Update for 2/26/2021
We continue to see improvements in the COVID-19 numbers. While three more Eastonites were diagnosed with the virus for the week ending February 20, the rate per 100,000 fell to 14.3 for the two weeks ending that day. We continue to vaccinate more people across the state. More people will soon become eligible including in short order our teachers. This is good news and points towards more normalcies in all of our lives.
Should you need access to Town Hall, we are making appointments in most departments. Please call ahead to arrange, as we still have restrictions in place. The Tax Department remains open to walk-ins daily with the exception of 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. daily. We plan to gradually phase in more activities over the next few weeks.
Improving COVID-19 numbers allow us to plan for a Special Town Meeting to discuss some time sensitive items that will need to go to referendum. We will hold a Public Hearing by ZOOM on March 4 to discuss joining the Westport Weston Health District. All of the information regarding the Health District was shown at two public presentations and has been posted for the last year on the Health Department page on our website. This will be the official Public Hearing.
Meeting ID 824 3306 5195
The Special Town Meeting will be held on March 15 at 7 p.m., subject to final approval at the March 4 Board of Selectmen meeting. There are strong feelings in town about both in-person and virtual meetings. Therefore, we have decided that this meeting will be held virtually and in-person in a hybrid format. I am not confident that we can fairly count votes in this hybrid fashion. All agenda items addressed at the meeting will be decided by a machine vote (referendum) on March 23 from 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. at Samuel Staples Elementary School. I believe that this will be the fairest way to conduct Town Meeting business which insures its role as the legislative body of Easton.
If you go back and look historically, any Special Town Meeting and Annual Town Meeting consisted of all eligible voters in town coming to a meeting and voting on the issues of the day. I believe this is as close as we can come to achieving what was intended for the town meetings when our forefathers envisioned them. The agenda will be finalized at the next Board of Selectmen meeting on March 4 at 7:30 p.m. The following are the likely issues:
1. Approval of an appropriation to purchase body and dash cams for Easton Police Department as mandated by state law.
2. Approval of an ordinance revision increasing the stipend for our volunteer Fire Fighters and EMS volunteers.
3. Approval of the town to join the Westport Weston Health District.
4. A revision regarding Senior Tax Relief for the Elderly Ordinance.
5. Approval of an appropriation to fund Easton’s portion of the cost of a multiuse walkway along Sport Hill Road, to supplement the grant of federal funding. The project was vetted extensively at a design charrette in November of 2019, and recommended by the Board of Finance.
6. Approval of the sale of approximately 19 acres at 22 South Park Avenue to the Aspetuck Land Trust.
7. An opinion regarding the town’s position on the Board of Selectmen Resolution declaring racism to be a public health emergency.
Please understand that more information will be forthcoming on all of these matters shortly. This is not intending to be a detailed presentation of these issues. The final details of the format of the Special Town Meeting and Annual Town Meeting will be made public as well.
Our appointed attorney, Public Works Director and Deputy Director and I participated in a mediation proceeding this week to close out the South Park Avenue Bridge Replacement Project. I believe the settlement which is being finalized is favorable to the town.
For all of our new neighbors, I will continue to remind you about our VIRTUAL New Resident Presentation on March 11, at 7:30 p.m.
You may access the ZOOM presentation here:
Meeting ID: 851 7110 7487
I wish you all a wonderful weekend!