Board of Selectmen Meeting
Monday, October 21, 2019
Town Hall Hearing Room, 7:30 p.m.
Present: Julia Pemberton, First Selectwoman; Peg O’Donnell, Selectwoman; Michael Thompson, Selectman.
Also present: members of the public; videographer.
1. Call to Order
Julia Pemberton called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
2. Approval of Minutes of September 16, 2019
On the motion of M. Thompson and the second of P. O’Donnell, the Board voted unanimously to approve the 9/16/19.
3. Building Department: Building Official Shaun Donnelly
Discussion and possible action on recommended adjustments to fee schedule
Mr. Donnelly reviewed proposed changes to the fee schedule, noting that the only proposed changes are the itemized costs and square foot costs. Fees charged by abutting towns were reviewed. Variations in towns were noted and Mr. Donnelly reported that the square foot costs in Redding haven’t changed in 15-20 years. Mr. Donnelly stated that standardized fees will aid in determining the proper amount to be charged for building or construction fees.
Building department revenue was down last fiscal year due to smaller jobs and less new construction, big additions and swimming pools. New fees are proposed for generators and two roofing fees. The proposed increase is from $125 per square foot to $165 per square foot.
Mr. Thompson noted his concern in the percentage increase stating that $165 will be the highest amount in relation to the neighboring towns. Due to the slow housing market, the possibility of discouraging construction was noted. Mrs. O’Donnell stated that she was comfortable with the increase in light of the responsiveness and quality of the building department.
First Selectwoman Pemberton stated that the issue can be revisited in a year which will allow time to assess the fee schedule changes in the neighboring towns. She also stated that a real estate study over three Octobers is reporting an increase in house price and houses sold year after year.
On the motion of M. Thompson and the second of P. O’Donnell, the Board voted unanimously to approve an increase to the square foot fee to $150 and approve the addition of the proposed new fees.
4. Discussion of historic cemetery w report authored by Sean McNamara, Janet Storace and Joseph R. Bonomo.
First Selectwoman Pemberton reviewed the report and stated that only the cemeteries on Great Pasture and Lonetown are town owned. Funds in the operating budget are for mowing and no additional funding is expected from the State.
A Cemetery Committee is of interest to several residents. The report will be posted on the town website.
Plan of Conservation & Development survey and workshops
J. Pemberton reported one more postcard will be sent prior to the workshops scheduled for 10/26 and 10/30. Opportunities to get survey responses from residents of all ages, including children, were discussed. Posters have been placed in 45-46 locations by Mr. Lang.
Mr. Lang stated that he would like to see increased community interest in the town. J. Pemberton spoke to the challenges of communicating without a town newspaper. Mr. Tze asked if people will be allowed to voice their feelings. Mrs. Pemberton reviewed the process and stressed that the meetings will be run by Milone & MacBroom as part of the public hearing portion of the Town Plan of Conservation & Development. T. Welles, Planning Commission Chairman and A. Pardee, Land Use Director will also be in attendance.
Nancy Pelz-Paget suggested the upcoming League of Women Voters meeting as a place to communicate the importance of the survey.
Long Ridge Road realignment project
Per J. Pemberton, the intersection is completed but completion of the island is still pending. She has observed traffic in response to speeding complaints. A DOT employee is still present at the site.
Paving is expected to be completed by the end of October/early November.
Fire Radio Communications Update
Mr. Thompson commended the Fire Department and Steve Schnell for providing status updates.
Sustainable CT Program
Discussion tabled until Town Plan of Conservation & Development is complete.
5. Public Comment
Mrs. O’Donnell questioned the timing of the next revaluation. A partial revaluation will be conducted in 2022. If a home is purchased, the revaluation can be contested in February. Mrs. O’Donnell also noted that the assessors report is due November 1. She stated that 7% of the grand list is commercial.
Jim Lang reported on feedback received from small businesses in town.
On the motion of P. O’Donnell and the second of M. Thompson, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 8:55 p.m.
Kristi C. Reilly