BOS Regular Mtg. Minutes
February 22, 2022
7:30 pm, In Person, Town Hall Hearing Room also via Zoom
Present (in person): Julia Pemberton, Peg O’Donnell, Michael Thompson, Rob Blick, Mary Jo Dix & Kevin Jones.
Other public via Zoom.
Call to order
Table minutes until after P&R presentation. P. O’Donnell. J. Pemberton.
3. Discussion: Park & Recreation Updates
P&R Extended Day with Rob Blick, Mary Jo Dix & Kevin Jones.
Mary Jo Dix presented history and current Extended Day situation. In the heyday of extended day, they used to have three classrooms at RES as well as the use of the gym and outside area. Used to have 65 children on an average day. COVID put wrench in the extended day works, seriously reducing numbers. Reduced room use at RES because of low numbers and because schools need the space for educational purposes (spacing during COVID).
As of this school year, one room would be given to extended day at RES. Using other rooms at community center. Encroaching a bit at the Heritage center, always trying to be very respectful. Believes will be the same next school year. Missing the feel of a children’s home after school. No cubbies for kidd. Have to move furniture around every day. Next year, will only have one room.
Asking for more room because tired of lugging up carts with supplies (games, toys, crafts, food) and furniture in elevator, floor to floor. Also have storage issues with all the other groups who use the space too. Asking BOS to consider help find solution, provide space analysis.
BOS asked P&R to itemize the compromises made with their programming and spaces and to keep in mind that the Heritage Center wants to extend their programs, as their population is demanding it and they want to continue to have their side available to do so.
J. Pemberton suggested to craft an RFP to do a space analysis and put together a building committee group. ARPA working group will be considering all these types of projects, with a schedule, in phases, to make recommendations to the BOS toward a long-term capital plan. Currently there is a form on the town website where individuals can submit ideas.
P. O’Donnell commended all the different groups for working together.
P&R Tennis Court Proposal
Rob Blick presented. The tennis courts were originally built in 1977 for $50,000. Have been doing crack repair ever since. Needs re-doing. Post-tension concrete recommended (rebar). Cost: $575,000 to last for 20 years, crack free; everyone is doing it this way now. Long discussion about how the courts will be used for multiple purposes. Also suggesting build two new pickleball courts (exclusive, designated with fences for pickleball), extending out an additional 64 feet next to the tennis court. This cost: $86,000. All age groups play both tennis and pickleball.
M. Thompson encourages the public to help support initiatives that are for the community as a whole. Lots of support for this. J. Pemberton shared that the new playground was paid for by taxpayers. However the group of parents who helped get this done also are raising private money to help support the playground in the future, the youth investment fund, raised $1,400. This is a public/private partnership.
P&R Pavillion Update
Cement in, electrical framework in, waiting for type of beams needed, perhaps 3-4 weeks. Once all the materials are available, it will take just a few weeks more. Perfect for all kinds of programs, sports groups, rentals, stay out of the sun, eat lunch, etc. A very comfortable setting for all.
P&R Playground at Topstone
Highway will get rid of everything and clear, the sooner the better. Goal here: maybe add an item or two for kids to climb on; start fresh. Basketball court is not in great shape. It is pretty well used. It should be maintained but no capital need for this at the moment.
P&R Parking and speeding
has gotten better. Speed humps and no parking signs added. Been “solved” as per Rob Blick.
P&R Ice Rink Update
Use this winter: 22 days of use (highest number in the past, 11 days).
4. Minutes from Jan. 18, 2022 meeting: Motion made to approve minutes. O’Donnell. Thompson. Unanimous.
5. Discussion & Possible Action: Zoning Commission Zoning Change, Public Hearing scheduled for March 9, 2022 via Zoom at 7:30 pm
With regard to an application at 32 Portland Avenue, owner Salvatore Pilato, request to change from business center property to residential village. Process: needs to be referred to Selectmen from Planning Commission. Zoners are in favor of this. Single building. Change from nursery school to apartments.
6. Discussion & Possible Action: 2022-23 Selectman’s Budget & Capital Items
Itemizations discussed. Highway, Building, Town Clerk, Facilities, Social Services, Contingencies. Other: Cemeteries and Parade Path.
