Present: B. Scott Kuhnly, Sally King, James Lofink, Mark Neumann, Edward Ohannessian, John D. Ward, Town Manager; and Jillian Thrall, Student Liaison
First Selectman Kuhnly introduced this year’s Student Liaison, Jillian Thrall. Jillian said she is a senior at Granby Memorial High School. She plans to be a business major and study agriculture. She comes with an agricultural background from her family farm.
Resident Bill Regan announced the CT Valley Views will be taping Republican, Democratic, and Unaffiliated candidates running for the Board of Selectmen seats for the Nov. 5 municipal election. They can accommodate two Republicans and two Democrats for a half-hour (15 minutes each) on Oct. 13, from 3 to 3:30 p.m. in the Granby Police Department Community Room.
Resident Glen Ballard announced he will be meeting with fellow candidates tomorrow. He would like to discuss visions and goals for the town. He asked First Selectman Kuhnly for permission to interview department heads. First Selectman Kuhnly responded that it is not his place to address this and referred the matter to Town Manager Ward.
On A Motion by Selectman Neumann, seconded by Selectman King, the board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to reorder the agenda placing item V. C. Consideration of Collective Bargaining Matters – IBPO (Item Deemed Appropriate for Executive Session) to follow VIII. Selectman Reports.
On A Motion by Selectman Neumann, seconded by Selectman King, the board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of Sept. 16 as presented.
Unfinished or Tabled Business
Consideration of Collective Bargaining Agreement with UPSEU-Public Works and UPSEU-Dispatchers
Town Manager Ward reported the town has reached tentative agreements with two of the United Public Service Employees Unions (UPSEU): Local 424, Unit 49, Granby Public Works and Local 424, Unit 56, Granby Public Safety Dispatchers.
Town Manager Ward reported the selectmen requested at the last meeting to have a discussion concerning the budget process. They are looking toward improving the process, especially with regard to transparency. Ward presented the current process, budget goals, and budget priorities for them to review.
There was discussion of talking to department heads ahead of the timeline to find out their needs for the upcoming fiscal year. Also, the selectmen would like to review the status of the Capital Plan.
Resignations and Appointments to be considered
There was one resignation from James Tsaptsinos, Park and Recreation Board, as he was recently appointed to the Board of Finance.
On A Motion by Selectman Neumann, seconded by Selectman King, the board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to accept the resignation of James C. Tsaptsinos from the Park and Recreation Board.
There are two vacancies on building committees, one on the Solar Committee and one on the School Building Committee.
Selectman Neumann reported the Republican Town Committee has recommended Walter (Skip) Mission to serve as a member on the Commission on Aging, and Kevin Hobson to serve as a member on the Park and Recreation Board.
On A Motion by Selectman Neumann, seconded by Selectman Ohannessian, the board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to accept the recommendations and appoint Walter L. Mission (R), to the Commission on Aging through Jan. 13, and Kevin F. Hobson (R), to the Park and Recreation Board through Jan. 13.
Introduction of New Administration Finance Officer. Ms. Kimi Cheng
Town Manager Ward introduced Granby’s new Administration Finance Officer Kimi Cheng. Cheng has worked as a professional in the finance field for over seven years, most recently for the State of Connecticut, Office of the State Treasurer. Prior to working for the State of Connecticut, she served as a Finance Manager in Barefoot Bay Recreation District FL, a special district under Florida status. Cheng responded she is very honored and excited to serve as the Administration Finance Officer for the Town of Granby.
Consideration of Collective Bargaining Matters – IBPO (Item Deemed Appropriate for Executive Session).
Reordered to follow VIII. Selectman Reports.
Town Manager Reports
Town Manager Ward reviewed budget operations for August 2019 indicating tax collections are on target at 56 percent. There is a surplus in Inland Wetlands and Watercourses due to Permit/Application fees for the 280 Salmon Brook Street application. Account 46038 Miscellaneous has a surplus because of a rebate from CIRMA, the town’s insurance carrier. Expenditures are normal. Supplemental tax bills will go out in December.
