At the May 10 Board of Selectmen meeting, Town Manager John Ward recapped the history of the Requests for Proposals on 107 East Street, noting that the information gathering stages were complete. At this time, the board could accept the Hayes proposal, in which case a series of steps pursuant to the Granby town charter and to state law would follow, or it could reject the proposal, or take no action. The board proceeded to approve Selectman Sally King’s motion that no action be taken at this time. The current lease with House of Hayes is valid through the end of 2018, at which time the board will decide whether or not to renew it.
State’s interest in development rights to 107 East Street
Although concerned with the same property as the above action on the requests for proposals, the state’s interest in purchasing the development rights to 107 East Street is not dependent on any action taken or not taken by the board regarding those proposals. On April 9, the state offered $412,500 for the purchase of those rights, the use of the property being restricted to only agriculture, preventing the use of the property for any type of recreational or educational use. The board has the same options as above, and again, under a motion presented by Selectman King, the board chose to not pursue the sale of rights at this time.
Town Manager Ward did not know if the state’s offer was a one-time offer or if the proposal might be re-introduced at some future time.
Report from Commission on Aging
Human Services Director Sandra Yost gave an overview of the Needs Assessment Survey recently completed by the Commission on Aging. She presented the commission chair Patty Sansone and member Dave Watkins to explain the results and take questions from the board.
Based on surveys taken by commissions in other states around the country, the Granby commission developed a survey to be completed by residents 50 years of age and over. Forty-seven percent of Granby residents are in this age bracket, and 533 of them completed the survey. Responding to questions about plans to move, 44 percent of the respondents planning to move within the next five years were unsure if they would remain in the town. Among those saying they would choose to leave Connecticut, 30 percent said high taxes was the primary reason for leaving.
Seventy-two percent of the respondents expressed the need for adult day care services in town. These might include various recreational activities, memory care, and personal care such as help with medications.
It was interesting to note that 45 percent of the respondents were still in some type of employment.
The commission hopes that the Board of Selectmen will share the findings of the survey with the other town boards and commissions, encouraging them to utilize the data when planning programs for the well-being of the town residents.
Yost noted that the survey will be updated and repeated at the time of re-accreditation, which is every five years.
Department report by Collector of Revenue
Lauren Stuck reported on the Department of Tax Collection, noting that January and July are obviously the department’s busiest months. During the other months, more “housekeeping” tasks are performed, such as transferring delinquent motor vehicle accounts to a collection agency, determining accounts to be transferred to suspense, and filing liens on unpaid real estate accounts. Regarding the latter, Stuck noted that in the past, there have usually been 125-130 liens, but that number (as of May 4, 2018) was only 64. Also, the department conducts tax sales – an alternative method to foreclosure on properties on which taxes haven’t been paid for a long period of time. Those interested in the property bid to pay the tax and take ownership. The original owner, however, has six months in which to pay up and regain ownership.
Sewer Rates Set
Acting as the Granby Water Pollution Control Authority, the board set the annual sewer usage rates as follows: a minimum of $200.12 for the cost of the average residential “gallons used per year” (55,000 gallons) and a minimum of $280.04 for commercial/industrial users per unit for up to 100,000 gallons. All gallon usage above the minimum will be charged $66 per gallon. This rate applies to both residential and commercial/industrial usage.
These fees are used to pay for the operation of the sewer system and upkeep of the pump house. They also go to Granby’s share of the costs to the town of Simsbury.
Transfers to Suspense
When all attempts to collect taxes on property meet with failure, the accounts are transferred to Suspense. This does not mean that the money cannot be collected in the future, just that at this time, there has been no payment. This year the amount is $20,887.42.
Mill Pond Drive
Upon approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission, the selectmen approved the acceptance of Mill Pond Drive as an official town road. This is the road that extends into Greenway Village, the condo development at the rear of the Stop and Shop plaza.
At the time of the May 10 meeting, the 2018 state budget session had ended, with no major changes from what was proposed in the second year of the two-year budget. Granby is getting $604,189 more than last year, but municipal aid is down by approximately $140,000, so the net gain is a little over $464,000. Town Manager Ward said that the aid may be cut in the new fiscal year, however.
Regarding town revenue, property taxes are at 102 percent and revenue from building permits is 104 percent of what was budgeted.
Town Manager Ward noted three significant retirements in town staff: Dorcas Forsyth, after working 31 years as the Assistant Assessor; Pat Chieski, after serving 18 years, the last 16 of which were as Executive Secretary to Town Manager; and Director of Library Services Kelly Marszycki who will retire in late August. In addition, Fire Marshal Rich Jones resigned to take the same position in Southington, where he had been working part time as well as in Granby.
Worn out American flags should not be discarded as trash. They may be retired officially at various times and places. This spring, from May 18 through June 13, they may be brought to Granby Town Hall and also to Barkhamsted Town Hall, 67 Ripley Hill Road in the Pleasant Valley section of Barkhamsted.