Town manager institutes spending freeze

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Also pulled would be funds from the Mashantucket and Pequot Funds (distributions from the state casinos) and the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account, among others.
The total loss in income to Granby from these cuts would be $5.5 million. In addition, this is the year that Governor Malloy has proposed that cities and towns pay one-third of the cost of teacher pensions, an expense to Granby of $1.5 million.
At the meeting, Finance Board Chairman Mike Guarco noted that the $5.4 million represents 15 percent of the town’s property tax levy. He said that with state budget in place, these reductions would not be as drastic, but faced with the possibility of the dire reduction in income, there are three actions that could be taken. First, the spending and hiring freeze as instituted by the town manager. Second, use reserve funds to attempt to cover the losses. Finally, a supplemental property tax bill and revised vehicle tax rates could be established.
The board approved a call for a Three Board Meeting on Sept. 5. At that time, the boards of selectmen, education and finance will discuss what the town’s options would be to deal with a potentially large loss of revenue from the state. The chairman of the board of education has directed the superintendent to institute the same temporary spending and hiring freeze as that implemented by the town manager.
First Selectman Scott Kuhnly noted that state income has fluctuated in the past, but the situation has never been this extreme. He asked residents to contact the governor, senators and representatives to push for cooperation in formulating a budget. He remarked that Granby (and other towns) are being punished for prudently managing their taxpayers’ money.
The very negative budget news was in contrast to the opening of the previous BOS meeting on Aug. 7 when Ward noted that he was about to say some words that would probably not be repeated often: “There is good news on the budget.” There is $685,131 more in the general fund than what was budgeted: 2016 taxes have come in at 102 percent over expected, yielding $836,000, which helps to offset some of the losses experienced in revenue. Special education money of  $147,000 in came in from the state; however, tuition from other towns was deficient to the tune of $58,000.
In other positive news, Ward reported that he had contacted the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) regarding possible grants available to the town. When Deputy Commissioner Tim Sullivan noted that he had never been to Granby, Ward proposed taking him on a tour along with Director of Community Development Fran Armentano. Scheduled for August 24, the tour will pay special attention to Holcomb Farm, as the DECD awards some grants for historic preservation.
In other business news, the board reconfirmed the fiscal year 2017 Transfer of Accounts when an error was noticed and corrected. As reported from the June 19 BOS meeting, there were three transfers of accounts: $10,000 should have come from Insurance, rather than Police Operations, as did the other two transfers.
Ridgewood Residential Development
The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the Ridgewood Residential Development, composed of 50 homes and 130 apartments. The BOS expects to receive a request for an easement approval to begin construction in the near future.
Acting as the Granby Water Pollution Control Authority, the board approved the Ridgewood developer’s sewer allocation reserve request for 31,290 gallons of water per day for the development. At this time, Granby is allotted 380,000 gallons per day so the request can be accommodated.
Sidewalk Project Update
Director of Community Development Fran Armentano reported on the often-frustrating attempt to send the sidewalk project out for bids. This step cannot be done until the state gives its permission upon receiving the necessary information. The plans submitted to CROG (the Capitol Region Council of Governments) were returned several times, each time with a request for more information. Armentano felt that the project should go out for bids by the last week in August and be under construction before the year has ended. If not begun before winter, it would be on hold until spring.
Alcohol in the Park requests
The board approved two requests for the use of alcohol at events in Salmon Brook Park. One was for the Celebrate Granby weekend September 21–23 and the other for a private wedding on Sept. 8. In both cases, all permits and insurance were in place, and the requests were reviewed and approved by the recreation director, the police chief and the fire marshal.
Resignations and Appointments
Cheri Berggren resigned from the Library Board.
Liam O’Leary was appointed to the Agricultural Commission.
Public Session Aug. 7
Bike Trail Requests
Jerry Ledger requested that the BOS study the possibility of having a welcoming center for cyclists using the trails that pass through Granby. He also proposed the construction of two multi-use trails, one from Floydville Road to Stop & Shop and the other from Salmon Brook Park to Stop and Shop.