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Minutes of Board of Selectmen, 07/20/2015

AGENDA: Board of Selectmen

RECEIVED 07/22/2015 5:10pm
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk


Filed subject to approval

Present: Pemberton, Karvelis, Thompson Also present: Chief Douglas Fuchs, Assessor John Ford, members of the public & videographer

First Selectman Pemberton called the July 20, 2015 meeting to order at 7:29 pm.

Motion: move to approve the minutes of the meeting of June 15, 2015 as submitted. Karvelis, Thompson. Approved. Unanimous.

The meeting adjourned at 7:32 pm.

Motion: move to executive session.  Karvelis, Thompson. Approved. Unanimous. 

The meeting was reconvened at 8:10 pm.

No action was taken.

2017 REVALUATION Julia Pemberton stated that there have been responses to the RFP for the 2017 revaluation and selection will be made in August. John Ford indicated that the revaluation will be done by site visitations and is a 2-year project. The data collection phase is expected to go through Spring 2017 which will then be analyzed by Fall 2017 in order to recalibrate the current model to reflect 2017 values. Final values would be expected to be sent out late December or January to residents. The bid process entailed sending the RFP out to a selection of organizations certified by the State. There have been three responses. Mr. Thompson asked for clarification regarding bids with CCRC vs. bids without CCRC. Mr. Ford indicated that bids with separation of CCRC — “Continuing Care Retirement Community” — data would be helpful in the decision process. Mrs. Pemberton noted that Vision Appraisal did both the 2007 full revaluation and 2012 partial revaluation. Mrs. Pemberton will compile historical data, i.e. number of appeals on evaluations, number of adjustments and/or legal actions, along with references to review at the August meeting. It was noted that the appraisal fee for Meadow Ridge alone would be approximately $15,000-20,000.

GILBERT & BENNETT WIRE MILL FORECLOSURE Mrs. Pemberton provided an update on the filing of the GLDC foreclosure for past due taxes. The filing has a return date of August 4th for responses from the defendants. Mrs. Pemberton suggested a public quorum in late September or October to update the public on information about the site and potential future uses. DEEP would evaluate for a municipalities liability program if the Town does take title of the property.

Motion: To add a public comment to the agenda.  Karvelis, Thompson. Approved. Unanimous. 

Mr. Mark DeMuro inquired as to the objectives of the foreclosure. Mrs. Pemberton indicated there are multiple objectives for filing the foreclosure. The primary objective is to recover the past due taxes, but the overall objective is for the Wire Mill to be a productive addition to the Georgetown community.

Mr. Jerry Casiello inquired as to the latest date that it will be known if the Town is successful in the foreclosure action. Mr. Thompson indicated that an extension can be requested by the defendants, which can take three or four months. Mrs. Pemberton noted that there are 14 defendants listed in the action and the Plaintiffs are the Town, the Fire District, and the Water Pollution Control Commission.

1.  Eversource Storm Response: Mrs. Pemberton stated that there was a meeting with representatives of Eversource, Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS), Senator Toni Boucher, John Shaban (via phone), Selectman Michael Thompson, Chief Douglas Fuchs, Captain Mark O’Donnell, and Communications Supervisor Steve Schnell regarding the accountability of Eversource’s failure to perform in a timely manner after the storm last month.   It was indicated that the primary cause for the failure in restoration efforts were labor issues, communication issues, and training issues with their call centers. Mr. Thompson stated there needs to be an accountability and consequence for this failure to respond. The Town’s liaison has suggested meeting with Eversource again; date is pending. Mr. Karvelis voiced concern over Eversource’s obligation to honor CL&P’s commitment to have equipment and crews at the ready after the major storms in the past few years and inquired if regulators were also involved in this case. Mrs. Pemberton indicated that at this time it is only a Town issue but noted that Thomas Vannini from DEMHS Region 5 indicated that there were four previous incidents where Eversource had not responded appropriately and Redding was not an isolated case. Mr. Karvelis suggested the possibility of burying the wires as a future solution.

