Too busy to look up what’s going on in town? Here’s a recap right at your fingertips. This article covers selected information from minutes of various Town Boards and Commissions. If you want more detail, it can be found by going to suffieldct.gov, Agendas, Meetings and Recordings.
American Rescue Plan Commission – Funding for the Stony Brook Park Interceptor Project was clarified. The amount was included in the overall amount of $200,000 allocation to the Organizational Fund. The allocation amount of $1M was reduced to $540,000, the actual cost.
A motion was made and passed to allocate $250,000 to maintain Cervione and Sullivan Fields. Another motion was made and approved to allocate the remaining funds $300,162 to Bridge Street Park.
Board of Education – The meeting included recognition of many individuals and projects, including a grant of $10,425 to Mark Beigel for his program BiotechnologyGenetic/DNA Editing.
The SHS Agriscience Field Trip Request for April 2024 to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and London was discussed and approved.
The Board approved the hiring of Eric Remington as the new Business Manager for the district. He will replace Bill Hoff who will retire in August.
Board of Finance – The Board was asked to pay special attention to the Board of Education budget as it is thought to be too high even with inflation. State-mandated minimum wages account for the increases; however, increased program fees should cover this. There is an increase of $2,173,259 (5.96%) over 2023, with salaries and benefits equaling 85%. Open choice grants have been declining and 2.4% of the increase is for expenses no longer covered by grants. Special education costs are significant and increasing but are mandated by the State. Any reductions must come from other student education costs.
Costs for digital resources, purchased property services (gas and electricity), contracted services, building repairs, transportation, and safety/security items previously covered by Open Choice are now coming back into the operating budget.
The Town Assessor reported that real estate, personal property, and motor vehicle taxes are up, with the final taxable grand list total of $30,185,349, an increase of 1.95%. Many used cars increased in value and proposed motor vehicle legislation to depreciate off the MSRP may go into effect for the 2023 Grand List. Any drop in motor vehicle taxes would be offset by the real estate revaluation this year. Personal property audits will also be resuming this year.
The Planning and Zoning budget is increasing by $11,000, primarily for wage increases. The moratorium on affordable housing ends in December at which point our zoning rules no longer apply. There must be very strong health/safety reasons for the Town not to approve any affordable housing developments. The Sacred Heart church property including the adjacent 15 acres was previously voted down as residential, but it was just purchased today so that could become affordable housing after December.
Board of Selectmen – There was considerable conversation regarding a book that was moved from the display at Kent Memorial Library per the Selectman based on a complaint. Some felt it was an abuse of power, censorship or politics. Discussions took place prior to its being moved. It was thought that there was an obligation to present the information in a neutral and balanced way so that both sides are represented. It was clarified that the book was not banned, only moved from display to another location.
Conservation Commission – Several minor revisions were made to the Sunrise Park rules followed by a lengthy discussion on signage for swimming and skating. Revisions will be reviewed with the Town attorney prior to finalizing.
Ethics Commission – A special meeting was held to discuss officers and incumbents. No new nominations were made, and the incumbents were unanimously approved.
Housing Authority – Expenses were reviewed and a rent increase for studio and one-bedroom units went from $425 to $475. Tenants have been notified. Renovations continue as units are available.
Planning & Zoning Commission – The Public Hearing for opting out of the parking requirements set forth in CGS Section 8-2(d)(9) is scheduled to occur after this article’s deadline. The new Chairman of the Suffield Affordable Housing Advisory Committee indicated the committee will be looking at housing currently available, comparing Suffield to other communities, reviewing State and local regulations, and monitoring proposed legislation.