First Selectman’s Update

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Melissa Mack

Melissa Mack

At this writing, the State budget is not resolved. The Governor threatens to veto the current Republican passed budget leaving all towns still in limbo. Earlier in September, I participated with mayors, first selectmen and leadership from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) in a press conference at the Capitol criticizing the drastic proposed municipal cuts and the failure to adopt a budget. We asked the Governor and legislators to phase in cuts and consider relief from the 1,300 unfunded state mandates. The cuts would require an enormous increase in property taxes, raiding fund balances to the detriment of our bond rating and/or requiring severe decreases in municipal services. With no easy solution in sight, I have taken the following actions to prepare for the worst case scenario:

Moratorium on nonessential capital expenditures

Restructuring of Town’s Information Technology Department

Exploration of retirement incentives for employees with 20+ years of service

Additional reduction of 5-10% from 2017/18 department operating budgets (excluding payroll)

Prohibiting expenditure of additional funds for Bridge Street School Community Center (detailed explanation at

Gladly, not all Town news is gloom and doom. Groundbreaking is imminent for both Broad Brook Brewery and the Four Seasons Farm. The Four Seasons project includes tax abatement for farmers to be approved at Town Meeting. Aesthetic improvements to Ffyler Place are underway with road paving completed and demolition of the two dilapidated outbuildings on the immediate docket. Town Hall renovations are currently under review by the Permanent Building Commission with the Boards of Selectmen, Finance and Town Meeting to follow. The Fire Department is now fully staffed with the addition of two new full-time firefighters and the police are on a similar path with conditional offers out to three new certified police officers.

The Lake Road sand pit and mining efforts mark a difficult time in our Town’s history as well as presenting complex issues to be sorted through and decided upon. I am hopeful that the recent change in ownership of the sand pit results in better relations with the community. BGR Materials, LLC, an affiliate of Crestview Construction & Trucking, Inc., acquired the sand pit and assumes all mining operations under permit which are set to begin this fall. Crestview cleared trees and widened the first abandoned 1,000 feet of Lake Road to address public safety concerns at no cost to the Town. The Town is in the process of obtaining legal rights to that portion of the road. As part of the agreement with Crestview, the Town will be granted Lake Road in its entirety at the end of the project, providing public access for residents whose homes did not previously have easements. A bus turnaround on Lake Road is slated as well, ending the need for children to walk down the long, dirt road to catch the school bus.

The Town recently increased use of email blasts – to join, visit the “News” section of the website, “Subscribe” tab, then select “ALL Town News.” Happy pumpkin season!

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