In a move strongly encouraged by state officials, the Housatonic Regional planning agency, HVCEO, is seeking a merger with the planners operating in southwestern Connecticut.
"It absolutely doesn't make sense," said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. "HVCEO is probably the most highly functioning planning region in the state."
Boughton said this is an example of the state trying to fix something that isn't broken.
Both Boughton and Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said the state is forcing regional planning agencies around the state to merge, probably because the federal government doesn't want to deal with 14 regional planning agencies. It would rather Connecticut do what other states do, use county government.
"We don't want county government," Marconi said. As of 1960, Connecticut abandoned county government. Connecticut is divided geographically into eight counties, but unlike counties in most states, there is no county government, no county legislature, executives, or taxation.
Despite that, the state Office of Policy and Management and the state Department of Transportation are working on combining or reducing the number of regional planning agencies in Connecticut down from the current 14.
Members of the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials, (HVCEO) agreed last week to seek a merger with the Southwestern Regional Planning Association, which represents the towns of Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Wilton, Weston and Westport.
HVCEO represents New Milford, Bridgewater, Sherman, New Fairfield, Brookfield, Bethel, Danbury, Ridgefield, Redding and Newtown.
"We have much more in common with the towns to the north," Boughton said.