Nearly five years after New Canaan’s highest elected official did away with the municipal Utilities Commission by declining to appoint new members, some town officials are calling for its reinstitution.
In December 2017, one month after winning the first selectman race by 33 votes, Kevin Moynihan said that he wished to dissolve the Utilities Commission while redistributing some of its responsibilities—such as cell coverage, natural gas and solar energy.
Tom Tesluk, then-chair of the Utilities Commission, had resigned the day after Moynihan narrowly defeated Kit Devereaux. And though Devereaux, who went on to serve as a selectman, argued in favor of preserving the Commission, the volunteer body’s last meeting agenda was posted in December 2018.
During the Board of Selectmen’s Sept. 20 meeting, Selectman Nick Williams said, “We had talked about repurposing or getting back to a Utilities Commission at some point and I bring that up in the context of the cell phone towers because I think that’s an issue that a robust Utilities Commission could tackle and Lord knows in this town we’ve got experts all over the place that could help out with something like that.”
His comments came during a portion the meeting dedicated to general matters before the town. Moynihan responded that he had attended all meetings of the Utilities Commission for four years while serving on the Town Council “to bird dog cell service.”
This exchange followed:
Moynihan: And Tom Tesluk resigned the day after the election. Williams: So we just gave up?