Herb Hulbert had questions regarding the Kearns Community Center Project. After turning down money for the town from the Evonsion farm offer, will we be doing the same with Kearns? There needs to be a financial benefit for the town. Has the town looked into grants? Is there another possible plan that will bring more income to the town? What will happen if the funding disappears? Will the final decision go to a referendum? Town Manager Ward replied that a referendum is not necessary if there is no sale.
Hulbert also wanted an update on the bridge repair situation and was told that the February Drummer would contain a detailed report.
Susan Regan urged the board to heed her recommendation for a “Plan B” for Kearns Community Center. She noted that the town needs a contingency plan in case the center fails to reach the financial status it expects during its third year.
Town Manager John Ward introduced two new staff members at the Feb. 4 BOS meeting.
Harold Holmes is the new fire marshal. Certified by the state for 27 years, he is an American Red Cross CPR/AED/first aid certified instructor, a certified life safety and public educator, and a member of the Connecticut Disaster Medical Assistance Team. He is currently a deputy fire marshal and volunteer firefighter for a fire district in Middletown.
Eric Vincent is the new Granby Emergency Management Director. A certified fire marshal, emergency medical technician and fire service instructor, he is a captain with the Bradley International Airport Fire Department where he is responsible for shift supervision. He oversees responses to medical emergencies, fire alarms and material spills. He was formerly a fire and life safety officer for the Connecticut Department of Corrections.
After receiving the preliminary municipal and education budgets, the Board of Finance has asked that the final budgets come in at or below a 4 percent increase.
Tax Penalty Deferment
Town Manager Ward noted that the Connecticut state legislature approved giving municipalities the option of allowing residents furloughed in the government shutdown a deferral in the obligation to pay interest on late taxes. At the February meeting, the board declined to adopt a resolution to that effect as there have been no requests to date. If there is another shutdown, the resolution would require amending, so it seemed prudent to take a “wait and see” approach.
Town tax collection and other revenue is on schedule. There is still a surplus in building permit revenue due to the spring hailstorm; however, a transfer of funds may be necessary to pay for the building department’s temporary employee.
Assessor Sue Altieri filed the 2018 Grand List, which has increased by 1.44 percent.
Kearns Center Advisory Committee
The board approved the addition of a new charge to the Kearns Community Center Advisory Committee. The committee is to specifically evaluate the financial viability of the proposal with regard to both construction and operation.
First Selectman Report
First Selectman Kuhnly noted that his January 22 Koffee with Kuhnly was well attended, with 20 residents interested in speaking with him and State Representative Bill Simanski.
Building Official Bill Volovski reported on the work of the Building Department, whose job it is to supervise contractors to ensure compliance with state codes and town zoning regulations for the towns of Granby and Hartland. He noted that, due to the hail storm of May 15, the usual 1,000 building permit applications had tripled. The unprecedented disaster necessitated the hiring of a temporary assistant. Under normal circumstances, an overload can be handled more easily by way of Granby having a mutual aid agreement with five neighboring towns whose personnel can step in to help in times of emergencies or illness.
Volovski noted that the increased number of housing units in the town has definitely increased the work load. He mentioned that the department’s Ann Marie Winsor has been an incredible assistant during this time.
Resignations and Appointments
Barry Avery resigned from the Conservation Commission and Tim Squier resigned from the Agricultural Commission.
Al Wilke was approved as the Board of Finance representative on the Kearns Center Advisory Committee.
The following have been reappointed: John O’Brien and Liam O’Leary to the Agricultural Commission, Phil Main to the Commission on Aging; Jim Caldwell, Ken Kuhl and Rob Rome to the Development Commission, Robert Donna to the Library Board and Peter Gunn to the Park and Recreation Board.