Susan Regan presented a three-pronged appeal to the Board of Selectmen during the Public Session of its July 16 meeting. Each of the requests has been made at prior times, but no satisfactory replies or actions have been rendered.
The first request was to have a Citizens Advisory Council to “receive, vet and filter certain types of concerns from Granby residents.” Constructive ideas would then be presented to the board, which would be expected to reply. Currently, residents can “voice their concerns, but there is no feedback then or at a later time.”
Regan’s second appeal was for the town to have a marketing plan, an idea she has been promoting for the past several months. The marketing plan would give Granby “a blueprint to state a mission, objectives, strategy, tactics and a timeline to benchmark progress.”
The third appeal was for the board to initiate a process to explore the option of allowing Granby nonprofits to be exempt from personal property tax on leased equipment used in the operation of their charities, as provided by the state legislature. At the next BOS meeting, Aug. 20, Town Manager John Ward reported that Town Assessor Susan Altieri has estimated that currently this would lead to $1,800 in lost tax revenue. There are 27 non-profits in Granby at this time that might take advantage of this abatement. So far, only three state municipalities have adopted this program.
The downsides to adoption are: loss of revenue; set a precedent for other organizations to want abatements; and administration of the program would add to staff workload, considering the applications process and verification regarding exclusive use of the leased equipment.
It was decided to hold a Public Hearing on this issue on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 6:45, prior to the next BOS meeting. The board will decide whether to adopt the program after the hearing.
The board approved the use of bridge fund money to submit applications to a new Federal Local Bridge Program. A state inspection performed during the summer concluded that the Hungary Road bridge also needs repair, along with the Griffin and Enders Road bridges. Last year it was estimated that the repairs would be in the range of $250,000, but it is now expected to be much higher. If accepted, the town will be required to cover 50 percent of the cost.
The Moosehorn, Donohue and Simsbury Road bridges are already accepted into funding programs. The order in which the bridges will be repaired has yet to be decided.
The board approved a request from Chamber of Commerce for the closure of Salmon Brook Park and the use of alcohol for the annual Celebrate Granby event, which will take place Thursday, Sept. 20 through Saturday 22.
Town Manager Report—
Town Manager Ward introduced Kristine Vincent as new Director of Recreation and Leisure Services. Vincent said she is already meeting with her staff, brainstorming ideas for new programs. Ward noted that Daphne Shinder and the staff did a fine job in keeping the department running during the interim between directors.
KerryAnn Kielbasa has interviewed five candidates for Library Director to replace Kelly Marszycki who retires at the end of August.
Ward noted that an additional assistant town clerk is still on his wish list.
Sidewalks to Salmon Brook Park and the traffic light at Floydville Road/Rte. 10/202 intersection are near completion.
There will be a Public Hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Senior Center where the State DOT will discuss the initiation of work on the roundabout at East Street and Rte. 10/202. The project is expected to be completed in 2020.
The DOT plans to have a Public Hearing this winter regarding the center re-configuration project that is expected to commence in 2021.
June Hail Storm
The severe weather, including much hail damage, has led to an above-average request for building permits from the Building Office. The Lost Acres fire station is in need of a new roof.
The tax collector’s office reports good response to the tax bills sent out in June.
The $72,000 requested by the Board of Education earlier in the year was not needed.
Although end-of-the-year records are still being processed, it was noted that there is a $300,000 surplus.
Resignations and Appointments
Michelle Niedermeyer resigned from the Agriculture Commission. First Selectman Scott Kuhnly expressed his thanks for her years of work on the commission and in her role as chairman.
Wayne Cahoon resigned from IWWC. He is replaced by Jason LaChance.
Public Session Aug. 20
Bill Regan encouraged the board to act on the tax abatement program.
Susan Regan presented a list of problems concerning Ahrens Park — noise, traffic, off-leash dogs — and asked for the town to take action.
Craig DiCianci requested that the town consider establishing a mountain bike trail at Holcomb Farm.
Town Manager Recognition
First Selectman Kuhnly noted that it has been one year since John Ward assumed the position as Town Manager. He thanked Ward for his dedication and hard work in steering us through an especially difficult budget process. Ward again expressed his appreciation for all the help he receives from the town staff.