Present: Ketcham, Pemberton, Takacs
Also present: nineteen members of the public and a representative of the Redding Pilot.
First Selectman Ketcham called the September 16, 2013 meeting to order at 7:30 pm.
Motion: move that the Board of Selectmen add to the Agenda an Executive Session for a discussion of personnel matters. Takacs, Pemberton. Approved. Unanimous.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move to approve the minutes of the August 26, 2013 meeting as submitted. Takacs, Pemberton. Approved. Unanimous.
UPDATE ON DEER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Deer Warden Chris Siburn announced that eight participants in the previous program have received credentials and some were out hunting today. The Deer Wardens are continuing their assessment of property needs and the forest conditions in town, and are collecting data from the hunters. Forms are available for residents who would like to allow deer hunting on their private property. Deer wardens can be contacted by email: email@example.com.
James Miller, Middlebrook Pond Road: Mr. Miller cited a recent article in the Danbury New Times that the DEEP (Department of Energy & Environmental Protection) reported a decline in the deer population in the area. Mr. Siburn noted that the information gathered from hunters will be reported to the DEEP.
Mrs. Pemberton was pleased to see that the program’s goals are both reduction of deer herd and reduction of ticks and tick-borne diseases.
DISCUSSION AND ACTION ON CAPITAL REQUESTS
- Highway Department: The capital request is for a 10’ x 25’ addition to the existing brick garage. The addition will provide the needed space to allow all Highway Department vehicles and equipment to be housed. The Department’s new trucks are taller than the existing garage and the addition will provide the space to accommodate these vehicles. The original plan to build an entirely new garage has been scrapped in favor of the less expensive addition to the existing garage that will serve the same purpose. The cost for the additions (including contingency) is $300,000.
- Transfer Station: The DEEP requires a cover over the large dumpsters. A temporary cover is now in place. The proposal for an 80’ x 130’ canopy, with a sloped roof, plus engineering fees is $192,845. Originally the request included replacement of a retaining wall. It has been determined that the retaining wall can be repaired for about $10,000, and this cost will be covered by the Operating Budget.
- Park & Recreation Department:
- Field Maintenance Building: the Department has requested a building to house the field maintenance equipment that has been approved for purchase. The 20’ x 36’ building would e erected in the area adjacent to the baseball field. The exact placement of the building is not definite and will depend on whether the building can be located in a previously identified wetlands area or on the grassy area. An application will be submitted to the Conservation Commission for their consideration. The cost for the building is $71,000.
- Community Center storage: the need for additional storage for gym equipment has existed since the building was opened in 2004. The original plan included a large storage area, but that was not included in the final plan. The proposal is for a storage area off the rear of the building near the entrance. A door in the gym will provide easy access. The cost is $55,000.
- Stepney Road Bridge: Mr. Gniadek reported the cost of the replacement of the Stepney Road Bridge is $1,114,000 (this includes construction, engineering, legal and contingency costs). Grants (Local Bridge and LOCIP) have reduced the net cost to $739,000.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Selectmen approve the following requests and send them to the Board of Finance for consideration at a Town Meeting: Highway Department Garage Project, $300,000; Transfer Station Container Roof Project, $192,845; Park & Recreation Field Maintenance Building Project, $71,000, Park & Recreation Gym Storage Project, $55,000, and Stepney Road Bridge Replacement Project, $739,000, for a total of $1,357,845. Pemberton, Takacs. Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION OF PROPOSED LEASH ORDINANCE
The proposed Dog Leash Ordinance was reviewed by Town Counsel and his revised draft was discussed. Attorney Lavelle confirmed that the Town could use the State citation appeal process, with all fines going to the State as well as all appeals. The Ordinance would apply to the areas of public congregation at Topstone Park, such as the parking area. The beach area is off limits for dogs during the swimming season for health reasons. Mr. Degener, Park & Recreation Commission Chair, stated that the Park & Recreation Department will continue to maintain the existing regulation that dogs must be leashed at Topstone Park. The Ordinance will provide a means to enforce the dog leash mandate in the parking area. Mrs. Ketcham will discuss the Ordinance and enforcement issues with the Police Chief and the Animal Control Officer. She anticipates the finalization of the Ordinance at the next meeting.
DISCUSSION OF Park & Recreation revenue/expense analysis
Rob Blick, Director of the Park & Recreation Department provided detailed information on the revenue and expenses of the department. A significant shortfall was experienced during the last fiscal year, and Mr. Blick described the measures being taken as a result of the shortfall.
