of the fields that has grown in importance for municipal government is the area of risk management. At one time, mu-nicipalities just purchased insurance and used this insurance when a claim came in. This was especially true with workers compensation. The number of municipal employee claims grew so much that, in the 1970s, a few of ...
17 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Local Government
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Technology has affected all aspects of local government. In addition to the heavy users of technology in financial operations, land use has also been affected. One of the major tools that has become commonplace is the use of the geographic information system, or simply GIS. Whereas cartographers, town planners, and town engineers used to spend enormous amounts of ...
18 Health and Human Services
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In colonial Connecticut the selectmen had two basic functions — maintain-ing the roads and overseeing the community’s welfare. Today the role of the selectmen is far more complex and diversified. Numerous responsibilities formerly handled by the selectmen are now handled by public employees educated and trained in specific fields. Health and human services are two ...
19 Municipal Clerk
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The office of municipal clerk in Connecticut is based on the historic English town clerk (pronounced “clark” in England). One of the first offices estab-lished in Plymouth Colony was that of recorder. The position of municipal clerk is considered a senior-level position in Connecticut municipalities. Originally elected, the position is now both appointed and elected. This ...
20 Education: Function, Role, Relationship to Town
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Education is such an important function that all levels of government — fed-eral, state, and local — have their fingers in it. Although public education is a state responsibility, delegated to local boards of education, the main responsibility for providing education from prekindergarten through grade 12 lies with local government. Thus board members have a dual status as ...
21 Technology in Local Government and Education
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Municipal chief executives that have been in office for a long time can re-member when information technology (IT) and information management (IM) were commonly called data processing (DP). Essentially each public manager “did his own thing” when it came to the services that he or she wished to provide to the public. Generally speaking, department heads made ...
22 Other Local-Governmental Officials
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In local government there are positions that are not as highly visible as the mayor or the first selectman, but are nonetheless important. Positions such as the municipal attorney, harbormaster, and canine control officer, each in his or her own way, affect the well-being of the community. In this chapter, The municipal attorney (sometimes called the corporation counsel) is nor-...
23 Two-Year Political and Financial Calendar
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Most people are aware of the political calendar in which local elections are held in the odd years and state and federal elections in the even years. Most people also recognize that there is a budgetary calendar, with the local budget being adopted sometime in the spring of each year. Sometimes this budget cycle extends into the summer, which happens when voters in a community ...
24 Public and Private Utilities
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Every time one enters a building or a home, there are some basic services that are so common one doesn’t even think about them — unless they don’t work. These are the utilities. In a good portion of the world, they do not even exist!This chapter covers these services and reviews who regulates them, who owns them, how they are provided, and how they are paid for. These utilities ...
25 Economic Development at the Local Level
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Public officials in local government, especially during difficult economic times, are actively involved in development activities to help raise revenues to finance public services and thereby help to avoid raising property taxes. By stimulating economic development, city and town officials can increase revenues from a number of different sources. These revenue sources include ...
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As noted previously, Connecticut is one of only two states that does not have any formal regional or county government. The eight counties in the state are thus geographical designations only; and the residents of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities pay taxes to their municipality and to the state, and not Connecticut does have regional planning. Specifically, pursuant to Section ...
27 Freedom of Information Laws and Ethics
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Hardly anything in American society can escape the influence of the media. This is especially true for those public officials and employees that work for local government. Newspapers assign reporters to spend hours at the many city and town halls, as well as the many government meetings that are held at them. Television stations may also send a camera crew to these meetings ...
28 Basics of Municipal and Educational Pensions
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Wages, health insurance, and pensions are the “big three” in employee costs. Wages and health insurance costs are more immediate, with changes affecting the local budget almost right away. Pensions, on the other hand, are long-term liabilities, with benefits being paid out over many years after an employee has left the work force. For a variety of reasons, including shifts in ...
29 Public Policy in Local Government
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Public policy is exercised on a daily basis by local government. Public policy involves decision making about the allocation of public resources that affect peoples’ lives. What school to close, what senior-center program to run, how many police officers to have, what “ big box” store to allow in town, whether there should be security officers in schools, a noise ordinance, tax ...
30 Careers in Local Government
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This book covers the numerous roles and responsibilities of local government employees and volunteers. It also gives some idea of the numerous career op-portunities that exist in local government; these careers affect peoples’ lives, help others, and have a direct impact on society. Local government is where the action is — it is immediate, direct, and deals with real-life situations....
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Under Section 16a-4a of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) is responsible for the designation and re- designation of logical planning regions within the state. Accordingly, OPM has designated fourteen such planning regions. Through local ordinance, the municipalities within each of these planning regions have voluntarily ...
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013
Edition: 3rd edition