On Memorial Day, we rightfully acknowledge the humbling sacrifice made by our bravest Americans to ensure our freedoms. Chief among these freedoms, the right to vote. A responsibility critical to both our democracy and our standing in the world. With this in mind, I reiterate important 2020 Presidential Election voting information. Due to COVID-19 and the desire to keep voters safe, the State updated the absentee/mail-in/drop-off ballot application. A voter concerned with attending in-person voting due to the pandemic may select the COVID-19 option to excuse them from in-person voting. Traditional options to vote by absentee ballot and in-person also remain available. Please note:
• Ballots NOT available until October 2nd
• Return completed ballot as soon as possible – Official Ballot Drop Box (located at 61 Ffyler Place) recommended due to potential delays at Postal Service
Town offices remain closed to the public, with phone, email, mail and online serving as primary tools for conducting business. Appointments available if necessary. Town Hall Main Number: 860-668-3320.
With schools reopened, a number of boards/commissions asked whether in-person meetings would resume. The Board of Selectmen unanimously decided to continue virtual meetings for now and reevaluate the policy in one month. See the related Town News post at http://www.suffieldct.gov/our-town/news.
The town recently rolled-out temporary Parks and Recreation Enrichment Programming during the day to address community need due to the current school hybrid model. This fee-based service intends to help get parents back to work while supporting our schools. Financial aid is available via Suffield Community Aid, COVID-19 Fund and Youth Services grant funding.
In September, the Town announced positive results from its $10.5 million bond sale yielding a 1.59% competitive interest rate and a bond premium of $848,000 on the strength of solid reviews from S&P Global Ratings. The bond finances the Town Hall project, fire apparatus, Remington Street Bridge, street lights and road improvements. S&P’s rating for Suffield held steady at AA+, one notch away from the most coveted AAA rating. S&P referenced Suffield’s “strong management,” while considering the “tax base very diverse,” and proximity to Springfield, Hartford and Bradley International Airport as factors influencing the high credit rating. Also noted, the Town’s “very strong economy” and “strong budgetary flexibility”.
Recognizing the opportunity for infrastructure investment given capacity from completion of debt service on the 20-year high school bond, the Town and Schools collaborated to issue an RFP for a Town-wide Facilities Plan. Goals include:
• Assess current use and space needs for all buildings
• Establish priorities, schedule, and budget for replacement/improvement
• Create framework for Town’s capital plan moving forward
• Help forecast future bond issuances to achieve level debt service for taxpayers
We continue to work toward greater inclusivity in Suffield. In partnership with the Schools, I will participate along with other Town employees in the Superintendent’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. This council ensures that we focus on our schools first, pool resources and support meaningful change. Additionally, a variety of book club offerings and resources launched to facilitate community-wide discussion.
One additional committee I’ve joined, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Connecticut Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management to Pursue Waste Reduction Strategies. The member towns will pursue more favorable waste management options including source reduction, recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion and other conversion technologies. Suffield’s waste collection and burn fees exceed $1M annually.
To evaluate and address ongoing traffic and pedestrian public safety issues town-wide, the Board of Selectmen looks to create a Pedestrian and Traffic Safety and Infrastructure Committee. Plans include hiring a consultant to work with Town employees and residents to formulate next steps.
Lastly, let’s keep the virus at bay so our little goblins can enjoy Halloween! Stay tuned for safe options!