Happy Spring everybody! There’s nothing more I look forward to in any given year than to be able to get outside more on regular basis and enjoy the warmer weather. Here’s what’s going on in Town:
The budget process continues. Department heads are presenting to the Board of Finance. The Board of Selectmen approved an initial budget proposal at an increase of 3.90%, about $680,000. After further review, we are at a 3.5% increase and continue to look at ways to reduce the overall increase. Major drivers behind the increase are general wage increases and rising costs for goods and services due to inflation. The following departments account for a majority of the current increase:
DPW: increase of $91,129 due to two large union step increases in their contract, underfunded snow overtime, and an additional part-time manager to assist our Director in day-to-day operations.
Building Department: increase of $82,775 due to moving the part-time Fire Marshal position into this department and keeping a full-time assistant Building Official.
IT: increase of $61,000 due to increased costs for services and contracts.
Police: increase of $230,987 due to two years of general wage increases being added from the absence of a contract and underfunded overtime.
Fire: Increase of $54,000 due to three years of general wage increases being added to this year’s budget after contract settlement this past year.
Public Utilities: Increase of $145,000 which includes the cost of fire hydrants, street lighting, and trash collection.
On Saturday, April 29, join the Town for a town wide clean-up day. Our Environmental and Sustainability Task Force is hard at work organizing this event along with Selectman Mel Chafetz and his wife Beth. Sign-up on our Town webpage in the volunteer section. Thank you to the entire group for putting this together. Also, join our Trees for Suffield group as they will be planting trees in the center of Town on the same day.
I have signed a tentative agreement with our Police Union. The deal offers a great financial savings for the Town while also addressing numerous requests by the Police Union.
We are in the interviewing process for the new Fire Chief. We’ve received eight resumes and hope to have a new Chief towards the end of April to beginning of May.
Our Town Engineer has resigned for an opportunity with the State, and we are currently in the process of looking for a new Town Engineer. However, I am also looking at the option of contracting this work like many of our neighboring towns do. Thanks, Karen Isherwood, for all of your hard work.
We continue to look for a Youth Services Director and Economic Specialist.
I’d like to thank the Suffield Volunteer Ambulance Association for inviting and having me at their annual awards dinner. Always great whenever I get an opportunity to spend time with any of our First Responders.
Don’t forget to check out our great events and camps provided by our community services and library.
Suffield Summer Fair planning is currently happening. We hope to have additions that include more rides/games, more vendors/food, alcohol vendors, bingo, and a large 50/50 raffle. If you are interested in volunteering for a day or the weekend, please sign up on the “Volunteer” section of the Town website.
Enjoy the warm weather and as always, my door is always open.