Town Manager Ward reported all capital project committees have met at least once so far. He will report on their progress once a month.
The School Building Committee will do a walk through at the high school in October.
The Solar Committee has sent out notices to abutting property owners. The Siting Council will need to approve the area to be used. Any reduction in the size of the project will result in a reduced cost and therefore, reduced revenue. The project needs to be flowing by April 2020.
The Bridges Committee has indicated the state will handle the design.
Town Manager Ward reported a letter has been sent to the Superintendent of Schools to see if the school system has any use for the Kearns building. Because the state has a limit on spending, he indicated they probably will not want the property. The Town is exploring other options.
It has been reported that bear sightings are up in Granby but are not a threat at this time. Town Manager Ward indicated he thinks the answer will be on the state level. The issue will be up for discussion at next year’s legislative session. Granby Department of Public Works (DPW) is checking with Paine’s to see if bear-proof trash cans could be made available.
Herbicide and Pesticide
Granby DPW has reduced its use of Glyphosate to 63 ounces this summer. It was applied in and around flower beds, blacktop parking lot edges, and bleachers. DPW is looking into purchasing and using two units that are designed to burn foliage both on roadway edges and ornamental beds. The backpack unit is approximately $3,500 and requires one person. The roadside unit runs around $5,500 and requires two people. These are options that are being considered that would further reduce the use of Glyphosate.
Town Manager Ward congratulated recent retiree DPW worker Warren (Scott) Chamberlain for his 36 years of service to the Town of Granby.
On A Motion by Selectman Ohannessian, seconded by Selectman Neumann, the board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to recess the regular Board of Selectmen meeting at 7:50 p.m.
First Selectman Kuhnly called the executive session of the Board of Selectmen to order at 7:53 p.m.
Present: B. Scott Kuhnly, Sally King, James Lofink, Mark Neumann, Edward Ohannessian, and Town Manager John D. Ward.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss collective bargaining matters. The executive session adjourned at 8:01 p.m. At 8:02 p.m. the regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen resumed.
On A Motion by Selectman Neumann, seconded by Selectman Ohannessian, the Board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to adjourn the regular meeting at 8:02 p.m.
John D. Ward
Present: B. Scott Kuhnly, Sally King, James Lofink, Mark Neumann, Edward Ohannessian, John D. Ward, Town Manager; and Student Liaison Jillian Thrall
No public addressed the Board.
On A Motion by Selectman Neumann, seconded by Selectman King, the board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of October 7 as presented.
Unfinished or Tabled Business
Consideration of Collective Bargaining Agreement with IBPO
The Town has reached an agreement with the Granby Police Union, International Brotherhood of Police Officers (“IBPO”) Local 581. The agreement reached includes a one-year extension until June 30, 2020, as well as wages for 2019-20 at +2.25 percent. That amount equates to approximately $31,637, retroactive to July 1, 2019. This amount is already in the budget contingency fund.
On A Motion by Selectman King, seconded by Selectman Neumann, the Board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to approve the changes to the existing agreement and that all other terms of the contract will continue for one year, until June 30, 2020.
Department of Social Services
Sandra Yost, director of Department of Human Services, stated the Granby Human Services mission is to connect residents with programs and services that support, enhance, and improve their quality of life. Social Services offers the Renter’s Rebate program for the elderly and disabled and has received 40 completed applications. The Energy Assistance Program has just opened for the heating season and will assist approximately 90 households. The holiday sponsorship program will distribute 45 Thanksgiving baskets and 50 children will be receiving gifts this holiday season. These programs are supported by local churches, civic groups, the high school National Honor Society, and individual donations.
Youth Services provides counseling services to 37 families. A new initiative this year is the Youth Services Bureau podcast series. The first podcast broadcast release to Apple Podcast, The Adolescent Brain, is scheduled for the end of this week. It is 20 minutes or less and can be listened to while in the car or while waiting to pick up children. It is hoped this will reach more parents, as last year’s Round Table Discussion only had an average attendance of four to six people. Another podcast to follow soon is The Latest on Vaping.