- Summer Camp: summer sessions did not sell out as in previous years. Mr. Blick noted there is a decline in school enrollment in the schools, meaning fewer campers for the summer camps. Camp expenses were reduced where possible.
- Self-sustaining Programs: Mr. Blick noted that the major trips (ball games, plays, etc.) were not sold out; most of these have been eliminated this year. He added that there are expenses for things that do not bring in revenue, such as the cost of the custodial services for the weekends, special Topstone events, Movie Night, free open gym on the weekends, and Tree Lighting. In addition, the Concert on the Green program has not brought in the amount of donations as in prior years and the Department has to cover the cost of the police service ($300/concert) and bathrooms, plus the band.
- Extended Day: the declining enrollment at the schools has resulted in declining enrollment in the Extended Day program. Last year the Kindergarten program at the school changed from a ½ day to a full day, resulting in a decline of Kindergartners in the program. The Department plans a marketing effort to attract children to the program for an opportunity to play with friends, as opposed to the previous emphasis on being a day-care provider.
- Topstone Park: revenues from this summer were up, but that revenue will be reflected in the current fiscal year. Expenses have been reduced where possible.
In summary, Mr. Blick stated that the Department is headed in the right direction.
DISCUSSION OF 180 DEMOLITION DELAY ORDINANCE
The Ordinance was reviewed by Town Counsel and the revisions were discussed. The Review Committee composition was discussed. The composition includes a designee of the Planning Commission and the Zoning Commission, plus either one or three members of the public appointed by the Board of Selectmen. Following discussion, the decision was to have one member of the public, and two alternates, appointed by the Board of Selectmen for four year terms.
The cost of consultants was also discussed. A line item for consultant fees will need to be added to the overall budget. Mrs. Ketcham noted that the Selectmen have a line item for consultant fees that could be tapped during the current fiscal year, but there needs to be a separate line item in the next budget.
Changes discussed will be incorporated in the Ordinance and then move forward to a Town Meeting for approval.
- State mandated consolidation of Regional Planning Agencies. Mrs. Ketcham reported that the state has mandated the consolidation of Regional Planning Agencies with fewer than 14 towns before January 1, 2014. Redding is currently a member of the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (HVCEO). That agency will likely joint the South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA) which consists of towns in the lower Fairfield County. In addition, these groups will now be called Council of Government.
- Park & Recreation request to transfer the remaining Athletic Field STEAP grant to the Region 9 artificial turf project. Mrs. Ketcham noted that action on this issue would be relevant only if the project is approved by voters at the September 24 referendum. The request was tabled to the next meeting.
- Town website video: a video presentation, narrated by Mrs. Ketcham, was shown. The 5-minute video is intended to promote life in Redding and will be on the Town’s website. The video is a volunteer production by Mrs. Pemberton and her husband Adam. Mrs. Pemberton noted that the content and pictures can be changed & updated as often as desired to meet the changes in the town.
- Update on Town Meeting Notification Survey: Mrs. Pemberton reviewed the brief survey that will be available online on the town webpage next week. The only survey question asked if the Town should use additional methods to notify residents of Town Meetings. If the response is yes, the respondent has three options: town-wide mailing (cost $1200/meeting), town-wide automated call ($200/meeting) or other suggestion.
- Board of Finance position on financial threshold for referenda: Mrs. Ketcham reported that Board of Finance Chair Alvarez responded that the Board of Finance would not recommend a dollar threshold, and that each request should move forward from the Board of Selectmen based on individual merits and recommendations.
- Solarize CT Update: The Town of Redding will participate with the towns of Trumbull and Easton on this program. The goal is to more than double the amount of solar power during the 20-week program. A launch meeting is planned for September 22 in Trumbull. Suzanne Krivit, Redding’s representative, is also planning a meeting in Redding for October 3, 2013.
Leon Karvelis: Mr. Karvelis asked if there was any potential to solarize the town’s buildings. Mrs. Ketcham responded that a study was done a few years ago and all municipal buildings were evaluated. The study showed that the Redding Elementary School was prime candidate for solar panels.
Motion: move that the Board of Selectmen recess to executive session for a discussion of personnel matters. Takacs, Pemberton. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting recessed at 10:10 pm
No further action was taken.
Motion: move to adjourn the meeting. Takacs, Pemberton. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 10:26 pm.
Mary Maday, Recording Secretary