The board held its final regular meeting of 2021, on Dec. 16. The board approved the minutes of its Dec. 2 meeting and approved five tax refunds as recommended by Tax Collector Krista Kot.

The board unanimously approved the purchase of a nautical flagpole to be installed in front of town hall. The cost of the pole is $2,390.00.

The town budgeted $180,000 toward the cost of a new ambulance. We received just one bid for the new ambulance. The bid came in at $185,809. In addition, the bid did not include the proper cab for the new vehicle and it is estimated that a 2022 model cab will add approximately $3,000 to the cost. After discussion with the Board of Finance, the board has been assured the additional approximately $9,000 will be included in next year’s budget. Based upon that representation, the Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the purchase of the new ambulance from New England Fire Equipment and Apparatus Corp provided by PL Custom at a cost of $185,809 plus approximately $3,000 for the 2022 cab.

The board accepted the resignation of Phil Tamallanca from the Park and Recreation Commission and noted his outstanding service to the town. This creates a vacancy on the commission which any qualified town resident can apply to fill.

Previously, the board made changes to the organization of the Easton Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. The board formalized those changes by amending the charge to the task force. The modifications add one full member to the task force so as to create a six-member body. The task force can have no more than three members from the same political party. The task force can appoint a chair, co-chairs and a secretary from among the members. Finally, the modified charge calls for staggered terms for the members and for two alternate members.

As the Board of Finance is now equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, it was unable to agree upon a new chair. Under the law, when the Board of Finance cannot agree on a chair, the choice falls to the Board of Selectmen. After discussion, the board unanimously elected Art Laske as chair of the Board of Finance for the next two years.

The board made several unanimous appointments. It reappointed Gloria Bindelglass to a new five year term until Jan. 2, 2026 on the Emergency Medical Service Commission. First Selectman David Bindelglass recused himself on this discussion and vote since Gloria is his wife. The board reappointed Thomas Schick to a new four year term until Nov. 2, 2025 as an alternate on the Board of Assessment Appeals. The board appointed Nicole Massini to the Insurance Commission until Jan. 2, 2023 to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Sandra Neubert. The board appointed Joan Kirk as an adjunct member of the Cemetery Commission. The first selectman announced that he re-appointed Dick Dina as tree warden and Michelle Falcone as the town’s representative to the Western Connecticut Tourism Council. These last two appointments are made by the first selectman and not by the full Board of Selectmen.

Many terms on various boards and commissions expire at the end of the calendar year each year. Residents interested in serving on a board or commission should contact a town political party or the first selectman’s office.

The board adopted the Emergency Management Performance grant resolution in order to continue our eligibility for state funds under this program.

As is its custom, the board received public comment both at the beginning and the end of its meeting. Comments were offered on the following topics by the following people:

Regarding the appointment of a new chair of the Board of Finance: Dana Benson, Lou DiPietro, Bev Dacey (by letter read by Lou DiPietro), Carolyn Oppenheim, Ira Kaplan, and Maureen Williams.

Regarding alternates on the Board of Finance: Dana Benson.

Regarding the 10 acres of the South Park Avenue Property that is not part of the current proposed sale to the Aspetuck Land Trust: Dan Lendt and Dana Benson.

Regarding whether the term for the Board of Finance chair is one or two years: Art Laske.

Regarding whether the practice of “accepting” a resignation is appropriate: Ira Kaplan.

Regarding sound quality of Zoom meetings of boards and commissions: Dana Benson

Regarding the desire to continue with Zoom or other broadcast meetings and posting them to the town website: Dana Benson and Grant Monsarrat.

The board members also offered comments:

First Selectman David Bindelglass reported on Covid progression and the widespread movement of the new Omicron variant. He suggests masking but is not mandating it. He wished everyone a happy holiday season.

Selectman Lessler pointed out that with the new redistricting of state and federal political boundary lines as a result of the 2020 census, Easton will be divided into two state house districts. Generally speaking, the southern and eastern part of the town will be in the 112th District together with all of Monroe and small sections of Newtown and Trumbull. The rest of the town will remain in the 135th district with Weston and Redding. This will first become evident during the 2022 election and will take effect in January 2023. The first selectman pointed out that this will not mean there will be two polling places but there will be different ballots handed out to voters at our single polling station.

Selectman Lessler also distributed a memorandum on four defunct commissions and suggested we consider formally disbanding them where possible. He wished everyone a happy holiday season.

Selectman Sogofsky wished everyone a happy holiday season.

The recording of the Zoom session of the December 16, 2021 meeting can be accessed here.

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