Last May, the Town of Canaan received the first half of the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds and next May will receive the second half. The total amount of the grant given to our town will be $311,635.96. Of this amount, we have spent approximately $48,000 for the septic system at 107 Main Street and dehumidifiers for the basement. We note that the old septic system was failing and would have had to be replaced shortly in any case.
That will leave $263,000 in this grant available for spending. We have placed a survey on our website asking the town’s residents to give their suggestions on how to spend that money. There are certain criteria for its use that are outlined on the survey document but we encourage everyone in town with an idea to submit it. We want your ideas.
After the submissions have been presented, we will have a public forum to discuss all of the suggestions and try and reach some consensus on how the funds should be spent. So please go to the town website at canaanfallsvillage.org and give us your input. It will be greatly appreciated. We have until the end of December, 2025 to commit these funds for projects but the planning must start now so we use these monies in the best possible way to benefit our village.
On Saturday, December 18th, we are planning on holding our annual tree lighting ceremony on the green from 3 to 5 PM. Santa will be coming into town on a fire truck and we will be distributing cookies, singing traditional holiday tunes and, of course, lighting the tree. The Recreation Commission is asking that families bring an ornament to add to the tree if they so wish. I look forward to seeing everyone for the festivities.
Falls Village has received Bronze Status under the auspices of Sustainable Connecticut and we appreciate all the effort by various people in the community led by Felicia Jones that helped in this endeavor. In order to achieve this, we did work in eleven different areas dictated by Sustainable CT. This award gives us additional access to funding sources in the state so it is important.
On the sustainability front, we are faced with the closure of MIRA plant at the end of the next fiscal year. This means that our refuse from the transfer station will no longer be recycled in the state but will have to be transported to landfills outside the state. The cost of this change will affect us directly in higher costs over the next 5 years. To offset some of this cost, we are exploring jointly with Salisbury, Sharon and Cornwall a plan to start separating our compostable waste from the normal trash so that we can reduce the amount that needs to be trucked out of state. North Canaan is also considering joining this effort.
About a third of our garbage is compostable. If we could convert half of this amount to an alternate location, we believe the cost savings to our town could offset some of the costs that will be incurred by the closure of the MIRA facility in Hartford. Over the course of the next few months, we hope to finalize an agreement on how this will work. It will require a lot of compliance with homeowners and businesses in our town. If it is successful, we will reduce our costs and do our part to reduce the environmental impact of this decision to close the MIRA facility.
Excuse me, but I have to make an editorial comment on this. We, as a partner in MIRA, have been trying to work with the state for over 7 years on trying to find a solution to this. The State of Connecticut really dropped the ball on this one and was little or no help to MIRA in finding a solution to this problem. Everyone in the state knew this was happening and could not find the political will to get anything done. So, as a result, we all are going to suffer. Landfills are not a long term solution to the problem.
In other news, we have undertaken a study of potential solar panel locations in town. This is done through Staples for free in an effort to support the towns that they serve.
We are planning to hold a Town Meeting sometime in mid to late January to accept the audit and the town report, to approve a couple of items relative to taking funds from reserve accounts and approve the banking relationships for next year. Our audit is finished and we will be given to the Board of Finance in December at which time they will recommend it to Town Meeting at a date to be determined. Incidentally, our audit process was very smooth this year. With the addition of the funds from the sale of the water works to Aquarion, our general fund is now projected to be $758,000 at year-end if budgets are fully spent which they generally are not.
Finally, let us take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and our best wishes for a wonderful holiday season which is fast approaching.