Discussion of general gov’t: 10%; Public Safety: 4%; Public Works: 2%; Transfer Station: 6%; Public Health: 2%. Will be joining a health district next year. Redding has partnered in the past with Bethel, for vaccine clinics. Health dept. does sanitary inspections, water testing, restaurant visits, grease trap inspections. No numbers at this point. Other: Library: 6%; have not asked for in many years. Parks & Rec: -2%; Insurance: 1%; Capital Outlay: –; Debt Service: -4%; Transfers:2%; BOE: draft form.
The Selectman’s budget will have an increase of around 1.59% increase overall. All still in draft form. Public budget hearing in March 2022. Does not take into account any capital plans.
Facilities will come back to discuss boilers and HVAC in town buildings. M. Thompson emphasized that we do need to create a long-term plan. P. O’Donnell mentioned all the need Tree trimming. Road funding should be number one priority. March and early April we will see road damage.
Eversource Tree Trimming: is doing a tree trimming in Redding. They do help us out. Will take down around wires. Work well with highway crew. Let’s help them do their job. Not town-wide but smaller amount along main lines.
Other items not in proposal:
Software for budgeting to simplify work for budget and also give more transparency to public, with graphics. Looking at OpenGov and ClearGov, both integrate with Munis.
Responding to chat (as a public comment via Zoom):
Dani G.: Use of stage at RES for Extended Day? Not allowed at this time. Also Playground at Topstone—just don’t put something there. J. Pemberton: it will be a comprehensive plan.
Ethan: Tax judgement on Meadow Ridge. J. Pemberton: evaluating options (as per exec. Session) will share more info when available.
Motion to add Historic Review Committee appointments at this time. P. O’Donnell. M. Thompson. Unanimous.
Historic Review Committee, was established under the Demolition Delay Ordinance in 2013. There are five members appointed by the Board of Selectmen. One designee is from Planning, one from Zoning, three citizens and full members and two as alternates, serving a four year term. All five members are up for reappointment. All members will continue to serve until Dec. 15, 2025.
Anda Cumings (Planning), full member, Raymond D’Angelo (citizen rep), full member, Matthew Lecher (Zoning), full member, Sherry Karraker, alternate and Jean Taylor, alternate.
Motion to approve Historic Review Committee Nominations. P. O’Donnell. M. Thompson. Unanimous.
Public Comment about Tree Trimming: already spoken of.
A.Pardee joined in the conversation to explain the change in Zoning at 32 Portland Avenue.
Zoning is required to refer to Selectmen for comment, concerns, agree with it. Planning sent a positive referral to Zoning. It does not conflict with town plan of development. BOS is inclined to do the same.
Change to RV zone, convert to 3-4 apartments. Reduce impact on traffic. Will be fully examined at public hearing in March.
Statement: The BOS has no objection given the information at this time and look forward to the Zoning public hearing in March 2022.
7. Discussion & Possible Action regarding legal expenses for the remainder of the fiscal year.
J. Pemberton described financial situation and reviewed legal expenses. Going to go to BOF to ask for an increase of $250,000. No action today. By March 1, 2022 to make decision. Then go to town meeting.Plus $160,000 for police budget from BOF to finish the year
Town Hall Window—Three windows, roof, foundation; dates back to 1940s as per town historian’s background information. Town Hall sits in an historic district. Appropriated $75,000 last year for this project. No bidders. Late bid came in at around $85,000 for just windows. Seeking advice from architect Rob Dean. Hopefully get a better product with lower cost.
9. Other Business–none
10. Public Comment
Chris Racette (Drummer Lane): Glad that we are looking at alternatives to new window at Town Hall.
Brenda Phelps (Indian Hill): very interested in what is happening with tennis and pickleball courts, due to cost of both, huge expense. Glad to see competitive bidding.
J. Pemberton responded that it is a legal requirement to go out to bid. Something the Selectmen are keeping under consideration, including the schools (go under long term capital plan). Capital projects go on a ballot. Reach out and you will get an answer to your question.
Motion to adjourn at 10:11 pm. P. O’Donnell. M. Thompson. Unanimous.
Submitted by Alice Smith