The July 9, 2014 Town Meeting was called to order at 7:35 pm in the Redding Community Center.
There were 30 people present.
Election of Moderator:
Richard Emerson was nominated by Leon Karvelis to be the Moderator for the meeting. This nomination was seconded by William Alvarez and unanimously approved by those present.
Mr. Emerson presided over the remainder of the meeting. He called on Mrs. Grande, Redding’s Town Clerk, to read the Warning of the Meeting.
NOTICE OF SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
The Legal Voters in the Town of Redding, Connecticut, and those entitled to vote therein are hereby warned and notified to meet at the Special Town Meeting to be held at the Redding Community Center, Redding, Connecticut on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 7:30 P.M., for the following purpose:
To approve the expenditure of up to $7,053,000 to be funded through short term borrowing pending long term financing as recommended by the Board of Finance for the following capital expenditures:
1. Road Reconstruction, 4-year plan for a total of $6,753,000
2. Communications Tower (Police Department), $300,000
The meeting is for discussion only. On the initiative of the Board of Selectmen the vote has been adjourned to a machine vote on July 22, 2014 at the Redding Community Center between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
To do any and all things legal and necessary to accomplish the above named purpose and take any other action that may legally and properly come before the meeting.
DATED at Redding, Connecticut this 2nd day of July, 2014.
BOARD OF SELECTMEN
Julia Pemberton, First Selectman
Leon Karvelis, Selectman
Michael Thompson, Selectman
Moderator Emerson asked for a motion to accept the Warning of the Special Town Meeting. That motion was made by Mr. Alvarez and seconded by David Pattee. The motion was unanimously approved.
Mr. Emerson noted that he had received notification certifying publication of the Notice of Special Town Meeting and it would be filed with the proceedings of the meeting.
Mr. Emerson noted that since the Board of Selectman had moved the vote on the funding requests to a referendum on July 22, 2014, the intent of the meeting was to provide information and answer questions. He opened the meeting to First Selectman Pemberton.
First Selectman Pemberton provided information on the funding request for the 4-year plan for highway reconstruction. This work will is a continuation of roadway reconstruction began about 10 years ago. This 4-year plan will include approximately 20 miles of roadway, roughly 5 miles/year.
The funding request for a new communication tower at the Police Department is the result of the condition of the current tower. During the annual inspection, the tower condition was reassessed and found to be structurally inadequate to support the current communication load. If the current tower fails or is damaged in some way, communication for police, fire & ems would be compromised. The proposal, if approved, would require review by the Planning Commission and Zoning Commission. In addition, since the site is within a historic district, the Connecticut Historic Commission would also be involved.
Mrs. Pemberton opened the meeting to questions from the audience.
Gene Connolly, Meeker Hill: Mr. Connolly asked how the proposal was determined to be a good value for the community. Mrs. Pemberton stated that the project would go through the bid process and Northeastern Communication would manage the project. The Board of Selectmen approved moving the project forward based on the assessment of the condition of the current tower and the risk involved in the loss of public safety communication.
Eric Fine, Northeastern Communications, provided information regarding the proposed tower height, size of the base, proposed location of the tower and type of structure. The primary issues in planning for the tower were appearance, cost and ability to get on the site and work within the footprint. A 120 foot monopole type rather than a lattice type pole is being recommended. He also explained the structural difference between a public safety communication tower and a cellular tower.
William Alvarez, Dayton Road: Mr. Alvarez asked if the proposed tower would be sufficient for the town. Mr. Fine stated that the proposed tower would meet the town’s needs for the next 30 years.
Raymond d’Angelo, Cross Highway: Mr. d’Angelo spoke on behalf of the Redding Preservation Society, and asked about the review process by town agencies. Mrs. Pemberton responded that the Planning Commission would review the proposal and would likely ask for a balloon float at the 120’ height. In addition, the Zoning Commission and Connecticut Historic Preservation Society would be involved in the review process. Mr. d’Angelo asked about alternate towers, beyond the monopole and lattice type design. Mr. Fine stated that monopole design is the more stream lined structure more suitable for municipal use. The alternative is a tower that could look like a pine tree, but this would require a larger structure, larger footprint, and greater cost. Mr. d’Angelo asked what would be done if the funding request was not approved. Mrs. Pemberton responded that another community discussion would be needed to determine specifically why the proposal was defeated. She added that each of the items for the referendum will be voted on separately.
Alex Gray: Mr. Gray suggested the police communications link to the tower at the Highway Department. Mr. Fine stated that the Highway Department site has a cellular tower, which is not compatible with a commination tower. Mr. Gray stated that he believes use of the Highway Department tower would be cheaper and asked that it be investigated further. Chief Fuchs added that while the tower at the Highway Department is a tall tower, the height above sea level is lower than the existing Police Department tower, and in order to communicate with that tower, there would still be a need for a new tower at the Police Department.
Barbara Rhymaun, Gallows Hill Extension: Mrs. Rhymaun questioned the process of making capital request outside of the regular budget process. Mrs. Pemberton commented that the concern had been heard loud and clear, and planning is now in place for all capital requests to move forward along with the operating budget. She anticipates that the referendum approving the operating budget will also include requests for capital items.
There were no further comments or questions.
Motion: move that the Special Town Meeting be adjourned. Thompson, Karvelis. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at 8:14 pm.
Mary Maday, Recording Secretary