Ted Siefer's City Hall: Hirschmann leery of business group's ice arena takeover
Hirschmann urged his colleagues to take a close, careful look at the agreement put forward by the group of local businessmen who want to take over the operation of the city's West Side Ice Arena, in partnership with the Manchester Regional Youth Hockey Association (MRYHA).
The aldermen's Administration Committee has kicked to the curb the pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) trash fee idea, but last week it gave the green light for a couple of more modest revenue-generating plans. The most significant of them would tighten property tax exemptions for disabled people. The proposal was put forward by Assessing Board Chairman Robert Gagne as part of a larger plan to tighten up the city's exemptions. Gagne has noted that while the city ranks near the bottom of a 14-town survey for median income, it tops the list for the percentage of tax base value discounted through exemptions for the elderly, disabled and veterans. Taken together, the exemptions cost the city $5.52 million last year.
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Another measure took a big step forward in the Administration Committee: A draft version of a comprehensive right-to-know policy.
He quoted from state law, the purpose of which is to ensure "the greatest possible public access to the actions, discussions and records of all public bodies."
"I've read through the communication from Mr. Girard," Solicitor Tom Clark said. "I don't think (his concerns) rise to the level of violating the law or the spirit of law.."
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