As you probably know, in concert with Westport and Fairfield starting on Monday, August 23, 2021, we will be implementing mandatory masking in all public buildings. While I hope this is a short-term phenomenon, with schools starting and our Senior Center functioning well, I do not want to jeopardize either. For the week ending August 14, there were 13 confirmed COVID cases and 8 the previous week. We are still one of a number of towns in Connecticut the red.
Although it is still too early to predict, there seems a strong likelihood that we will be affected by tropical storm Henri, sometime early Sunday evening. The impact could be significant so as always review the information we have made available previously.
I realize many of you are new to town. Well water, generators and septic systems may be new to many of you. Attached you will find a short power point on storm preparation and response. We have worked hard with the utilities to improve our communication and their responsiveness. There is also a summary report of findings and suggestions from the town’s response to last year’s storm on our website Storm Response and Preparation.
To emphasize some major points:
If you have a well, fill your bathtubs with water before the storm. Your well will not work if the power goes out.
If the power goes out, we will provide water at Town Hall.
The Senior Center will be opened if needed for shelter and/or cooling. Location 660 Morehouse Rd. Showers are available at Joel Barlow High School. Location 100 Black Rock Turnpike , Redding.
Gas up your cars and generators now. Do not go out and drive around during or after the storm if there is major damage.
Stay away from downed wires. Obey “Road Closed” signs.
Do not refuel a generator while it is running, but check it for fuel and oil before the storm.
Charge cell phones and chargers or batteries now as well as flashlights. There will be a charging station outside the police station (lower level of Town Hall, 700 Morehouse Road)
Internet and cable connectivity remain a problem. Optimum assures us that they can handle it but we remain skeptical.
This is what they tell us:
In the event our services are impacted, your constituents can sign up to receive service alerts via text or voice message by going to My Account or sign up for text messages for updates on storms and any emergency texts at www.optimum.net . Once confirmed, these customers will be notified when outages affect their service and will receive timely updates until their service is restored.
Customers may also utilize the options below to contact Optimum:
Message Optimum at optimum.net/chat.
Send Tweet to @Optimumhelp
Call us at (866) 950-3278
Please note that many of these resources, as well as storm preparation recommendations and frequently asked questions, are also available by visiting Optimum’s Storm Preparedness link.
For power issues, our provider is the United Illuminating Co. To get into the queue for service restoration, you must notify UI directly.
For emergency information we will contact you by reverse 911. Make sure you are signed up both for your land line and for your mobile phones as well. To sign up, go to the State of Connecticut’s Emergency Alerting and Notifications Systems.
You can call us directly at the numbers below:
Town Hall (203) 268-6291
Police (non-emergency) (203) 268-4111
Fire Department (203) 268-2833
Of course, the first line of response is neighbors helping neighbors as long as it is done safely. We have truly awesome emergency services and public works here in Easton, and they are ready to assist. Use common sense and be safe!
The EMS association is moving forward with planning for a new EMS Headquarters. There is universal acceptance that the old building is no longer adequate and a new headquarters is needed. Step one is identifying their needs for a new building. They need adequate sleeping quarters for staffing, two ambulances as well as additional space for crews during storms, training and meeting rooms as well as storage. Six vehicle bays are in the plans plus administrative space and a day room and kitchen, all ADA compliant. Working with an architectural firm they believe that this can be worked into 6,000 square feet, roughly what the current building has, but the improvements will be compensated for by the efficiency of the design. We look forward to hearing more, and moving forward, utilizing some of our rescue funds to build a new headquarters. Also, EMS is sponsoring a charity motorcycle ride and auto show tomorrow, August 21. http://eastonems.com/charity-motorcycle-ride-21-august-2021/
The final report of the South Park Advisory Committee is now on our website located on the page with the agenda from last night’s Board of Selectmen Meeting, which the Selectmen will review and consider. We thank all the members of the committee for their dedicated service. Also, there are the results of a Road Safety Audit done for us by the State Dept. of Transportation. This will be considered first by our Police Commission which acts as the town’s Traffic Safety Authority.
Next week we plan to lay beams across the new South Park Avenue Bridge. We are happy to be ahead of schedule and confident in finishing the bridge this fall.
We have a number of positions in the administration of our schools which need to be filled before school starts. Our respective Boards of Education are working hard to have those folks in place by the start of school. For more information see www.er9.org.
This week we completed a new four-year labor agreement with our Police Officers so all of our major unions now have new contracts in place.
We are planning to have a Town Meeting on September 13. We have a lot to cover. An Ordinance to give tax relief to our handicapped residents for their vehicles will be considered. It is also located where the agenda is on the Board of Selectmen page.
We also plan to introduce a revised Ethics Ordinance to guide the behavior of town employees and members of boards and commissions. A draft is also linked to the agenda.
We will also vote on allocating $80,000 for the preliminary design of the Sport Hill Pathway. The town will be reimbursed for 80%. There is information from multiple Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen minutes, as well as several other documents on the website.
I would ask that people make themselves familiar with all of this information being provided so that you can make informed decisions on these questions at the Special Town Meeting. No matter how hard the town works to provide information to folks, we cannot make people look at it! Please educate yourself. I remind you that the people are the Town Meeting and the Town Meeting is our government.