Summer has arrived with a hot blast. As you have noticed, we have not had a great deal of rainfall so we are asking everyone, and specifically those who have town water, to conserve their usage. Please, no washing cars, watering lawns, filling pools, etc. This will ensure that we don’t overtax the system. While we are having no problems now, we are being proactive to make sure we have adequate water supplies for this hot, dry period.
Everyone should have received a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau asking that you complete the simple form that they have distributed. If you are a second home owner and the property you own here is not your permanent residence, please just respond that there are zero occupants of your house. You will be counted only in the place you determine to be your permanent address. We cannot emphasize how important it is to get every resident counted as it is the cornerstone of all reimbursements we get from the state and federal governments.
Our town continues to be one of the two towns in Connecticut that has had no coronavirus cases reported. Please continue to wear your masks when it is unavoidable to not maintain social distancing. Keep washing your hands. While we have excellent compliance with CDC rules and recommendations, a quick look at the news from other areas in the country and their increasing infection rate warns us all that relaxing our vigilance locally is not warranted. Please, for the sake of yourselves and others, keep it up!
The Board of Finance has raised the millage rate by 1.1 mil this year. For those of you who did not listen in at our public hearing, the town budget for 20/21 was reduced from the previous year by 4.88%. The Kellogg School’s budget had a 0.00% increase. Region 1 maintained its budget also. However, our percentage of the students enrolled at the high school has increased 73% over the past two years. Since our percentage of students of students has increased so dramatically, so has our percentage of the total budget from the high school. Our costs for Region 1, due solely to this percentage change, are up $531,000 over the last two years.
We have been using the surplus in our general fund to offset this increase for two years. Now, having drawn down the general fund to $540,000, we would have zero funds in the bank at the end of 20/21 fiscal year which is not fiscally responsible, especially given the pandemic.
We believe that these pressures will start to lessen next year and accelerate in the following two years. Let us hope that we are right.
The Town Pool will open on the 28th of June. There will be some new rules to ensure social distancing is maintained while out of the pool and the wearing of masks when entering and leaving the pool area. There will be no shower facilities open this year. The only people able to use the pool will be town residents. This is in line with policies throughout the area. As the plan stands now, subject to revision as we monitor the pandemic in our area, is to open at 11 AM, close at 3 PM for one half an hour to enable cleaning and disinfecting, then re-open from 3:30 PM until the normal closing time of 7 PM.
Hunt Library has resumed normal operations. Go on in and get some books, a movie or an audiobook.
We have appointed a Covid Recovery Team. Members consist of the three selectmen, Greg Bidou, Michelle Hanson and Felicia Jones. Our purpose is to focus on those things that will allow us to recover both socially and economically as a community, with a focus on what we are not doing that needs to be done. Comments from the public on needs that are not being meant are welcome.
For those of you who don’t drive down past the intersection of Routes 63 and 7, our gas station is set to re-open! This is great news to anyone who doesn’t want to waste their fuel to get some. Let’s all support it!
The Village Market is moving ahead in its development. We have received a grant, thanks to the efforts of our Economic Community Director, Felecia Jones, to install an internet hot spot on the corner of 108 Main Street which will allow people to use the Town Green or the adjacent parking to connect. This is just the start of what will become an asset to the village and the town as a whole.
On a final note, when you receive your tax bill there will be an enclosure asking you for emergency contact numbers. You can opt to receive emergency notifications only to an e-mail or a preferably as a text to your cell phone. If you wish, you can also get notifications about additions to our website, like this blog post. The emergency notification number is critical as we do not have a method of quickly informing the public of emergencies at this time. So please complete the information and send it back to us. We hope to have the system up and running by the end of the summer.