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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT
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Tesei Takes on Backcountry Concerns

First Selectman Peter Tesei tackled topical issues, such as the town's financial state, traffic and tree cleanup at a meeting Wednesday evening of the Round Hill Association at Round Hill Community Church.

The town's spending has more than doubled in the past 40 years, Tesei said, even as Greenwich's population grew only 5 percent. The increased spending — from $156 million in 1970 to $378 million today — is driven by the cost of government and education employees.

"It's forcing people to think about what kind of town we're going to be moving forward," said Tesei, who encouraged residents to voice their opinions at the town's public hearing Tuesday at Town Hall on the 2011-12 Capital Improvement Program.

The floor opened to discussion of many issues, including the dangers of speeding on serpentine backcountry roads. One resident said his mailbox has fallen victim several times to high traffic volume.

"Some possibilities could be the use of radar or mobile speed indicators on the roads," said Tesei. "And I believe those would be the recommendations police would make if they were here."

Another issue was the slow removal of fallen trees and branches from roads after recent storms. Keith Felcyn, president of the association, said board member Tom Lovejoy could not make the meeting because he was injured after a tree fell on him while he was bicycling.

"We think it's important enough issue to inject into the capital budget," said Tesei. "Candidly, we had one fatality in March, one fatality too many. The cause was a tree."

Tesei said that through the efforts of Bruce Spaman, superintendent of parks and trees, the town has identified more than 700 trees in need of attention. But because of labor and cost issues, Tesei said he needs community support.

"Who is going to represent that issue next Tuesday?" asked Tesei. "If I just say it I'm whistling Dixie, it has to have an interest group behind it."

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