Last night, the Board of Selectmen voted to reconstitute the Land Acquisition and Preservation Authority. This group was established by ordinance in 2005, but had fallen by the wayside and stopped meeting. Its purpose is to look at ways to raise money and secure land which the town could preserve or use for town purposes. On March 13, there was an informational session which I had spoken about last week, which discussed the town’s plan of conservation and development. One of the discussions during that session was the large tracts of land in town that could potentially be sold in the next few years, which might be in the town’s best interest to own, therefore controlling its use. Hence the idea of having a functional land acquisition authority. The March 13 meeting included a speaker from a group called Desegregate Connecticut who presented potential legislation, still in committee, that provides assistance in developing affordable housing. At the discretion of a town’s planning and zoning commission, they could opt in to receive funding for building the infrastructure necessary to build much denser housing than we currently allow in Easton. To receive funding the developments would need to meet certain criteria. Failure to opt in would lead to “deprioritizing” our ability to obtain state grants. The density being discussed has the potential to adversely affect our watershed. We will arrange for more discussions about affordable housing legislation with information from those of different viewpoints. Related to this, Mark Cooper of the Aspetuck Health District spoke about septic systems. Many folks who are newer to town may not realize what is required to maintain a septic system, while others may be hesitant because of the cost. We will provide a primer on the care of septic systems for you. Septic systems should be inspected every five years. Ironically, malfunctioning septic systems may be today’s biggest threat to our watershed.
Last night at the selectmen’s meeting, we also gave the go-ahead to our sister city relationship with the Ukranian town of Sviatohirsk. Ukraine Aid International will assemble a steering committee and plan to fundraise and sponsor events to educate both towns’ citizens about each other. No town funding will be involved. A formal announcement will be forthcoming. We think this is a wonderful opportunity for the town to share in. I shared pictures of our sunflower field last fall in front of Samuel Staples with Sviatohirsk’s mayor and he was quite touched.
This week, the state DEEP, the environmental contractors and the owner of the Easton Village Store met at the town’s request to assess any ongoing issues with soil contamination at the sight. They have agreed on a few last steps going forward for monitoring, and further action if the monitoring shows any remaining contamination, which so far it has not.
A neighbor mentioned that they have recently noticed more dog walkers are leaving their plastic bags of poop by the side of the road. Please finish the job and dispose of it properly!
I am happy to announce the appointment of Jean Stetz-Puchalski as coordinator for the town of Easton for Sustainable Ct., consistent with the previous decision by the Board of Selectmen to participate in this program. We look forward to her continued service to the town.
On Thursday, March 16 from 6 to 8 p.m State Senator Tony Hwang will host a UI Electric Hike Info Forum at Fairfield Board of Education, 501 Kings Highway Cutoff, Fairfield. The purpose of the forum is to provide information for residents on how to most effectively weigh in on the rate increases that can actually have an impact on the outcome. The goal is to help residents who are struggling to pay their utility bills, and provide supplemental utility resources and supportive services for those in economic distress.
Please view here highlighting today’s vote of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to order a rate decrease for Aquarion Water customers. In a 2-1 vote, the water company’s revenue requirement was reduced by approximately $2 million, which will result in savings to customers of around $67 per year over current rates, when combined with the Water Infrastructure Conservation Adjustment (WICA) surcharge being reset to $0. This compares to Aquarion’s request to increase its revenue requirement by about $37 million. Among other things, the decision rejects Aquarion’s request to recover costs associated with its 2017 merger with Eversource Energy and conditions recovery of executive and officer compensation on the annual achievement of prescribed affordability metrics. Also, Easton is currently working through the court system to receive what we believe are more fair tax payments for our reservoirs.
Please note the Tax Collectors office will be closed on Wednesday, March 22nd to attend their annual meeting.
Have a great weekend,