The board met with Selectman Kristi Sogofsky present via Zoom and the First Selectman Dave Bindelglass and Selectman Bob Lessler personally present. The minutes of the meeting of July 1 were approved with modifications.
The board appointed Sarah Lehberger to fill a vacancy on the Region 9 Board of Education. She will serve until the Nov. 2 election. The board re-appointed Richard Colangelo to the Police Commission for a term next ending on June 30, 2024, and appointed Victor Alfandre to the Police Commission for a term next ending on June 30, 2024.
‘Easton Grows ‘Hemp Pilot
The board received an update on the progress toward finalizing a lease of one acre of land on the South Park Avenue property to be used by Easton Grows to grow hemp for a one-season pilot project. The lease negotiations are nearly completed, and it is likely the board will hold a special meeting to review the lease and business plan sometime next week. If the agreements are approved, Easton Grows will plant, grow, and harvest a hemp crop and share any profits realized with the town.
Social Media Policy Draft
The board reviewed the draft of a social media policy, made modifications to the draft, and adopted the revised policy. The goal of the new social media policy is to guide town employees and officials in the appropriate use of and participation on various social media platforms. The key concepts are that town employees and officials should identify themselves when speaking about town policy and should always present themselves in a professional, civil and dignified manner on social media.
Opening and Closing Public Comment
Several people spoke during the opening and closing public comment section. June Logie asked that the power point presentation by Citizens for Easton presented at our July 1 meeting be posted on the town website. She pointed out discrepancies in the information that appears on the town website when using a cellphone versus a PC and asked if that could be rectified. She inquired if Covid funds could be used to improve and enhance our ability to get various town meetings online. She asked that future meeting agendas state whether a meeting is by Zoom, in person, or both going forward. She expressed concern about the recent increase in crime in town, including but not limited to, car break-ins and thefts.
Tom Herrmann spoke in support of his desire to be reappointed to the Police Commission. John Meyer asked that the town calendar be updated to show that the July 26 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting is a special meeting and not a regular meeting. It will cover changes to the Plan of Conservation and Development and discuss a potential new regulation concerning managed residential homes. He also urged adoption of an ordinance to shift sidewalk maintenance to the homeowner and away from the town.
Grant Monsarrat asked for an update on the modified ethics ordinance and the proposed land use ordinance.
Jeff Becker spoke about making it clear on the website that the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting for July 26 is a special and not a regular meeting. He spoke about the revaluation process, the Easton Grows lease for South Park Avenue, and the increase in car-related crimes. He reminded people to lock their cars, not leave valuables in their cars, and to use doorbell cameras to keep an eye on things.
Dana Benson spoke about the first selectman’s post on Facebook and issues raised therein. David Bryant spoke about critical race theory and the diversity, equity and inclusion work. Maureen Hanley asked if a new search fee for a new superintendent of schools will be incurred. She expressed concern about the unannounced visits by people doing the revaluation of homes. She spoke about the first selectman’s post on Facebook and issues raised therein. She thanked Selectman Sogofsky for nominating an unaffiliated voter for the Region 9 Board of Education.
Devon Wible spoke about the first selectman’s post on Facebook and issues raised therein. She thanked the first selectman for his work on Covid and other challenges faced this year. Mimi Jacob spoke about the first selectman’s post on Facebook and issues raised therein. She expressed thanks that the boards of education work well together and in a bipartisan manner.
Pat Linnane spoke about the first selectman’s post on Facebook and issues raised therein. Bev Dacey spoke about the first selectman’s post on Facebook and the issues raised therein. Dwight Senior spoke about the recent increase in crime in Easton. Debbie Barer spoke about the first selectman’s post on Facebook and issues raised therein.
Selectman Lessler updated the board about the work on updating the town’s ethics ordinance. He and three other people met and are drafting a revised ordinance with a goal of presenting it to the Board of Selectman and the Town Meeting for a vote in mid-September.
Selectman Sogofsky thanked the board for allowing her to participate remotely. First Selectman Bindelglass updated the board about the work on producing a land use ordinance. He expects a final version to be ready for the Board of Selectmen soon and for the Town Meeting which is expected to take place in mid-September. He pointed out that the revaluation process is complex and the database of home information is very large. The point of the questionnaires sent to residents in the spring was to identify discrepancies. He will check into the issue of unannounced visits by revaluation investigators.
He will check on the issue of discrepancies on the website depending on the type of device used to access the website. He has no information on the issue of whether the town will incur a search fee for the hiring of a new superintendent of schools. He pointed out that residents may register their doorbell cameras with the police department which would help fight crime. Lastly, he pointed out that Covid 19 numbers are now slowly increasing. He urged everyone to get vaccinated against the virus.
The meeting video is available for viewing at https://vimeo.com/showcase/easton-board-of-selectmen