2.  Road: Paving and Maintenance: Mrs. Pemberton provided an update on outstanding road projects. She noted that Eversource is currently doing 70 miles of tree trimming and estimates it is 50% complete.   With regards to reconstruction work, Pine Tree Road was completed last Friday and Meadow’s Edge and Long Meadow Road was completed today. Old Stagecoach Road is expected to be complete this Friday and Great Oak Road by Wednesday. If there is any damage to residential property the contractor’s liability insurance provides coverage. Reports of damages should be made timely. The next phase of reconstruction is for Seventy Acre Road in the Fall and next Spring. The areas of Seventy Acre Road, Fox Run and Mine Hill Road will be prepped for drainage. In August, there will be maintenance work done: pothole repairs, cracksealing and tree work.

3.  Utilities Task Force: Mr. Karvelis stated that at the July 2nd meeting the committee met with Geoff Slevin of Fuel Cell Technologies who provided information regarding fuel cell solutions. Fuel Cell Technologies provide macro units which can service a large office complex, institutional building or be owned by the Town and pump back into the lines to subsidize the cost of electricity. Susan Clark updated the group regarding fiber optic lines and the trunk lines in the Town. Mr. Karvelis noted that Meadow Ridge is the only location in Town that uses natural gas and a concern was raised should the Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill be developed if the supply of gas would be adequate to service the project for homes and commercial interests. The Task Force will be reaching out to surrounding towns and to Southern Connecticut Gas to see what the capacity is relative to the supply of gas.

Mrs. Pemberton received from Eversource the usage numbers for all Town Buildings for the last year and plans to meet with them to review the data and look for additional efficiencies.

1. Bond Property – 18 Hill Road: Mrs. Pemberton noted that a $170,000 Open Space Watershed Acquisition Grant was received from CT DEEP for the 30+ acre open land property. As well, the Redding Land Trust is contributing $170,000 in honor of their 50th Anniversary and Aquarion has agreed to provide the $60,000 balance needed for the $400,000 purchase price. It has taken additional time for the property description process with the State. Once the property description is in place there will be a Town meeting. Mr. Thompson asked what the property tax on the lot; the amount was not readily available.

2.  Mrs. Pemberton noted a grant for $13,800 was received for additional speed enforcement during July 1st through August 31st.

3.  STEAP grant: Mrs. Pemberton received notice granting an extension and the Parks & Recreation commission can deliberate on the best use of the funds.

4.  Mrs. Pemberton met with the Chiefs from the three Fire Departments to discuss recruitment issues. Fire Department and EMT personnel currently receive an abatement to their property taxes ranging from $500 – $1,000, which is processed as income on a 1099 to the individual. Mrs. Pemberton reached out to counsel to clarify if the abatement should be taxable income. Other ideas to offer members were free Topstone passes and Transfer Station passes.

5.  Umpawaug Schoolhouse: Mr. Karvelis inquired regarding update on the Umpawaug Schoolhouse. Mrs. Pemberton indicated she spoke with Carl Rockport and a report will be received within the week. Application for Grant has been submitted.

6.  Mr. Karvelis made note that the Redding Historical Society July 5th event was a huge success and hopes that it will become an annual event. He commends all of those involved in its success. All were in agreement.

James Miller – Middle Brook Pond Rd – Mr. Miller brings up a suggestion, which he has brought up before, regarding the dividing lines on Cross Highway and suggests a cost analysis should be done between a water-based and alka-based paint. Mrs. Pemberton responded that Cross Highway was paved last year and with the materials used the lines had been absorbed. As soon as it is feasible the Town will re-do the lines. Mrs. Pemberton will bring cost analysis to the next meeting. Mr. Miller appreciates the opportunity afforded from the monthly brown bag lunch and Saturday coffee hour with the First Selectman and wants it to be known it is a great time to voice ideas and concerns. Mrs. Pemberton recognizes the value of these opportunities and appreciates listening to the residents’ concerns and ideas.

Peter Bonfanti – Umpawaug Road – Mr. Bonfanti points out that there has been recent criticism directed towards the Redding Police Department and notes that in all of his dealings he has seen nothing but integrity, knowledge, skill and politeness. Those attributes are due to the leadership and officers in our Redding Police Department.

Motion: Move to adjourn the meeting. Thompson, Karvelis. Approved. Unanimous.

The meeting adjourned at 8:55 pm.

Submitted by Krista Gramer, Recording Secretary