Proposals received for East Street property
The Board of Selectmen workshops in preparation for development of the Plus-One budget will take place on Thursday, March 8 and Monday, March 12, in the town hall meeting room at 6 p.m. and are open to the public. On March 8, Personal and Property Protection will be presented by First Selectman Kuhnly and Public Works and Environment will be presented by Mark Neumann. If time allows, Capital Budget and Debt Services will be presented by Sally King, otherwise King will present on March 12, along with Administration by Jim Lofink and Library, Recreation and Social Services by Ed Ohannessian. Revenues and Other Funds will also be presented by all selectmen on March 12. If more time is needed, workshops will continue on Thursday, March 15 and Monday, March 19 at the same venue and time.
East Street farm proposals
Three responses to the request for proposals for the former Evonsion property, due on January 31 have been received. The town is in the process of evaluating the proposals submitted by Stanley Hayes, Richard Woodger, and Westbrook Farms (Tom Vaughan). Town Manager John Ward expects to submit a recommendation at the Monday, March 5, BOS meeting, after which the selectmen may discuss the matter further, request more information, or decline to accept any of the proposals.
There is no set time frame for any of the steps involved in the process of selling town property, but if a proposal is accepted by a vote of the selectmen a public hearing will be held. Prior to the public hearing, however, the proposal will be referred to the Planning and Zoning Commission for an 824-statutory review.
Request for CPPAC meeting approved
The board approved the Town Manager’s request to seek a meeting with the Capital Program Priority Advisory Committee (CPPAC) regarding funding for projects such as bridge work and updates to communication systems and equipment in the fire and police departments.
The board approved the equipment lease/purchase agreement and loan agreement with Simsbury Bank for capital items already in the 2017-2018 budget. One is a five-year lease for up to $950,000 for Department of Public Works equipment including a dump truck and backhoe. The other is for up to $175,000 for the Board of Education’s purchase of Chrome Books. Simsbury Bank was chosen not only because it provided the best rate, but also provided the easiest access to the cash.
Grants to benefit seniors
Director of Human Services Sandra Yost received approval to apply for a grant for up to $7,000 for senior counseling. A 20 percent match would be required by the town, and be supplied by in-kind services already included in the budget.
Yost also requested and received approval to apply for a Federal Transit Administration grant for a new senior citizen lift van. This grant also requires a 20 percent match, which would be $12,000 of the expected $60,000 cost. This same application was denied last year; Yost is hoping for a better outcome this year.
Alcohol at Park House approval
The board approved an application for alcohol for a private party at the Salmon Brook Park House on the evening of Aug. 4 (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.). All insurance and certification requirements have been met, including the presence of an on-site monitor.
Town Manager Reports
As required by law, Town Assessor Susan Altieri filed Granby’s Grand List with the state. Growth of $13 million was seen in real estate, motor vehicles and personal property; it amounts to a 1.36 percent increase overall.
The town has received $2.4 million of the expected $3.9 million of the Education Cost Sharing revenue, however, it is unlikely that the town will receive the second payment of the state bond taken out for road work. Selectman Jim Lofink asked Town Manager Ward if it could be made clear in the budget report (when it is known) exactly what the town will NOT be receiving from the state.
Project money frozen
The state Department of Transportation noted at a recent Capitol Regional Council of Governments (CCROG) meeting because of the current fiscal situation, many DOT projects are on hold, including the proposed roundabout for Granby. The realignment of the center intersections, however, is going forward.
Public session on February 5
Susan Regan is seeking a response to the offer she and her husband made to produce promotional pieces on PATV15. Individuals with commercial and residential interests could see what Granby has to offer. She first made the proposal to Town Manager Ward and First Selectman Kuhnly in July, 2017, at which time Kuhnly thought that the production of these promos at no charge might be construed as an “inappropriate gift.” The Regans then offered to proceed at a minimal charge. No action has been taken, despite a response memo from the town manager saying that “there is no argument to the benefits of positive publicity,” and that “perhaps allowing local businesses and non-profits access to the community portion of the town website … could be given.” He also noted that the Regans’ “generous offer of producing a promotional video for Granby … as a donation could/should be explored.” Regan asked the board to discuss this and respond.
Her second suggestion was that Granby would benefit from having an Ethics Committee to act as a direct voice from the residents. The committee could receive public commentary, determine its merit and present it with recommendations to the appropriate boards or individuals.
Her final point: The town paid five times its appraised value for the former Evonsion property ($2.5 million) to protect it from development, and now is considering selling it for half that amount. She advised more fiscally prudent thinking.