Board of Selectmen Special Meeting
Monday, July 23, 2018
6:30 p.m., Redding Community Center
Present: Julia Pemberton, First Selectman; Peg O’Donnell, Selectman; Michael Thompson, Selectman.
Also present: Wes Higgins; Treasurer; members of the public; videographer; reporters.
1. Call to Order
First Selectwoman Pemberton called the meeting to order at 6:33 p.m.
2. Approval of Minutes
On the motion of M. Thompson and the second of P. O’Donnell, the Board voted unanimously to approve the 6/29/18 Meeting Minutes.
3. IRS limitations on HSA accounts for employees who are eligible for Medicare
Julia Pemberton reported on the current restriction to contribute to an HSA if Medicare eligible. There are presently two employees that are required to incur out-of-pocket expenses and await reimbursement as a result of this restriction.
J. Pemberton will seek clarity and a possible workaround from the Town insurance rep in addition to the Town tax attorney
4. Discussion Public Act 18-49 Sec. 10 (legislation re: the SALT limitation)
Julia Pemberton stated that the CT Senate passed a bill that would effectively provide a workaround to the new limit on the federal state and local tax deduction. The legislation would establish a deduction for charitable contributions. The IRS has reportedly stated they will provide “guidance” on this matter. Potential risks, including legal fees, were discussed.
The implications of the $10,000 deductible tax cap were discussed. First Selectwoman Pemberton noted the hard impact on town residents with 1800 households who have $10,000 or more in property taxes.
5. Discussion of plastic bag ordinances
A social media poll resulted in 3-1 in favor of a ban on plastic bags. Currently Westport and Greenwich are the only towns with a plastic bag ordinance. Weston is going to a public hearing and Westport is now phasing out plastic straws.
A public forum will be scheduled after a broader poll is conducted in September.
6. Long range financial planning
Julia Pemberton noted current items including road reconstruction and building maintenance. The status of WPCC membrane replacement will be confirmed. Wes Higgins noted that he is seeking updates from BOS and BOE to determine how much bonding will be needed to fund capital for the next five years. He reviewed the “bottom up method”. J. Pemberton discussed the option of consolidating facilities and maintenance for town buildings. Mr. Higgins stated another component of the budgeting process is the rising costs of public facilities maintenance and repair.
J. Pemberton reviewed the status of the HVAC system at the Community Center and the 16 bridges that can qualify for either state of federal funding. The grant process is now underway for the Station Road Bridge.
The Long Range Financial Planning Committee will be meeting in September.
7. Bridge and Road Work: Station Road and John Read Road bridges. Road work for Summer & Fall FY 19.
The roads scheduled for reconstruction were reviewed. Meeker Hill has been resurfaced. A portion of Route 58 will be paved. Realignment of Long Ridge Road is scheduled for July-August, 2019 to accommodate the school calendar.
8. Other business
Jim Miller reviewed a letter submitted to the Board regarding the status of Layne Christensen claim of liability. Mr. Miller audited and adjusted the amount to $42,964 and further action will be determined after Town Counsel and outside attorney for Layne Christensen are contacted.
Peg O’Donnell requested clarification concerning the reporting procedure re: trees. J. Pemberton stated that the online comment form on the town site with accompanying photo is preferred. In addition, Highway Superintendent Jeff Hanson is now a certified tree warden. Due to the diseased ash trees, more funds will need to be budgeted for tree removal.
9. Public comment
Jim Miller noted his concern regarding election security. He requested contact with the Secretary of State to confirm that the voting information is secure and can’t be infiltrated.
Jenifer Wyss requested permission to sell bags at the Town Hall to benefit Redding Neighbors & Newcomers.
10. Board member comment
On the motion of M. Thompson and the second of P. O’Donnell, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 7:43 p.m.
Kristi C. Reilly