REDDING BOARD OF SELECTMEN
May 16, 2016
Present: Pemberton, Karvelis
Also present: five members of the public, representatives of the Redding Pilot & News Times, and the videographers
The First Selectman called the meeting to order at 7:32 pm
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move that the minutes of the April 18, 2016 meeting be approved as submitted. Karvelis, Pemberton. Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION OF PROPOSED REDUCTIONS IN STATE AID TO MUNICIPALITIES
Mrs. Pemberton noted that the State finalized the FY 16-17 budget and the reduction in revenue to Redding is about $230,000 (Education Cost Sharing and Municipal Aid). She noted that the Selectmen’s budget has been reviewed for ways to find a surplus of about $100,000. Specific reductions are not needed at this time, but a list of potential reductions has been compiled that would result in an operating end of year unexpended balance or surplus. The leasing of the Highway Department truck and Building Department vehicle will be postponed a year. Other options include reductions in cemetery improvements, part-time summer help for Highway Department, additional part-time position for Facility Management, maintenance on Old Town House, Library funding, and a 1% general reduction in non-contractual expenses for the Police, Park & Recreation, and Highway Departments
Mrs. Pemberton opened the discussion to the public.
John Board, Umpawaug Road: Mr. Board asked for clarification of the reduction for the Park & Recreation Department. Mrs. Pemberton noted that the reduction is to be from non-contractual expenses and would amount to about $3,500.
Peggy O’Donnell, Chestnut Woods Road: Mrs. O’Donnell noted that the reductions would impact the mill rate in the following year, FY 17-18. She applauded the Board of Selectmen for working on trying to reduce expenses.
Mrs. Pemberton noted that this was a work in progress; no decisions are being made at this time.
DISCUSSION OF FIRE/EMS RECRUITMENT & RETENTION
The discussion of recruitment and retention of volunteers for the three fire districts followed. Glen Johnson of the West Redding Fire District was present and introduced Jason Sherwood, the training captain. The abatement program for volunteers this year was about $56,000, with 69 qualified members. The discussion included creative ways to create incentives. Options include participation in the Town’s health insurance program, with the participant paying the full cost. Other options include membership at Topstone Beach & pass to Recycling Center. Mr. Johnson that Mr. Sherwood is a Danbury resident, thus cannot take advantage of the current program. He added that the Town of Trumbull treats out-of-towners the same as residents and issues a check to those participants. Mr. Johnson stressed the importance of providing some benefit for the out-of-towners, and this could be capped. He stated it is very important for each of the fire districts to attract and retain volunteers. These discussions will continue.
DISCUSSION OF GOODSELL HILL ROAD TRAFFIC FLOW
Mrs. Pemberton reported that initially she had a few calls regarding the enforcement of the change and the police responded to that need. There have been no recent complaints. She suggested a letter be sent to the neighbors asking for their input on the change.
1. Utilities Task Force: Mr. Karvelis reported the committee will meet on May 19, 2016 to finalize their reports on the work they did on availability of natural gas and fiber optics. The committee is considering expanding their work to include energy efficiencies and will request an extension of time and possibly an expanded membership. The reports will be presented at the June or July meetings.
2. Stepney Bridge update: The schedule for work is 120 days, and the contract contains penalties for going beyond the 120 days, with a substantial increase if work goes beyond the start of school on August 31, 2016. A telephone pole is being relocated and that has required some tree work to be completed before work on the bridge can begin.
3. Route 53 Bridge project: Preliminary work is being done now, and the road will be closed when school is out of session, on or about June 9, 2016.
4. RCC Fields and STEAP Grant: The grant funding is still in place. Barry Blades has retired and the work on this project is moving forward with Milone & MacBroom. Mrs. Pemberton reported that she and a Milone & MacBroom landscape architect walked the fields last week to review the drainage work that is needed. Additional testing and examination is required, and a proposal will be developed to solve the drainage issues on the fields, with RCC #1 & #2 as priorities.
Mr. Karvelis noted that some of the trees on the Town Green are being lost through storms or disease. These trees have provided shade, especially for the Concerts-on-the-Green. Mrs. Pemberton reported that a replacement tree is planned for the tree that was damaged in storms last winter. There is also a concern for Ash trees in general, with many experiencing disease and becoming unsafe. The Tree Warden is looking into this further and will provide some recommendations.
Redding will celebrate the Sestercentennial (250) anniversary in 2017. A volunteer committee is being formed to plan for a celebration. Ideas include doing this with the July fourth celebration with the Historical Society. Mrs. Pemberton reported that the Congressman Himes, Senator Murphy and Senator Blumenthal are have submitted a letter requesting a Navy ship be named after the Town of Redding. A meeting in June will be scheduled to move forward on the all-volunteer effort.
Mrs. Pemberton noted that June 4 & 5 are Trail Days in Redding.
The Memorial Day parade is Saturday, May 28, 2016, starting at 12 noon.
Jeanne Wendschuh, Deer Spring Rd: Mrs. Wendschuh asked Mr. Karvelis if the Utility Task Force included the area of Redding on “the other side of the tracks” in their discussions. Mr. Karvelis stated that the discussions were general and at what currently exists. Frontier made a presentation, but the committee is also exploring wireless options. The State has encouraged wireless service, but has not provided any funding.
This was cancelled.
Motion: Move to adjourn the meeting. Karvelis, Pemberton. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 8:28 pm.
Submitted by Mary Maday, Recording Secretary