Senator Cathy Osten: Protecting constituents with crumbling concrete “our duty and obligation”
Sen. Osten submits testimony in support of three bills to assist residents struggling with crumbling concrete foundations.
State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) today submitted the following testimony in support of three bills to address crumbling concrete foundations before a joint hearing of the Public Safety and Security, Insurance and Real Estate, and Planning and Development Committees:
To the Honorable Chairs and distinguished members of the Public Safety and Security, Insurance and Real Estate, Planning and Development, and Banking Committees, thank you for holding this critically important public hearing. I am here to testify in support of Senate Bill 794, Senate Bill 905 and House Bill 7175.
My name is Cathy Osten and I represent the 19th Senate District, which includes the towns of Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich, and Sprague.
Failing concrete foundations caused by the mineral pyrrhotite have been identified in homes across North Central and Eastern Connecticut. This tragic and unforeseen disaster has affected hundreds of families. Those homeowners, who are already living in homes that have been affected, are devastated, both emotionally and financially.
I wholeheartedly support Senate Bill 794, An Act Assisting Homeowners with Crumbing Foundations. This bill would establish the administrative mechanism necessary to allow cities and towns to borrow the funds needed to address affected homes. Combined with the $5 million already set aside to help pay the interest on these loans, I believe there must be a grant component to this fund which could be means tested as part of this overall process.
Senate Bill 905, An Act Concerning Failing Concrete Foundations, will allow the Department of Consumer Protection to establish a program in order to aid the owners of these residential and commercial buildings with the failing concrete foundations.
Lastly, I support House Bill 7175, An Act Requiring the Testing of Concrete Aggregate for the Presence of Pyrrhotite. Testing for the presence of this mineral will ensure that what has happened to these families WILL NEVER happen again. This is imperative for upholding a strong and healthy housing market in Connecticut.
I believe it is our duty and obligation to protect our constituents, who pay property taxes on their family’s most important investments, their home. This legislation seeks to provide a mechanism to address those caught in an unfortunate situation, not of their making. It is essential that we work together to improve the quality of life for all affected by this issue and ensure that those affected will be made whole.
I also believe that a future funding mechanism must be developed as this has the potential to be a long term rollout of identified impacted structures.
Thank you again for the opportunity to testify in support of these measures. I look forward to working with the leadership and members of these committees on this important issue.