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First Selectman's Update

Posted on
May 29, 2019
First Selectman's Office
We apologize for the delay in posting. We have been going though domain reconfiguration.

Please note that due a conflict the P+Z meeting, the P+Z meeting that was scheduled 23rd has been changed to Wednesday, May 29th.

The Connecticut Legislature still hasn’t finalized their budget for the year but most elements that pertain to local governments have been decided provisionally.  One key element that remains in doubt is the transfer of pension costs for teachers partially to towns.  While this bill didn’t make it out of committee, it has been a real priority of Governor Lamont and was referred to another committee.  So it still may become law.  Again, we reiterate our position that this bill is just a transfer of tax to local communities and does nothing to solve the pension crisis.  The state government has underfunded these liabilities for two generations and now seems to believe putting them back on our shoulders is good policy.  It is not.

You may have noticed that we are doing some work on the Town Center.  On May 24th, we will be planting native plants in some of the areas that were populated by the yellow roses.  These native plants will take two years to completely fill in the spaces between them because buying small plugs is much more economical (one seventh the cost of mature plants) and the survival rate is much higher over time.  Also, we are fixing the doors on the Center on Main.  So if you see that there is a gaping hole in front of the Center, don’t be alarmed.  The doors need some repair work and a good coat of paint.  This is being done through the work of volunteers, namely Bruce Marston and myself—with the gracious assistance of the public works crew.  

Last week, I had a long talk with a group from Minneapolis, Minnesota concerning their work on creating software for the analysis of the viability of installing fiber optic networks in towns and regions.  My personal belief is that having the ability to connect efficiently and economically to the internet is crucial to the economic development of the town.  The goal is make our community a more attractive and desirable place to live, especially for the younger generation.  However, we cannot move forward on a project of this magnitude without answering several critical questions.  First, is it economically viable.  Second, will the service we provide be cheap enough to actually save money for subscribers.  

In order to start getting some answers, I am going to ask the Board of Finance and the Board of Selectmen to fund a study, costing about $1200, to allow for the determination of the costs of providing this service to our town.  This is just a first step in many that the town will have to take.  If the numbers verify the information that we have, we will then have to see how many people in the town would like to move down this road: in other words, how many subscribers would we anticipate.  In any case, the system would have to pay for itself or it is a non-starter. Preliminary information shows that this system may be a cost-saving for many in the town.  Because of the capacity and speed of this service, it can handle VOIP communications, thus creating a viable alternative to hard lines.  VOIP stands for ‘voice over internet protocol’.  We also think that the village may qualify for some grants which would greatly reduce the cost of the system. While the country as a whole may benefit from the installation of 5G, it is impractical in our area due to the topography of our village and the sparse density of our residents.

In other town news, we have learned this week that we may have to make some sizable investments in our town transfer station.  The garbage compactor is on its last legs and is in danger of failure at any time. While it is still operating without issue, on inspection, we found that there is significant rust damage to the old system, especially to the ribs that protect the sides from collapse.  New compactors are expensive, costing up to $75,000.  And there may be additional ancillary costs in the installation of the system.  This is in the early stages and we have a lot of work to do to harden these numbers.  

Last Saturday was a busy one in town.  Along with the annual Trade Secrets tour, we had a very well attended D. M. Hunt library art exhibition, the plant sale at D.M. Hunt Library and an open house at Harper Blanchett’s gallery on Main Street.

This upcoming Memorial Day, we will have our usual gathering on the Town Green.  Special thanks to the crew, led by Betty Tyburski, with her minions of Kent Allyn, Terry and Kay Blass, Dick and Donna Heinz and myself, that placed flags on all the graves of veterans in the community cemeteries.  There are 180 graves of veterans in our town in seven different locations.  The program commences at 9:45 on Monday, May 27th with a parade and the ceremony begins at 10:00.  We hope that you will come to honor our veterans on their very special day.