Town Council discusses off-campus crime and safety

The Mansfield town council meets for its weekly meeting to discuss the emergency services information, sewer budgets, and the new zoning ordinance on Monday evening in town hall. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The Mansfield Town Council reviewed off-campus fall crime and safety statistics Monday night.

There were 65 nuisance violations according to a report provided by Tolland State Troopers. Two of these nuisance incidents were also issued tickets for outdoor burning.

There were 14 tickets issued for open containers of alcohol, three of which were also ticketed for possession of alcohol by a minor.

Councilman David Freudmann said he perceived that students living in rental properties in Mansfield are ticketed disproportionately.

“I get very upset about it because I think of it as discrimination,” Freudmann said of the nuisance, parking and planning, and zoning ordinances.

However, police and fire do not record if a person who is ticketed or in need of emergency services is a student.

“We don’t use the term ‘student’ even though it’s not a protected class per se,” Director of Building and Housing, Mike Ninteau, said. “We’re not going after just student rentals, (these rules) apply across the board.”

The Mansfield Fire Department emergency medical services responded to 343 calls this fall, 54 of which were attributed to UConn students repopulating the area. This caused an 18.7 percent increase in volume of responses.

Mansfield Fire Chief Fran Raiola said this increase in volume is normal and expected every year.

There were 95 fire-related calls, 20 of which were attributed to UConn move in. Fire call volume increased by 26.70 percent following UConn move in according to the report.

Town Manager Maria Capricola announced that she has accepted a tentative job offer in the town of Simsbury to serve as their first ever town manager.

“I am thankful for the opportunities Mansfield has provided me in over the nearly 13 years I have worked for the town,” Capricola said. “I will miss you all and wish you the best.”

The council also discussed how to accommodate for the $882,000 decrease in state aid to the town that was approved in the state budget. Capricola said the cuts will not affect services or the delivery of services and that, after moving the $800,000 surplus from Fiscal Year 2016/2017, the remainder will be accounted for by cuts to operational costs.

After a lengthy discussion, the council voted 7-2 to approve the motion to move forward with the scaled-down $6 million sanitary sewer project at four corners which was voted for by a referendum in 2014. The original plan was to install the system for $9 million but the $3 million of promised state funding is now in jeopardy due to the ongoing financial crisis, Capricola said. Freudmann and Ausburger voted against the motion.

“This is long overdue; 50 years is a long time. Redevelopment has been needed in this area for a long time,” Mayor Paul Shapiro said.

The council also approved the UConn and Willimantic budgets for the project. 

At the last Town Council meeting, the council voted unanimously to have their attorney provide a written statement on the constitutionality of the Planning and Zoning Commission banning fraternal organizations from assembling at Mondays meeting. The attorney will be appearing at a meeting at some point in the future, council members said.


Anna Zarra Aldrich is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at anna.aldrich@uconn.edu. She tweets @ZarraAnna.