Throughout Fairfield County the COVID numbers are getting worse. The whole county is now in the red. For the week ending April 16th, the rate in Easton is 29.4 per 100,000. The medical consensus is that not many of these new cases are getting terribly sick as reflected in the relatively smaller increases in hospitalizations. At the same time, we all know the real number of cases is significantly higher given the number of home tests being done. My recommendation is that people continue to be careful and thoughtful about their situation. There will be no change in restrictions in town at this time.
We are holding the Annual Town Meeting on Monday April 25th at 7:00 pm at Samuel Staples. The Town Meeting is how the town conducts business and is the legislative body of Easton. It is a vestige of old New England Government in which the townspeople determine the town’s course. Since taking office, I have sought to make this process truly reflect the collective decisions of the entire town. For that reason, we have set agendas and placed all controversial items on the ballot for machine votes. I have vowed to keep the town meeting form of government working as it is supposed to so that each and every one of you gets an equal voice. It is critical that you be informed and mindful of where you get your information. The website, https://www.eastonct.gov/town-meeting/news/annual-town-meeting-april-25-2022-at-700pm contains the official information regarding the questions being considered. In addition, I have written two articles for the Courier regarding the sale of land to the Aspetuck Land Trust; one dated April 13th and the other to be published shortly. The Board of Finance has endorsed a budget which includes a 1.02% increase. The Easton School District increase is 2.27%. It is anticipated that passage of these budgets would lead to approximately a 10% drop in the mill rate. Taxes are determined by multiplying the mill rate by the assessed value of your property. Other proposals are listed on the website.
The referendum on the budget, the land sale and the demolition delay ordinance will be voted on Tuesday, May 3rd from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm at Samuel Staples. Please follow instructions and do not disturb school which is in session. To obtain absentee ballots, please complete an application which can be picked up at Town Hall at the Town Clerk’s office or printed from the website at https://www.eastonct.gov/town-clerk/pages/absentee-ballot-and-voting-information. Ballots will be ready on Tuesday, April 26th.
On April 19th, at a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen, the Affordable Housing Committee presented a draft report which must be submitted to the state on June 1st. The Selectmen reviewed and made some changes to the report. It will be presented at a public hearing on May 26th at 7:00 pm at Samuel Staples. It will then be adopted by the Board of Selectmen and submitted to the state. One of the recommendations is to form an ad hoc committee to continue to explore the strategies listed in the report. There are a number of strategies identified but it is unlikely that all of them will be utilized. Once the report is submitted we will continue to explore how we plan to move forward. The committee worked efficiently and produced a detailed, well thought out report and we thank them for their hard work.
Christine Halloran has resigned as Town Clerk. We thank her for her service and incredible expertise over the years. The Selectmen appointed Debbie Szegedi as Town Clerk to fulfill the remainder of Christine’s term which runs until January 1, 2024. I look forward to working with Debbie who has done an excellent job as the Assistant Town Clerk.
You may have noticed much improvement with the boards and commissions pages on the website. This is thanks to Lou DiPietro who has put in a lot of hard work.
I hope to see you Monday at the Annual Town Meeting.
Have a great weekend,