As far as Director of Human Services Sandra Yost is aware, this is the first year Granby has participated in the program designed by The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) to provide tax credits to businesses that make investments in qualifying community nonprofit programs by furnishing financial assistance, labor, materials or technical advice to aid in the physical improvement or rehabilitation of any part of the community. A minimum of $250 is required; the maximum donation is $250,000. The tax credit can be from 60 percent to as much as 100 percent, depending on the specific situation. Improvements in energy efficiency, for example, garner the 100 percent credit.
Projects approved in the past in other towns have come from public service departments such as fire, police, ambulance, health services and land trusts. Requests have included energy-saving measures such as new windows, boiler replacements and programs for youth, parents and seniors.
As noted in the May Drummer, the deadline for applications submitted to the town was June 4. A public hearing was held on June 18 to approve the proposals, which are being submitted to the Department of Revenue Services by July 2. Two town entities applied to be submitted to the DRS: the Holcomb Farm Fresh Access program and Lost Acres Fire Department. Their names will be placed on a list from which local businesses can choose to donate.
Representing Fresh Access, Friends of Holcomb Farm board member Mark Fiorentino first thanked Yost for bringing the program to the Farm’s attention and assisting with the application protocol. If supported, the money will be used to expand the Fresh Access program that supplies fresh vegetables from the Farm to people in need in the Hartford area. The Farm is establishing a new working relationship with Asylum Hill’s Wheeler Clinic, which offers many opportunities for low-income families and wishes to add the nutritional component of fresh produce. Fresh Access will use the money donated to purchase the vegetables from Holcomb Farm for the clinic, which can choose from a menu exactly which items they can use.
Lost Acres Fire Department will use the donations to upgrade the North Granby fire station. The current furnace operates at 50 percent efficiency; they wish to replace it with one that has a high efficiency rating of 95 percent. The department also wishes to replace some windows with energy-efficient ones. These replacements will earn the benefactor the 100 percent tax credit.
Yost will submit the applications to the DRS. It will compose a list of all applicants to make available to local businesses that will then choose an organization to support and thus be eligible for a tax credit. The businesses must also be approved by the state, and must submit their applications between Sept. 15 and Oct. 1 of each year.
Appropriation for Special Education
The board approved the request by the Board of Education to appropriate up to $71,172 to the Special Education Excess Funds account. Usually, the BOE is able to turn money back to the town (over $200,000 in recent years) but due to the rapidly rising costs of state-mandated special education, over which the board has little control, this year presents special problems. Working hard to cut costs and tighten its budget wherever possible, the board has reduced a $400,000 deficit to $71,172 to cover unbudgeted expenses. BOE Vice Chairman Mark Fiorentino noted that, “the board will continue to work to reduce the deficit prior to the close of the fiscal year.”
New Management of Celebrate Granby
The Chamber of Commerce has hired Sally Rider to manage the production of Granby’s annual Celebrate Granby event held in Salmon Brook Park from Sept. 20-22 this year. Rider’s goal is to enhance the program, including more groups representing town activities, such as the Horse Council and students who entertain in the high school Coffee House. In addition to having a more specific site plan, Rider also plans to add a craft tent and a farmers market venue.
Town Manager John Ward reported that the governor has vetoed the Education Cost Sharing bill that would have barred making cuts in the ECS budget during the fiscal year. The ramifications for Granby are yet to be determined.
First Selectman Scott Kuhnly expressed appreciation for American Legion Post 182’s Jim Hall, who celebrated 50 years of organizing the Memorial Day parade. In addition, the Legion post has donated a second trash receptacle for the town green.
Resignations And Appointments
Pam Kirk has been appointed to fill the vacancy on the Agricultural Commission caused by the resignation of Annie Hornish.
James Tsaptsinos has been appointed to the Park and Recreation Board.
Tom Tyburski has resigned effective June 30 as Director of Recreation and Leisure Services to take a similar position in the town of Simsbury.
Town Hall staff member Kathy Kane has replaced retired Pat Chieski as the Town Manager’s Executive Assistant.
David Deskis was introduced as new fire marshal (see article here)