By Lisa Capobianco
The Town Council voted unanimously Monday to accept a policy that establishes a partnership between local government and local property owners to eliminate graffiti in Southington.
“We’ve been talking about some of the challenges we’ve had getting rid of the graffiti, particularly in the downtown,” said Town Manager Garry Brumback during the Town Council meeting. “We’ve talked to high school kids, we’ve talked to a lot of different groups that are either impacted by or could facilitate us eliminating this as the problem.”
Brumback said town staff will walk through both downtown Southington and downtown Plantsville to eliminate graffiti that currently exists on June 21. From that point forward, the town will establish a Council policy that will be ultimately set through the Ordinance Review Committee to become an ordinance. The ordinance would require property owners to remove the graffiti as soon as it happens.
“We’re putting a 24 to 48 hour time period to remove the graffiti,” said Brumback.
During the meeting, Brumback also stated reasonable standards for the removal of graffiti. If the graffiti is on masonry or brick, there are tools that would eliminate it, said Brumback. If it is on a tainted surface, you can paint over it, but the requirement is to paint over it with a color that matches the original color.
“The intent is that if you eliminate graffiti quickly, the artist will take it somewhere else where it will last a little bit longer,” said Brumback. “This is the best business practice we’ve seen used in other towns.”
Both Brumback and Town Councilor Dawn Miceli will also work with the Southington Chamber of Commerce on the issue. Miceli said the idea for the graffiti policy stemmed from the community forum on vandalism that took place several months ago.
“We want to start with a clean slate here in our community,” said Miceli during the meeting. “We do take pride in our community, and we are going to stand for this.”
Miceli also reminded the public about the new Active Community Tip Line (ACT), which is a way for callers to anonymously report vandalism related information.
“We’re hoping people will call in if they see any misbehavior, including graffiti,” said Miceli.
“We need to continue to encourage people to call those tips in…this is not something we take lightly and this is not going to be something where leniency is automatic,” added Triano. “We will prosecute and we will stop this graffiti in Southington.”