Board of Selectmen Special Meeting
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Present: Julia Pemberton, First Selectwoman; Peg O’Donnell, Selectwoman; Michael Thompson, Selectman.
Also present: Steve Gniadek, Finance Director; Jeff Hanson, Director of Public Works; Shaun Donnelly, Building Department; Members of town boards and commissions; residents.
1. Call to order
The meeting was called to order at 6:35 p.m.
2. Public comment
3. Discussion and possible action:
-Long range capital plan and Board of selectmen budget FY 2021-22
First Selectwoman Pemberton screen shared the Highway Department budget. Mr. Hanson reviewed highlighted line items that are expense changes. The mechanics bay slab replacement was reviewed in detail. A pit is currently being used however it does not close and requires a vehicle to park over it. The quote is for the actual work and will not require engineering to oversee the project. Mr. Gniadek questioned if the estimate of $30,000 is exact and suggested considering the project for the operating budget. Mrs. O’Donnell noted that while she understands taking it off the capital list, the project needs to be paid for regardless of which budget it is assigned to. Dr. Yonkers stated that she prefers that it not be on the operating list this year.
Details were provided regarding the reconfiguration of the bathroom, breakroom, and kitchen. Engineering for a possible wash bay for the Highway Department was discussed. State mandates require indoor washing of vehicles due to environmental concerns. Mr. Hanson stated that there has been discussion regarding a regional wash bay. He also noted that the bay could also save money from the Police Department budget for washing. First Selectwoman Pemberton noted that a regional wash bay has been discussed at Councils of Governments but a resolution has not been found. Mrs. Pemberton suggested an RFP for engineering services and Mr. Hanson will call the town of Newtown to get information on the status of their wash bay. Mr. Hanson stated that there are many towns without a wash bay adding that there are fines if “caught” due to the type of material being washed off. Penalty provisions will be investigated. Mrs. Pemberton called for a regional solution and stated it would be ideal to team up with Wilton and Weston. Mrs. O’Donnell agreed that regionalization should be pursued. Mr. Thompson questioned if the regulation is a state statute or a DEEP regulation. Mr. Hanson confirmed an MS4 permit is required from CT DOT.
Mr. Thompson requested a priority list for the items being discussed. Mr. Hanson stated that the mechanic slab replacement is the priority followed by the sweeper repair, wash bay and bathroom/breakroom reconfiguration. Additional items that were deferred from last year are the liftgate truck and mechanics service truck.
Mr. Hanson reported that planned roadwork will commence April/May at the earliest. The roads will be reassessed after the winter. The salt supply is in good shape. First Selectwoman Pemberton reported on the additional ground clearing and plowing that the Highway Dept. has assumed.
Shaun Donnelly reviewed the Lonetown Farmhouse Refurb. $27,000 will be included in the budget this year and the remaining $38,750 will go in the FY ’22 budget. The Town Hall items were discussed. Per Mr. Donnelly, the meeting room window is a priority. Mrs. Pemberton reviewed the Town Hall history and status as a National Registered Historic House.
The Community Center exterior is a priority; however, the projected budget amount is lower since partial work is being done by the Building Department. Body and vehicle cameras plus service for the Police Department will include $30,000 this year and the remaining $50,000 for FY ’22.
First Selectwoman Pemberton noted a salary disparity that when corrected will add $2,400 to the budget. A combined facilities/operations position salary will be discussed at the end of the fiscal year. The Board also agreed that it would review at mid-year the possibility of converting the recently created part-time position at the Heritage Center to a full-time position.
Mr. Gniadek stated that contingency funds need to be utilized prior to the end of the fiscal year and suggested discussing at the March BOF meeting to maximize time. Mrs. O’Donnell confirmed that funds for school landscaping is not included in the operating budget. LOCIP funds cannot be used for repairs.
Mr. Thompson motioned and Mrs. O’Donnell seconded the motion to send the budget to the Board of Finance for discussion at the Public Hearing. The motion passed unanimously.
4. Public comment
Board of Finance Chair Dr. Yonkers suggested getting firm estimates prior to presenting to the Board of Finance.
A resident of Drummer Lane questioned if school capital items are on included on this budget. First Selectwoman Pemberton stated that once projects are approved by the Board of Education, they will be on the capital project list.
5. Other business
6. Board member comment
Mr. Thompson motioned and Mrs. O’Donnell seconded the motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:25 p.m.
Kristi C. Reilly