Board of Selectmen Meeting
Tuesday, May 17, 2021
7:30 p.m. via Zoom
Present: Julia Pemberton, First Selectwoman; Peg O’Donnell, Selectwoman; Michael Thompson, Selectman; members of the public.
1. Call to order
First Selectwoman Pemberton called the meeting to order at 7:31 p.m.
2. Approval of Minutes
Mrs. O’Donnell motioned and Mr. Thompson seconded the motion to approve the Minutes of 4/5/21 and 4/14/21. The motion passed unanimously.
3. Discussion & Possible Action: Request from Park & Rec. to approve line-item transfer within Park & Rec. budget to fund repairs of tennis courts at the Community Center
Rob Blick was present for Park & Rec. Mr. Blick reported on the serious cracks in the tennis courts and the proposal to repair them so they are not a problem next year. Images of the cracks were screen shared. First Selectwoman Pemberton suggested more frequent inspections due to the timing of the request to transfer funds after the budget has been approved. Mr. Blick stated that he will budget on a worst-case scenario going forward.
Mr. Thompson asked if the courts are being used more. Mr. Blick reported an increase in use during the pandemic especially after pickleball ended. He noted that the number of players has not been documented.
The Park & Rec. Commission approved the request to transfer $16,000 from the program contract services line to the tennis contract services line. The program contract services line has a surplus of funds. Mr. Blick added that the lifespan of tennis courts is 40-50 years.
Mrs. O’Donnell motioned and Mr. Thompson seconded the motion to approve and send to the Board of Finance the line-item transfer. The motion passed unanimously.
4. Discussion and Possible Action: Return to in-person meetings
First Selectwoman Pemberton noted that the current Executive Order has been extended until July 20, 2021. Additional information is pending re: possible hybrid meeting requirement. In anticipation of such a requirement, estimates are being solicited for properly equipping the Town Hall Hearing Room for hybrid meetings. Mr. Thompson stated that Bob Moran’s guidance would be a great resource.
The next Board of Selectmen meeting will be an in-person meeting. Further information concerning a mask requirement is pending.
Mr. Thompson motioned and Mrs. O’Donnell seconded the motion to add Public Comment as Item 10. to the Agenda. The motion passed unanimously.
5. Discussion and Possible Action: Gilbert & Bennett dam evaluation and emergency action plan
First Selectwoman Pemberton has received estimates from Tighe & Bond to conduct required dam inspection and emergency action plans. Inspections are due every two years and both are overdue.
Revenue is being received from tenants and the balance of $28,700 is in a special revenue fund that will cover the costs of taking care of the property including the dam. The Board will continue discussion at the next meeting.
6. Playground: establish working group of parents to investigate play structures
First Selectwoman Pemberton proposed an ad hoc committee comprised of up to 5 people including 3 parents and Mary Lou Carlson from Park & Rec. The Planning Commission conducted a site walk to determine a possible site for the playground.
Mary Lou Carlson described the elements of the proposed playground in creating age-appropriate structures and activities. Mrs. Pemberton stressed that the project will be a parent driven process.
Mrs. O’Donnell motioned and Mr. Thompson seconded the motion to appoint Angela Caes, Laura Gibbons and Mary Lou Carlson as the first members of the ad hoc committee. The motion passed unanimously.
7. Gilbert & Bennett Church (Center) community concert June 6, 2021
First Selectwoman Pemberton provided a brief history and status of the Gilbert & Bennett Church. A community concert is proposed for June 6. Possible partnerships and community involvement was reviewed including the Georgetown Fire Dept. and the Georgetown business community. Possible scholarships were discussed. Mrs. Pemberton confirmed that there are no issues with the town as a sponsor. No permit is required and an insurance rider would be provided.
8. Employee Compensation
First Selectwoman Pemberton reported that a 2 ½% increase in employee pay was included in the budget. An additional stipend of $15,000 was discussed for Health Officer Doug Hartline for the additional work required due to COVID-19. Comparable salaries in neighboring towns were reviewed and were found to be considerably higher than Mr. Hartline’s current salary.
The Board will take action at the next meeting.
a. Email vendor going out of business as of June 1. Steve Gniadek investigated alternatives and MS365 platform we are migrating to.
b. Domain change from Townofreddingct.org to Reddingct.gov will occur this summer.
c. Memorial Day service at the Redding Center Green 12:00 sharp. Residents will be encouraged to attend the event this year.
d. PURA ruling on utility performance failures during Storm Isaias finds Eversource deficient and imposes fines reducing allowable profits. First Selectwoman Pemberton will request consideration of Ground Pine Sanctuary as a designated off-leash area for dogs as an alternative to Topstone Park. The Conservation Commission will be requested to add discussion to their agenda.
10. Public Comment
Nancy Pelz-Paget corrected the record re: postcard noting that the postcard is not from the Selectmen.
11. Executive Session: Dispatcher Negotiations
Mrs. O’Donnell motioned and Mr. Thompson seconded the motion to go into Executive Session at 8:48 p.m. The motion passed unanimously.
The Board came out of Executive Session at 9:10 p.m. No action was taken.
Mrs. O’Donnell motioned and Mr. Thompson seconded the motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:11 p.m. The motion passed unanimously.
Kristi C. Reilly