First Selectman’s Update

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Melissa Mack

Melissa Mack

Recent happenings in the Town of Suffield mirror February’s blizzard-like conditions at times; there is much to share with residents after a flurry of activity! We unveiled our newly redesigned website ( in an initiative to provide a more user friendly and informative experience with streamlined and consistent content as a key feature. The website makeover builds on our efforts to date including video streaming and more comprehensive meeting minutes to improve communications and fulfill my campaign promise of greater transparency and stronger governance. We encourage feedback regarding the website in order that ongoing enhancements can be made to ensure this tool is the engaging communications vehicle envisioned. Contact Kim Worthington ( or Chris Riccitelli ( with suggestions and concerns. While taking a look at the new website, check out the 2015-16 Annual Report which provides the Town’s historical record for the year.

Whatever the State of Connecticut budget delivers given the dismal forecast, my goal is for Suffield to successfully weather the storm. To that end, I have been working diligently with Finance Director Deb Cerrato and department heads to review the last five years of expenditures from every account, in every Town department. The Governor’s proposal threatens a hit of just over $1,000,000 in aid to Suffield (Town and Board of Education combined) versus FY 16/17. As a result, the Board of Selectmen is recommending to the Board of Finance a zero percent increase over last year’s Town operating budget.

As we look forward to the spring thaw, we note a few grants and undertakings that will help pave the way to warmer days. The Town was recently awarded a $10,000 Bright Idea Grant through Energize Connecticut’s Clear Energy Communities program. The grant was based on town wide participation in energy efficiency programs, namely the lightbulb exchange conducted at Suffield on the Green and at the polls on Election Day. We are pursuing opportunities to best apply this award. Local Capital Improvement Project funding totaling $91,360, based on an application submitted by the Town Engineer for road maintenance, is also forthcoming. The Local Transportation Improvement Project Multi-Use Trail grant, awarded for sidewalks connecting the schools on Mountain Road, while proceeding, will be delayed until spring 2018 due to the State’s lengthy review process.

In light of recent alcohol-related driving incidents, the Boards of Selectmen and Finance approved the Police Department to seek a Department of Transportation DWI Enforcement Grant. The grant would support additional enforcement via checkpoints during peak periods. In keeping not only our roads safe, but our children healthy, the Suffield Lions are partnering with the Emergency Aid Association to conduct “KidSight USA” vision screening in Suffield Schools. We are grateful for all of the grants and volunteers who help grow our community.

Got Tomatoes? I share delicious news regarding Four Season Farm LLC plans to develop Suffield’s first hydroponic farm. The 10-acre farm (previously the Baker Farm on Poole Road) incorporates an eco-friendly process, whereby water is recycled, soil is undisturbed, CO2 is consumed, and renewable approaches are used in cultivation. Over the next two years, the farm will result in 40 new jobs. In a press release, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced, “Farming in the 21st century can be very different from what we know, and Four Season Farm can lead the way with this innovative, technologically advanced operation.” He added, “We’re happy to have them establish their operations in our state and look forward to seeing them grow.” In addition to ensuring Caprese salads all year long, the innovative farm secures tax revenues for Suffield and not only preserves but utilizes our vital farm land.

Just another reminder, we are seeking energetic candidates to serve on the Suffield 350th Anniversary Committee. Letters of interest and ideas for celebratory activities may be forwarded to Kris Lambert at Please keep in mind this will involve a substantial time commitment. Keep your heads up, Suffield – just a month or two left of winter and budget season!

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