This past weekend was stunningly gorgeous.
The kids played outside, my husband went fishing...and I cleaned out the basement, the attic and every closet in preparation for BULKY WASTE!
I am so proud to be on the Solid Waste Committee, as we worked diligently to bring this valuable service back to the residents of Cheshire. And I'm taking full advantage of it! But I'm also a bit cheap (yes, I said it), and I know that the more we throw away, the more the town will pay.
So while I piled my curb high with kids’ toys, furniture, sporting equipment and three vacuums (how does one accumulate three vacuums?), I also posted my offerings on Freecycle.org.
Freecycle.org is an environmentally friendly Internet group which offers up used items for free to keep usable things out of landfills. I've been offering things for years, and even made a few new friends from the group.
Well, I'm happy to say that only about a quarter of my bulky waste is left sitting on my curb, thereby not only keeping usable items out of landfills, but also reducing the tonnage which will be billed to the town.
If you are interested in freecycling, join the group here: https://groups.freecycle.org/group/FreecycleCheshireCT/description
As I was cleaning out my basement, I found my old campaign poster. On it, I promised to improve public safety, restore bulky waste and limit tax hikes. I'm incredibly proud that I was able to accomplish each of those promises within my first four months on Council.
First, we recently approved the contract with Student Guardian, which places cameras on school busses to take a video of motorists who pass a bus when the stop arm is extended and lights are flashing.
The company then reviews the tapes, issues a ticket on the town's behalf, and we have one less motorist who will make that mistake again... All at no cost to the town (the contracted company does the work).
As a mother of small children (and a human with a general dislike of dangerous behavior), I was absolutely flabbergasted that this resolution was tabled (not taken up for a vote) by my district Councilor last year. It was done so over money, as Mr. Falvey thought the town should receive a greater take of the ticket revenue. In other words, squabbling over a few dollars in revenue was more important than the safety of our children.
After I was elected, I couldn't wait until this contract came up for vote again. Last Tuesday, after the budget vote, there it was. And the resolution passed without Falvey there to vote against it. We are now moving forward with this important piece of public safety.
I had also promised to restore bulky waste. We did so at a far, far lesser cost to the town than the bid which originally came in last year. I can honestly say each one of us on that committee nickel and dimed our way to providing a great service at an affordable cost. The only unhappy customers are my three vacuums left on the curb. Actually, I assume they are happy now, too, as each was picked up by a Cheshire Freecycler. Everyone wins!
And finally, I promised to limit tax hikes. Together with my fellow Councilors Peter Talbot and Patti Flynn-Harris, we did just that. We put forth a budget which was just two hundredths of a percentage point higher than the Republican budget, but we added two new services which their budget did not: full-day kindergarten and Sunday library hours in the winter.
This budget is such a source of pride for us. I believe we proved we can be both fiscally prudent and community centered, which is exactly what the people of Cheshire deserve. We all deserve to get our tax money's worth, don't you think?
All throughout the campaign process, I was told, "You're the minority, you'll never get anything done."
Don't tell that to a fighter, that just made me work harder! We discussed, advocated, met with members of the other party, made hard decisions, and actually LISTENED. I listened to the voters, my colleagues, the numbers and the experts.
And finally, I listened to my heart. Because home is where the heart is and Cheshire is my home, always has been and always will be.