What a change a month brings. I am thankful for the daily walks I take with my lovely wife in and about Granby. Reminds me how the world is larger than my phone and computer screens. Keeping any one perspective is hard with so many different issues. In town hall, focus on the budget, projects and the daily workflows suddenly had to respond to the health crisis as well. The town work does go on, but differently. Read on for some recaps on budgeting, projects and crisis management, knowing full well that the situation is evolving and changing so rapidly that by the time you read this, much may have changed. And so it goes, my neighbors. Stay safe and well.
Town response to the health emergency
On March 18, Town Manager John Ward declared a local state of emergency for the Town of Granby, as had been declared earlier by the state and federal government. On March 20, Granby town offices were closed as staff shifted to the new model of keeping social distance and/or working remotely if at risk. Staff is still (I hope) accessible via email and phone, and a physical Drop Box has been placed outside Town Hall for receiving forms and correspondence. The safety of both residents and town staff is of the utmost priority, and town hall services will continue but in new ways reflecting the changing situation.
Eric Vincent entered his second year on the job as Town Emergency Management Director facing what could be the largest crisis in over a generation. Emergency planning coordinates with many local, state and federal agencies in planning for contingencies, and Vincent says that the Granby residents have been tremendous to work with, including the CERT team volunteers. For local information the state website (ct.gov/coronavirus) is a valuable resource, as well as the Farmington Valley Health District (fvhd.org) and the CDC (cdc.gov). Vincent says lessons are being learned every day, and plans that have been developed and in place over many years are constantly evolving to meet the challenges. The basics of the CDC guidelines – washing hands and surfaces, keeping social distance, self-isolating if symptomatic – are very important for all residents to follow.
Town services are affected
As of this date (March 20) the public libraries, parks and recreation programs and Senior Center are closed or programming cancelled until further notice, with a few exceptions. Those residents who may be in urgent need of essential items, such as groceries, toiletries, pharmacy items, or other urgent needs, should contact Social Services at (860-844-5351) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For those members of our community who wish to volunteer or make a donation during this time, please contact Social Services. Know the town is grateful for your support.
Residents are encouraged to take advantage of a number of e-government services offered by the town during this crisis. See current information at granby-ct.gov, or call town hall (see list in box).
Bear-Resistant Trash containers will be available soon
As bears awake from hibernation (okay that’s a myth, especially this year) Granby Dept. of Public Works (DPW) has just placed an order for bear-resistant trash containers. These will be available for a fee. These have been purchased with Paine’s to cut costs and delivery is planned in late April. If you would like to get on the Wait List, with the understanding that there are a limited number available, contact DPW at 860-653-8960 and find out more about the trash container exchange program. Follow @Granby CT Department of Public Works on Facebook for further updates.
Budget preparation continues
By the time you read this, the Boards of Selectman (BOS) and Education (BOE) will have transmitted their operating budgets back the Board of Finance. The guideline to keep the tax impacts below a 2 percent increase is still in effect, and that means some cost cutting that will be further explained in the Drummer’s budget issue. As of this writing, the Town Meeting on the budget is still planned for April 13, 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium, and the referendum (machine vote) on April 27, from noon-8 p.m. at the Town Hall, as both are legally specified in the Town Charter. Watch the town website (granby-ct.gov) for developments.
Recap of some town projects
Bridges: Griffin and Hungary Road bridges are entering the design engineering phase, with construction planned to begin spring of 2021. Moosehorn bridge replacement is expected for April 2022. Donahue and Simsbury Road bridges will start construction likely the spring of 2023 or 2024.
School Projects: The middle school roof/HVAC metal roof has been repaired from hail damage, and the architect retained for the flat roof portion. Gutters and trim materials will be replaced after the roof is completed. The 18-year-old high school roof must be 20 years old to qualify for grant funding, so it will be replaced in 2021. Other projects are in the RFP process for architectural services.
Holcomb Farm: Roofs on the main barn and the workshop have been replaced, as well as portions of the farm house roof. A playscape and walkway are being budgeted, and a STEAP grant request prepared for new bathrooms in the main barn.
Cossitt Library: The architect has been contracted to prepare the facilities study.
Kearns former school property: After the BOS decision to seek a commercial broker to sell the property, a new factor surfaced. Town Manager Ward advised the BOS that in the case where a broker finds a qualified buyer, but a town vote does not approve the sale, the town could be liable to pay the broker fee in any case. As that had not been contemplated at the time of the decision, it will be brought back for discussion before releasing the RFP.
Thanks to you who called or wrote; your feedback is much appreciated. Continue to let me know how I’m doing at email@example.com and follow @GranbyDrummerOrg on Facebook for timelier, in-depth reporting. Even more importantly, if you see us out on a walk, smile, wave and say howdy. Be a good neighbor. We need each other, now perhaps more than ever. — Jim Lofink
Call for Assistance
Assessor’s Office: 860-844-5311
Building Department: 860-844-5318
Public Library: 860-844-5275
Public Works: 860-653-8960
Recreation Office: 860-653-8947
Registrar of Voters: 860-844-5300
Senior Center: 860-844-5352
Social Services: 860-844-5351
Tax Collector: 860-844-5315
Town Clerk: 860-844-5308
Town Manager: 860-844-5300
Youth Services: 860-844-5350