Montville - Town and state officials met for nearly two hours Friday morning in Hartford to discuss a proposal to locate a sexual offender treatment facility in town.
The meeting was held to allow town and state officials who represent Montville to vent their frustrations and opposition to the proposal to create the 24-bed facility and for state officials to update the local leaders on the proposal and try to alleviate some of their concerns.
The town's legislative contingent, council members, the mayor, a representative from the governor's office and officials from the Department of Correction and the state Judicial Branch took part in the meeting.
In early April, the state selected The Connection Inc., a nonprofit social services organization that operates the Cochegan House, a halfway house on the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center property, to negotiate a contract to oversee the proposed treatment facility.
The Connection, which has worked with sexual offenders at various facilities statewide since 1983, was the only bidder for the job.
The goal is to open the 24-bed facility soon after July 1. The DOC and Judicial Branch have been allotted $1 million apiece for the project.
Although the organization was selected two weeks ago, the state and nonprofit have yet to begin negotiating a contract, DOC Director of External Affairs Brian Garnett said Friday afternoon.
Garnett said the acting commissioner stressed once again that state officials have asked The Connection Inc. to consider alternative sites for the facility and that public safety is a principal concern for the DOC.
Mayor Joseph Jaskiewicz said the local contingent learned Friday that one of the reasons for wanting to locate the treatment facility near a prison is added security.
The treatment facility will be overseen by The Connection employees with one staffer to six clients at night and many more staff during the daytime hours, Jaskiewicz said.
The mayor stressed that he continues to be staunchly opposed to the project, but if it is approved for the Corrigan property Jaskiewicz said he asked that the town be able to negotiate some of the conditions on the site, such as reducing the number of clients served. He added that the state legislators intend to try to submit a bill that would amend the original proposal for the facility to establish some parameters on where such facilities can be located.
Town Council Chairwoman Donna Jacobson said she was proud of the legislative efforts being made and that those associated with Montville are showing a "unified" front.