Board of Selectman Minutes
Monday, January 19, 2021
7:00 pm • Via Zoom
Meeting ID: 995 2245 6685
1. Call to order at 7:08 pm.
2. Approval of minutes:
Motion to approve minutes from the December 21, 2020 meeting. M. Thompson. P. O’Donnell. Unanimous.
3. Executive Session: Motion to enter into Executive Session at 7:09 pm, inviting in Town Counsel Elliott Pollack of Pullman & Comley, John Ford-Assessor, and Jen Wyss from the BOF.
a. Pending litigation: Meadow Ridge Tax Appeal
4. COVID-19 Update: J. Pemberton reported on the status of the State’s vaccination phase 1b eligibility and the vaccination pre-registration process via the Town’s website and the State of CT DPH website, the town’s current case rate and distribution of cases among age groups in Town. The Redding Health Department is organizing the vaccination clinic with volunteer training and vaccination beginning Thursday, January 21, 2021. All volunteers (volunteer vaccinators) must receive two (2) doses before the clinic can open. The target date for opening of the Redding clinic at the RCC is the third week in February. This assumes that vaccine is available.
5. Gilbert and Bennett Wire Mill:
a. Foreclosure Status: Action to strict foreclosure was made on Jan. 4, 2021, if taxes aren’t paid in full by Feb. 16, 2021 title to the Wire Mill property will transfer to the town.
b. Review Municipal Brownfield Liability Relief Program: EPA will help process us by the end of January 2021.
c. EPA issues us a Federal exemption from liability under CERCLA, we are not responsible for clean-up.
d. Tenants at G&B: Tenants have been contacted and will be required to provide information to the town’s insurance company. Discussions between the Finance Director and the Town’s auditor resulted in the recommendation that for at least the remainder of the fiscal year, revenue from the rents will be deposited into a Special Revenue Account. The town will have maintenance expenses associated with the habitable spaces that can be offset by rental income. Policy must be developed to govern the management of these funds.
e. Possible space for town employees at 1 North Main Street
6. Budget 2021-2022: Each town department was discussed with some items of internal action, to be further discussed at upcoming meetings. Each department has different needs.
Town Clerk: it was noted that some items need clarification.
Registrars: Areas requesting more money, as in past years around election times.
Park & Recreation: Expenditure status quo. Focus on maintaining fields. Intend to do summer camps.
Tax Collector: status quo.
Tax Assessor: discussion about advertising assistant assessor position. Revaluation coming up so need to put money aside for that.
Health Department: discussed contaminated wells along Rt. 107 (salt) and the town’s responsibility, going forward, to pay for them.
Town Planning: Going to need assistance on Wire Mill project.
Library: no financial increases here. Might offer in future to assist in carpentry and grounds maintenance.
Zoning: status quo.
Building: BOS will continue to go over line by line with fine tooth comb in upcoming meetings, especially for big expenses and capital items; need further discussions with Shaun Donnelly.
Police Dept.: Changes in dept.; will have further discussions with Mark O’Donnell.
Highway: Address any extra money not being spent to address dead trees and road maintenance. The department has taken on some streetscape in GT and having discussions about school ground maintenance if plausible.
Transfer Station: Benefit from our affiliation from HRRA (Housatonic Resource Recovery Authority) for guidance.
Social Services/Heritage Center: Running fewer programs this year due to Covid-19. Hiring a part-time Program Coordinator. Social Services still seeking and finding grants for heating, electric, food relief for citizens.
WPCC: BOF allocated funding for deficit. Plant built and designed to take on re-build of community at G&B Wiremill site. Discussion of cost to town. The facility is an asset that belongs to the town.
Finance Dept: Still receiving state grants, cell tower & post office rental income.
Treasurer: seen loss on investment due to low interest rates. Hanging in there. Employee
benefits: will see an increase of 5% for health insurance.
Selectman’s Budget: no real increases except for legal, at $50,000, back to around. $200,000; regular association payments. No other increases.
Georgetown Wire Mill: Further discussion.
Leased Equipment: Further discussion.
Capital Expenses & Requests: For further discussion. Facilities & Highway, mechanics slab replacement; Lonetown Marsh boardwalk replacement; Replacement of playground at Topstone for further discussion; Facilities and Town Hall, painting and step replacement; RCC Pavillion; Lonetown Farmhouse Window—replacement; Town Hall Meeting Room window replacement; Highway reconfigure break room and kitchen; PD: server/body/vehicle cameras. Other projects: Workshop space for Building/Operations in storage space at P&R, to be discussed.
Action: To schedule an additional Budget Discussion meeting on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 4:00 pm.
7. Playscape Discussion: A public petition circulated to prioritize a plan and completion of a Pre-K playscape this calendar year, 2021. There is also an online petition.
There was much discussion between Julia Pemberton and Angela Caes (spearheaded this campaign), from exploring other natural playscapes in the area to revisiting locations to creating leadership/ group who would lead the charge to create an RFP, speak with vendors, have numbers to work with. That group could be parents and town leadership. Getting the word out could be via social media, town blasts, survey, from Park & Recreation, etc. PTA could play a big role. All stakeholders, meaning everyone in town should have a voice in this process.
J. Pemberton will follow up with Park & Recreation and establish communication to ascertain where the playground will be best suited. Peg O’Donnell, Michael Thompson and Julia Pemberton thanked Angela Caes for her work and participation.
8. 69 Umpawaug Road: Owners want to donate this property to the Town in lieu of outstanding taxes due on other properties, 65 and 67 Umpawaug Road.
There was much discussion surrounding the precedence of the action. To date, our counsel does not have record of this happening. All selectmen agreed this was not their expertise and to take no action. This will be relayed back to the Tax Collector, Pat Moisio.
9. WestCog: Approval of 2020 MOA and Resolutions for the Homeland Security Grant (HSG):
This grant authorizes us to share equipment through Region 5; for example, the flashing signs we use at roadsides to alert the public. After some discussion a motion was made to grant permission to sign the document.
Motion was made to authorize signing the MOA and Resolutions for the Homeland Security Grant. Michael Thompson, Peg O’Donnell. Unanimous.
10. Update on Public Safety Project: It’s coming along. Console is installed at the PD and site walks are being scheduled at each location where wiring will go on. Bennettt Pardee from the Redding Ridge FD chimed in to ask about next steps. All sites should be approved to proceed. Meadow Ridge, JRMS and West Redding FD good to go. J. Pemberton will follow up with any missing details. There was a brief discussion about the radio warrantee. Still good for 3 more years (they negotiated 5 upfront).
11. Set a date for Special Town Meeting to consider Ordinances:
Blight Ordinance: sent to the Planning Commission. They will take the lead and make revisions and bring back to BOS.
FIRE/EMS: Abatement Ordinance is put on the BOF agenda; $2000 per year. Will go to public vote.
Leash Ordinance: Will go to a public meeting to inform in advance.
OPEB Trust Ordinance: Waiting for BOF feedback.
No action taken on Town Meeting date.
12. Public comment:
Nancy Pelz-Paget asked about grouping all the ordinances together in one meeting.
J. Pemberton responded saying that the best way to consider each fairly is to have public input and give widespread publication and understanding of what we are doing before we vote, because we are essentially passing legislation.
13. Other business: None
14. Adjourn: 11:10 pm