Board of Selectmen Meeting
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Present: Julia Pemberton, First Selectwoman; Peg O’Donnell, Selectwoman; Michael Thompson, Selectman.
Also present: Counsel Steve Stafstrom; members of town boards and commissions; residents.
1. Call to order
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m.
- Approval of Minutes
Mr. Thompson motioned and Mrs. O’Donnell seconded the motion to approve the Minutes of the 1/16/21 meeting.
- Public comment
- Girl Scout Bronze Award Recognition
First Selectwoman Pemberton read a proclamation commending Hannah Almonte, Juliana Ericson, Clara Mehner and Bella Topham for their achievement of earning the Bronze Award by the Girl Scouts of America.
- Discussion and possible action: FY 2021-2022 Town Budget & Long-Range Capital Plan
First Selectwoman Pemberton displayed the Selectmen’s budget for review. Capital projects were not included in the budget and a final budget will be submitted prior to the Board of Finance public hearing to be held in mid-March.
Angelica Fontanez, Social Services Director, reviewed the current staffing status and request to increase the current part-time staff to full-time status at 35-36 hours. The number of people served has grown beyond seniors due to food, heating and vaccination assistance during the pandemic. Ms. Fontanez noted successful fundraising efforts and reviewed the ongoing responsibilities requiring time and logistical knowledge such as grant applications.
Mrs. Pemberton confirmed that the program lost money prior to the arrival of Ms. Fontanez. Mr. Thompson requested clarification as to the number of hours originally budgeted for the position. The position was filled as part time with the potential of growth to full time. Support for the Heritage Senior Center was noted by a member of the public.
The Park & Recreation budget was displayed and reviewed. First Selectwoman Pemberton noted that the seasonal and part-time budget line is affected by changes to the minimum wage. A discussion ensued comparing expense and revenue projections. The Board agreed to explore the possibility of offsetting departmental overhead in the future through increased service fees. Gaps in programs have been acknowledged and will be addressed by the Park & Recreation Commission.
The Town Clerk and Land Use budgets were displayed and reviewed. Mrs. Pemberton discussed consolidation of the Planning and Conservation budgets. Additional funds for the planning consultant budget line will be added due to upcoming need to oversee the technical aspects for grants re: Gilbert & Bennett. Glenn Chalder is currently consulting on the finalization of the mapping as the last element of the Town Plan of Conservation & Development.
A prioritized list of capital expenditure items and non-capital maintenance projects from Shaun Donnelly was reviewed. The priority projects cost is approximately $247,000 and the capital non-recurring balance is approximately $800,000. Mrs. Pemberton noted that there are other funding sources than borrowing such as the contingency fund. Mrs. O’Donnell questioned if the contingency fund for the current year can be utilized to help with the non-capital maintenance projects.
A meeting will be scheduled to continue discussion on the budget.
- Discussion and possible action: NRVT Timber & Stone contract and payment bond
Counsel Steve Stafstrom reviewed the authorization of Julia Pemberton to execute the Timber & Stone contract subject to legal signoff. He noted that Timber & Stone was unwilling to meet the purchase of a performance and a payment bond. Mr. Stafstrom stated that both bonds should be required and moving forward without them puts the town at risk.
Stuart Green clarified that the bonds were not anticipated by Timber & Stone since prior project work did not require a bond. Mr. Green noted a construction budget surplus of $4,253 and Stantec surplus of $1,850. The total cost for the bond is $9,700.
Mr. Stafstrom stated that a signed lease has not been received back from DOT which prevents commencement of work on the project. Mr. Green noted receipt of an email stating that duplicate signed originals had not been received. Mrs. Pemberton stated that duplicate signed originals were sent return receipt requested due to ongoing administrative paperwork errors.
Mr. Green will contact Friends of the Norwalk River Valley Trail re: sharing the cost of the bond. He also confirmed the total project cost as $375,000.
- Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill:
-Status of foreclosure and transfer of title to the Town of Redding
-Set a date for public forum
First Selectwoman Pemberton reported that as of today, the town owns Gilbert & Bennett. The title transfers to the town today and the first step is to hire an environmental consultant to perform an environmental site assessment. The assessment will be up to a two-year process. The town has access to all buildings and a tenant with a 10-year lease.
Mrs. Pemberton and Mr. Thompson noted their appreciation of Mr. Stafstrom, Mr. LaVelle and Mr. Cohen for their efforts on behalf of the town and for the future possibilities for Gilbert & Bennett.
A public forum will be held on Thursday, 3/25/21.
- Review process for Special Town Meeting set for Thursday, February 18, 2021 to vote on the OPEB Trust Ordinance and amendment to the Open Space Ordinance
First Selectwoman Pemberton reviewed Executive Order 9H allowing for virtual town meetings. The Special Town Meeting scheduled for 2/18 will be held via ZOOM and a test poll will be conducted prior to the meeting. Registrars will check in voters and confirm IDs. Confirmation of Judge Emerson as the moderator is pending. A poll will be conducted if the voice vote is not confirmed at the meeting.
- COVID-19 update
Per Mrs. Pemberton, 11% of those eligible in the State for the COVID-19 vaccination were vaccinated as of 2/11/21, however the data is a week behind so the number is likely substantially higher. The Redding Bethel Clinic will continue to vaccinate residents and First Selectwoman Pemberton noted her appreciation for both Doug Hartline and Kim Becker.
-Appointment of Phyllis Rhodes as an alternate member of the Planning Commission (term 02/16/21-02/01/25)
-Re-appointment of Chuck Cilo as an alternate member of the Planning Commission (term 02/01/21-02/01/25)
-Re-appointments of Amy Atamian (Zoning) and David Pattee (Conservation) to Water Pollution Control Commission (terms 03/01/21-02/28/25)
Mrs. O’Donnell motioned and Mr. Thompson seconded the motion to appoint Phyllis Rhodes and reappoint Chuck Cilo, Amy Atamian and David Pattee to the Planning Commission and Water Pollution Control Commission.
- Executive Session:
-Negotiations: Dispatchers contract
-Pending Litigation: Burton, Nancy v. Zoning Commission of the Town of Redding, et al
Mrs. O’Donnell motioned and Mr. Thompson seconded the motion to go into Executive Session at 9:08 p.m. along with Counsel Steve Stafstrom.
The Board came out of Executive Session at 9:35 p.m. No action or votes were taken.
- Public Comment
- Board member comment
Mrs. O’Donnell confirmed that a meeting will be scheduled to continue discussion re: budget. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, 2/23/21 at 6:30 p.m.
- Other business
Mrs. O’Donnell motioned and Mr. Thompson seconded the motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:38 p.m.
Kristi C. Reilly