Board of Selectmen
Tuesday, August 17, 2020
Present: Julia Pemberton, First Selectwoman; Peg O’Donnell, Selectwoman; Michael Thompson, Selectman.
Also present: Members of the public joined the meeting in addition to members of Town staff.
1. Call to order
The First Selectwoman called the meeting to order at 7:34 p.m.
2. Approval of Minutes
Mr. Thompson motioned and Mrs. O’Donnell seconded the motion to approve the 7/20/20 Meeting Minutes.
3. Public Comment
4. Public Safety Communication Project Update
Steve Schnell, Communications Supervisor, reported that contracts have been signed with both Motorola and Norcom. The engineering firm working with Norcom will be visiting each of the four sites; John Read Middle School, W. Redding Fire Department, Meadow Ridge and the Branchville School. Each site will be evaluated and will need to be certified prior to any work on the pole/antenna. The engineers will determine what portion of the Branchville School site work will be the responsibility of both Ridgefield and Redding. The groundwork is planned to be completed prior to the shipment of the equipment.
Mr. Schnell noted a one-month delay due to COVID and a week delay due to the storm last week. He stated that a schedule will be available once the Motorola ship dates are known. First Selectwoman Pemberton questioned the delay. Mr. Schnell stated that Motorola employees are working remotely. Mr. Thompson asked if there are structural issues with the pole at the W. Redding Fire Department. Mr. Schnell stated that the engineers will confirm the concrete depth needed to support the pole. If the pole cannot be certified, the antenna will be placed at the highest point of the firehouse.
Bennett Pardee expressed his concern re: expiration of warranties and further schedule delays. Mr. Thompson asked if someone from the town should get involved to negotiate an extension of the warranties. Mr. Pardee responded that if equipment has not been received by the end of 2020, warranty extension should be looked into.
5. Facilities Planning: Shaun Donnelly, Director of Facilities
Shaun Donnelly reviewed current facility issues including air conditioning issues at Town Hall and a boiler valve at the Community Center. Additional facility issues at Town Hall and Old Town House were reviewed.
First Selectwoman Pemberton noted ongoing temperature control issues at the Community Center. Mrs. O’Donnell stated that the repairs need to get onto the capital plan. Mrs. Pemberton noted the need to determine what is urgent vs. items that can wait until the next fiscal year.
The capital plan was reviewed item by item. The school capital plan includes lockers and boiler. The Long-Range Planning Committee, chaired by Wes Higgins, will be meeting in September and the capital plan should be complete by November. Mr. Thompson confirmed that Mr. Higgins is developing models to aid in preparing the capital plan and financing options.
P. O’Donnell asked if the Lonetown Marsh boardwalk repair is being considered. J. Pemberton responded that it is not deemed a capital item. Mr. Donnelly reported on a new scheduling and finance tracking software called UpKeep. The software is expected assist in streamlining the maintenance process and costs.
6. STEAP Grant Application: Streetscape in Georgetown, Phase II
First Selectwoman Pemberton reported that the Georgetown Streetscape project is not qualified for this grant and other grants are being investigated. The current estimate is $650,000 for the sidewalk and retaining wall. Kate Perry and Ralph Bosch spoke on behalf of Georgetown Village Restoration Inc. Mr. Bosch encouraged residents to view Georgetown as the Redding downtown area and to make an investment in the streetscape. The history and character of Georgetown was discussed and efforts to include the history and historic character will be made in educating and encouraging residents to support this initiative.
7. Storm Isaias: Eversource response and recovery
Julia Pemberton commended Steve Schnell and Doug Hartline for their guidance during the recent storm. She and Mr. Schnell will be providing testimony in the PURA investigation. The biggest failure noted was that make safe crews were not sent in a timely manner.
Mr. Schnell and Mrs. Pemberton reviewed the sequence of events and issues encountered during the post-storm period. Mr. Thompson commended Mr. Schnell, Mr. Hanson and the highway department. Mrs. Pemberton thanked residents for their patience and for residents who checked on their neighbors.
The damage from this storm surpasses that of Hurricane Sandy. Debris is scheduled to be picked up. Frontier and other cable companies will be requested to complete their work by cleaning up leftover wire. Mrs. O’Donnell noted her thanks to the town employees for taking care of town residents.
–Station Road Bridge
J. Pemberton reported that the project is scheduled to take place the week of 9/8-9/15. The issue in calculating the load of the bridge deck caused the delay. The project will be completed in 4 weeks.
–Retirement: Sara Ewud
Sarah Ewud retired after 17 years at the Community Center. A drive-by farewell took place.
–Conservation Commission Town of Redding Controlled Bow Hunt
Alice Smith provided details regarding the approved bow hunt to take place Sept. 15-Jan. 31.
8. Public Comment
Nancy Pelz-Paget asked how the funds for the Georgetown Streetscape will be provided if the grant wasn’t approved. J. Pemberton stated that the cost discussed was an estimate and not allocated funds. Additional information is required in order to apply for grants or to present as a future capital item.
9. Board Comment
Mr. Thompson motioned and Mrs. O’Donnell seconded the motion to add Executive Session to the Agenda.
Mrs. O’Donnell motioned and Mr. Thompson seconded the motion to go into Executive Session at 9:59 p.m.
The Board came out of Executive Session at 10:25 p.m.
Mr. Thompson motioned and Mrs. O’Donnell seconded the motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:26 p.m.
Kristi C. Reilly