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A New Push for Regionalism
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In this episode:

"Virtually every other state...has some meaningful form of regional government." 


Episode Audio

29:27 minutes (14.14 MB)
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 It's been talked about in Connecticut for decades - but the idea of "regionalism" is starting to pick up political steam. 

The idea has always been seen as a more modern approach than our traditional 169 town strucutre - with closely guarded local control.  But with the combined recession, and state deficit, towns and cities are looking for ways to save money by combining services.  

So now, legislative leaders and town officials are talking openly about making regionalism a priority.  Anna Sale covers the capitol region for WNPR, and Diane Orson covers education - they'll join us to jumpstart a series of reports on regionalism.  And we're asking for your ideas.  Is regionalism a good idea?  Add your suggestions, questions and comments below. 

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I think regionalization has its place.  In Hartford County, one needs look no further than the MDC that has been providing top quality drinking water to the greater Hartford area since 1929 and at a fraction of the price to consumers that their privately owned counterparts in Connecticut charge.  In this example there clearly is economy of scale and this could be applied to other regional endeavors as well.  Although no longer county based in Connecticut, now more watershed based, the Soil and Water Conservation Districts were another of a more regional form of entity that has worked for over half a century despite the trend away from agriculture to suburbanization.  Home rule may have its place, sometimes, but there is also a place for "bigger is better".


We do have counties--at least on the map.  Why couldn't they be restored as relatively organic regional entities?

Listener Email from Wayne

Since farming has taken a “back seat” in terms of politics, I remember the older concept of co-operatives was used. This allowed farmers to group together to get food, equipment, and schooling in an area. This banding together made items cheaper to buy.

I think Sturbridge Village might have been part of the co-operative system.

Listener Email

My name is Kelcie, and I'm a senior at Southington High School.

When I hear of regionalism and merging districts, I can't help but feel some doubt—more so because of my own school. My school is gigantic, even college-sized to many. It houses over 2,000 students and my class is 550 alone.

Sharing faculty could be a money-saver, but as it is our faculty seems to be stretched fairly thin, especially in the area of student control because we’re a little overpopulated. And yet, we’re virtually out of money; we’re slated to be completely out of paper by January, and my backpack is already too heavy to be carrying my own reams of paper to and from school. So if this method could save us money, it sounds good. But I honestly can’t see us fitting more kids into the school. There’s so many of us already and not enough space.

So I ask you: How could you determine which schools become combined? Size? Money? Faculty number? Some, I feel, cannot be merged effectively.