Board of Selectmen Meeting of Feb. 17, 2022

The Board of Selectmen held its second regular meeting on Feb 17. After approving the minutes of our Feb. 3 meeting and approving three routine tax refunds as recommended by the tax collector, we moved on to the unique agenda items for this meeting.

The board reviewed the salaries for non-union town employees with a view towards determining an appropriate wage increase for the next fiscal year. The board decided to recommend to the Board of Finance that these employees receive a 2.75% increase. This figure is about the average increase due for our union employees under their existing contracts.

The board decided to seat a planning and building committee for the new EMS building that is in the works. Seven people, representing a variety of interests groups and possessing a diverse skill set, were named to the committee. The board congratulates and thanks the following people who were appointed: Jon Arnold, Thomas Bladek, Wendy Bowditch, Dan Connell, John Foley, Michael Gutkowski and Victor Malindretos. Some of the background and knowledge base these volunteers possess are as Board of Finance members, EMS Commission members, Planning and Zoning Commission members, finance specialists, construction specialists, EMS volunteers, and town government employees and volunteers. We thank these people for their dedication and willingness to serve the town. The board will next work on a specific charge for this committee.

Veronica Rozo, the chair of the Library Board of Trustees, presented the board with a request to amend the Library Board ordinance to allow for the appointment of alternates to the board. The Library Board of Trustees is an elected board. The alternates would be appointed by the Board of Selectmen to serve four year terms. The board voted to create two alternate positions, with one of the first two appointees serving a two year term and, thereafter, to have alternates serve four year terms. This will create a staggering of alternate terms. Language matching this proposal will be drafted and presented to the Town Meeting later this year for formal adoption.

Selectman Sogofsky presented a draft Demolition Delay Ordinance. The concept is to mandate a 90 day delay between the application for and granting of a permit to demolish a structure that may have significant historic value so that an alternative to the destruction of such a structure can be explored and implemented. The ordinance is similar to ones in many other towns. The members offered some suggestions and modifications. Selectman Sogofsky will review the draft with other relevant interest groups and bring the revised proposal back to the board. If a final document is approved by the board, it will be placed on the agenda of an upcoming Town Meeting for formal adoption.

The board heard public comment from the following people on the topics referenced:

John Meyer and Jeff Becker spoke about the process for choosing alternates to vote at any given meeting in general and under the proposed amendment to the Library Board of Trustees ordinance. Jeff Becker suggested there be a written guidebook or manual for building committees and asked if there is a location for the proposed new EMS building. Grant Monsarrat also spoke about the location for the new EMS building. Hillary Desmond spoke about planning for the celebration of Pride Month in June. She wants to give the board plenty of advance notice and opportunity to settle on the plans for this year’s events. John Mazur spoke about property owners on Norton Road who appear to be taking action to block public access to Trout Brook Valley from the area abutting their property.

First Selectman David Bindelglass reported that there was a small increase in Covid positivity test results in town over the past two weeks, but the longer term trend is dramatically down. He anticipates being able to end the mask mandate for public buildings in town on Feb. 28.

We will soon be scheduling a public hearing on the sale of a portion of the South Park Avenue property to the Aspetuck Land Trust.

Board of Finance budget review sessions will begin March 1. These sessions are typically held Tuesday – Thursday the first two weeks of March. However, due to scheduling conflicts, the Board of Education review session may be held outside this schedule. Check the town and school website to confirm the dates and times when specific town departments will be reviewed.

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