Other activities for youth include scheduled dances and open rec evenings at the Senior Center.
Senior Services has 455 paid members; 97 of which are from out of town. There are 106 registered van riders. There has been an increase in active participation. Programs show an increase in the number of men participating, as well as an increase in participants age 65 and younger.
Two nationally recognized evidence-based programs are being offered and are fully funded through cooperation with the Connecticut Healthy Living Collective. They are Tai Ji Quan Movement for Better Balance and Aging Mastery Program, both presented in the most recent program guide.
Challenges: Human Services is operating at near capacity. Program scheduling has become very creative. Activities are being scheduled in other buildings, including the Pond House at Salmon Brook Park and Holcomb Farm, as well as the Town Hall Meeting Room. Available office space has become a challenge as well.
The question was asked if the Kearns School building would be a place that would fit the need for space. If the building was brought up to usable conditions, it would be a consideration.
Department of Public Works
Kirk Severance, Director of Public Works, reported that DPW has 16 full-time employees, three part-time employees that do custodial work and snow removal around the buildings, and six employees that work at the transfer station on a rotating schedule. During the summer season, May through August, it employs three college students to do the grounds. The staff maintains and services all vehicles, including police vehicles. They maintain town roads, six parking lots, and tree work, including removal and trimming. This past year there were 160 requests for tree work and they were able to fulfill 60 requests. Storm related issues resulted in 51 call outs this past year as well.
Severance noted his greatest concern is the sewers/pump stations and their functionality.
Recreation and Leisure Services
Director of Recreation and Leisure Services Kristine Vincent reported the department’s mission is to provide services for young and old. Activity participation this past year was well above the previous year. After-school and adult programing is increasing. The department has three full-time employees, and an additional 50 seasonal staff employees. Only the director position is funded by the general fund. The other employee salaries are funded by program fees. With the new minimum wage law in effect, it will be challenging. Raising fees and cutting programs will be necessary to balance the increase in minimum wage. Vincent reported the pond dock is in need of replacement. Also, with the increase of walkers at the park, there is a need for clearly marked walking trails.
Registrar of Voters
Registrar of Voters Laura Wolfe (D) reported there are two part-time Registrars: herself and Sonja Smith (R), and two part-time Deputy Registrars. In addition, they may have anywhere from two to 60 poll workers for elections, primaries, caucuses, and referendum events. Wolfe reported they have gone from paying $4,675 for poll workers in 2004 to almost all volunteer poll workers and only a handful of paid poll workers for a total of $241 in 2018. She estimates the volunteer staff is saving the town over $5,000.
The registrars’ duties include registering voters, maintaining the voter registry, providing supervised absentee voting, maintaining election equipment, training poll workers, conducting elections, primaries, referenda, audits, mandated recounts and helping at town caucuses.
Registrars are now required to complete a certification program at the cost of $4,000 per Registrar. In order to access the Connecticut Voter Registration System, new computer update requirements entailed replacing the ten-year-old computers and creating individual email addresses.
Granby won the Democracy Cup in 2018 for the highest participation in a mid-sized town. She believes Granby is the only town in the state that is fortunate enough to have volunteer staff at the polls.
Consideration of Adoption of Conservation and Development Implementation Plan
The board received recommendations from the Plan of Conservation and Development Implementation Committee to articulate a vision and outline goals and recommended actions to help achieve those goals. The Plan of Conservation and Development was adopted on Sept. 27, 2016, and became effective Oct. 17, 2016. Committee members prioritized goals and identified the primary parties necessary in achieving these goals. A spreadsheet was presented that summarized the over 100 goals. It was recommended the plan be sent to recipients and solicit their feedback to the board in 90 days.
On A Motion by Selectman Lofink, seconded by Selectman Ohannessian, the board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to forward the Plan of Conservation and Development Implementation Plan to lead entities and ask for a response back to the Board of Selectmen within 90 days.
On A Motion by Selectman Lofink, seconded by Selectman King, the Board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to appoint Kent R. McCord (D) 135 Hungary Road, to the Solar Project Committee.
