Published January 09. 2014 4:00AM
Slumlords ignore leaking pipes and seal off rooms rather than repair them; mayor's don't, or at least shouldn't.
New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio came across as reckless when he told Day Staff Writer Kathleen Edgecomb this week that a lack of money is preventing a prompt response to address what appears to be a dangerous situation at City Hall.
A steam pipe is reportedly leaking in the wall of a first-floor office. While apparently now worse, it appears the problem is not new. Former City Clerk Clark van der Lyke said he noticed mold on the walls when he used the office about a year ago. A musty, moldy smell permeates the building.
Shortly before Christmas, steam from the leaking pipe set off an alarm and so swelled the door that a public works crew had to break it down. They sealed the room off with a plywood panel, but as of Wednesday afternoon the cause of the situation remained unaddressed.
New London's mayor certainly faces a tough fiscal situation. Forced to address a large deficit he inherited with his 2011 election, Mayor Finizio has worked with the City Council to cut spending and raise taxes to bring finances back into balance. Mayor Finizio says the cuts left spending so tight he doesn't have the money to address needed repairs. He contends the leak and mold situation and the many other problems at City Hall are symptomatic of the city's deplorable infrastructure, caused by maintenance being deferred for years.
Disrepear and lack of handicap access at the high school, aging public safety vehicles and outdated public works equipment are higher priorities if he had the money, said Mayor Finizio. The administration is preparing a comprehensive capital improvement plan, he said.
However, as any homeowner knows, there are some things that can't be ignored, things for which you have to find the money. A persistent leak and mold growth is such a situation. Certain types of mold can create health problems. If they have not done so already, inspectors from the Ledge Light Health District should examine the matter.
While his frustration is understandable, the mayor needs to find the resources to address the most immediate and serious problems, it's part of the job.