Board of Selectmen Special Meeting
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Present: Julia Pemberton, First Selectwoman; Peg O’Donnell, Selectwoman; Michael Thompson, Selectman.
Also present: members of town boards and commissions attended the meeting in addition to members of the public.
- Call to order
The meeting was called to order at 4:05 p.m.
- Public comment
- Reappointments to Planning Commission
Thompson motioned and Mrs. O’Donnell seconded the motion to reappoint James Bacon as an alternate to the Planning Commission. The Board unanimously approved Mr. Bacon’s reappointment and thanked him for his willingness to serve again and for his decades-long commitment to the Town.
- Discussion and possible action on the Town Budget for FY 2021-2022
Shaun Donnelly reviewed the Building Department budget and capital project list. The budget was also screen-shared on ZOOM. Line items were reviewed. Proposed maintenance items and capital expenditure items were discussed. New software will track work order requests along with history, funding, etc. Mr. Donnelly and Mr. Gniadek agreed to provide updated maintenance and capital project budget projections to the full Board for future discussion and consideration.
The debt analysis presented by W. Higgins to the Board of Finance was referenced by First Selectwoman Pemberton, noting that the analysis recommended capital projects remain at a “steady state.” Mrs. O’Donnell stated that the capital expense request is needed for schools. Mr. Thompson and Mrs. O’Donnell discussed the need for the Building and Facilities Departments to prioritize the proposed capital and maintenance requests. The Capital Budget Request form for 2021-2022 was screen-shared and reviewed.
Jeff Hanson reviewed the Highway Department, transfer station and capital project budgets. He noted that garbage and recycling costs are volatile due to the closing of the Hartford incinerator. Glass is now being separated for recycling. A review was made of expenses that were added back in from last year.
Police Chief Mark O’Donnell and Captain Marc DeLuca presented the Police Department budget. Chief O’Donnell and Captain DeLuca also discussed the “Police Accountability Act” and the possible financial costs of its implementation. The department is currently down two officers. The department is currently seeking to fill one position. Due to the draft recommendations of the “Region 9, Easton and Redding Joint Boards of Education Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force”, the possible elimination of the SRO position at Joel Barlow High School and its budgetary effect was also discussed.
The draft budget summary was screenshared. Per Steve Gniadek, the Selectmen’s budget as presented at the budget meeting is $15,430,598. If no changes were made, the budget increase for just the selectmen’s budget would be 3.43%. Mr. Gniadek noted a proposed 5% reduction in insurance cost. The current part-time social services position is being considered as a full-time position.
First Selectwoman Pemberton stated that there is an education tri-board meeting tonight.
- Public comment Stuart Green thanked the Board for adding the Lonetown Marsh boardwalk replacement to the proposed list of capital budget items.
- Other business
A special town meeting will be scheduled for a vote in February for the proposed OPEB Ordinance.
Mrs. O’Donnell motioned and Mr. Thompson seconded the motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:23 p.m.
Kristi C. Reilly