Zooming in on town activities

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As I write this article, I am neither masked nor gloved. While in the confines of home, I am unfettered. Not so, elsewhere. These unusual times will be remembered, and will influence our future behaviors, but I hold dear the hope that our social distances will diminish, and our community bonds strengthen as time moves on.

Town Hall, although not open as usual, is conducting business. It seems all departments have adjusted to the times, and permits are being issued, births and deaths recorded and the administrative duties fulfilled—just differently. The libraries, senior center, parks and recreation, public works and public safety officers are still interacting with the public: telephonically, through mail and email, in social media and through webinars, blogs and other means. Services continue, and will continue to adapt to the times.

Town officials, essential boards and commissions have been meeting virtually using Zoom rather than face-to-face. Those meetings are all posted at granby-ct.gov, are open to the public and recorded for viewing at gctv16.org

The Town Budget passed, with no change in the mill rate. After announcing that the mill rate would stay flat in the proposed 2020-21 budget, the Boards of Finance, Education and Selectmen hosted a Public Hearing via Zoom on April 13, which was attended by only a dozen taxpayers and supplemented with a few email exchanges. Following the meeting, based on on feedback and in concordance with the Governor’s executive orders, the BOF voted unanimously to adopt the budget and set the mill rate at 39.61, the same rate as the previous budget.

Taxes are due July 1, or pay within 90 days with 3 percent interest. The Board of Selectmen adopted the Governor’s Low Interest Rate Program executive order granting all taxpayers an additional 90 days (until Oct. 1) to make payments subject to only a 3 percent annual interest rate, versus the standard 18 percent rate for late payments. This applies to both real estate and personal property (motor vehicle) taxes, and is open to all Granby taxpayers, individuals and businesses. There is no requirement of proof of “significant economic impacts by COVID-19” or other requirements. Your tax bill will contain more specifics on the program.

Roundabout construction will begin May 5, according to the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The project at the intersection of East Street, Salmon Brook St. (10/202) and Notch Road was put to bid this winter and construction is planned to begin the first week of May. Construction will continue through the summer and fall and is expected to be completed by November. Engineering studies are also being conducted at the town green intersections for the future re-alignment of the intersections of Routes 20, 10/202 and 189, so expect to see test holes being dug and other activities.

Bear-resistant trash containers are still available, but supply is very limited. The Department of Public Works has received the first shipment and they are going fast. Containers have already been provided to Granby residents who signed up early and, as of this writing, there are still a few available. Contact DPW at 860-653-8960 for details. If there is continued demand, a second order for these special-built containers could take up to six months to arrive.

While we wait for the easing of social distancing and other restrictions, remember that behind these masks we are all enduring the same situation, with the same hardships, and for some maybe even more. On my walks and shopping forays I notice that people seem to be shying away from each beyond social distancing. Less of eye contact, and less “howdy” exchanges. We’re still neighbors and a community—let’s not let social distance ruin our social graces. The enemy is a virus, not the person in front of us. Let’s look into the eyes above the mask, give warm acknowledgments or greetings and look forward to seeing more of each other this summer. Best to you all, neighbors, stay safe and well.