Consideration of Authorization to Execute State of Connecticut Contracts
The Town is proposing to enter into a contract with the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT). It is a pilot program that will give the town a 20/80 split for the cost of design engineering the Donahue Road Bridge over Belden Brook, as well as similar contracts for Moosehorn Road Bridge over Moosehorn Brook and the Simsbury Road Bridge. The state will handle the design in this pilot program, which will provide a cost savings for the Town.
On A Motion by Selectman Neumann, seconded by Selectman King, the Board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to authorize the Town Manager to execute and deliver any instruments, contracts, agreements or certificates necessary to carry out the planning, design, construction, reconstruction, repair, and resurfacing of the various bridges comprising of the bridge improvement program approved by the voters at referendum, including without limitation agreements for the development of contract plans, specifications, and estimates between the Town and the Department of Transportation. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the board reserves to itself the right to review contracts for the actual construction or reconstruction work prior to execution by the Town Manager.
Town Manager Reports
Budget Operations – September
Town Manager Ward briefly reviewed Budget Operations for September indicating everything is pretty straight forward with collections being the same as August. A payment is expected later this month from the state for Education Cost Sharing. Everything is on target.
Town Manager Ward reported Administration Finance Officer Barbarajean Scibelli has once again won the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. Congratulations to Barbarajean and her staff for achieving this accomplishment.
On Oct. 23, Granby Police Officers Paul Walzak and Jerry Dowd will receive Medals for Meritorious Service from the State Police for their action on Dec. 29, 2018 addressing and safely resolving an armed conflict in Hartland.
Building Official Bill Volovski has announced his retirement effective Jan. 20, 2020.
The seminar for board and commission members will be held in the Town Hall Meeting Room on Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m.
New Laws effective Oct. 1
The new minimum wage increase begins Oct. 1 with other increases to occur over the next four years.
Sexual Harassment training is mandatory for new employees within six months of hiring with an update required every 10 years.
As of July 1, first responders (police and fire personnel, but not EMTs), can now receive Medical Benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for certain qualifying events and are protected from retaliation.
The building committees have all met at least twice. Approved projects are being reviewed for priorities and the establishment of timelines. There is still one vacancy on the School Projects Building Committee.
Staff is preparing the Notice and Request for Quote (RFQ) for Design Services for two bridge projects, Griffin Road and Hungary Road. Moosehorn, Donahue and Simsbury Road bridges are under contract with DOT as discussed earlier in the meeting.
The School Projects Building Committee will tour the high school to look at the facilities and prioritize the projects.
The Solar Project Committee is looking at a potential reduction of the project due to wetlands. If the project is reduced, it may not be feasible to move forward. There was board discussion noting any reduction of the project would result in a reduction of output. Selectman Ohannessian inquired how big the changes might be. Town Manager Ward noted it could be significant and possibly result in a 50 to 75 percent reduction in the size of the wattage. The Solar Committee has asked the engineers to come back with accurate numbers and a new proposal. It would be prudent to bring this back to the board when more information is available.
On A Motion by First Selectman Kuhnly, seconded by Selectman King, the board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to have the Solar Committee report back to the Board of Selectmen with updated information on the project.
Non-Bonding Capital Projects
The roof on the main barn at Holcomb Farm will be replaced in November.
Hail storm roof repairs have been finished at the Police Station, Town Hall, and Senior Center. It is still ongoing at the Middle School.
Cossitt Library will use grant money to hire an Historic Architect for repairs. A RFQ is being sent out now.
The Kearns Community Center has applied for an Urban Act Grant. An inquiry has been sent to Interim Superintendent Winzler regarding any interest by the Granby BOE in using the Kearns School building for school purposes. It has not been discussed to date. An inquiry to Capitol Region Educational Council (CREC) has resulted in no interest in the site.
Administration is planning on presenting a detailed report on the options to the Board.
On a motion by First Selectman Kuhnly, seconded by Selectman King, the board voted unanimously (5-0-0) to adjourn the meeting at 8:10 p.m.
John D. Ward