May 18, 2020
Present via Zoom: B. Scott Kuhnly, Glenn Ballard, Sally King, Mark Neumann, Edward Ohannessian, John D. Ward, Town Manager
On A Motion by Sally King, seconded by Mark Neumann, the board voted (5-0-0) to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of May 4 with the correction by Neumann of section VIII, to read: Selectman Neumann, Republican Town Committee member not chairman, as stated in the minutes.
Unfinished or tabled business
Consideration of RFP for broker services for Kearns School
The administration wants to proceed with issuing an RFP for a real estate broker for the purposes of selling the F.M. Kearns Primary School, located at 5 Canton Road. A draft contract was presented to the board. It was reaffirmed that general practice is if a broker finds a willing and able buyer, their commission is earned even if the seller decides not to go forward with the sale.
In addition, whether town-voter approval should be added to the RFP was mentioned. John Ward noted that by town charter, any sale of the town property has to be approved by a citizen vote not just a vote by the Board of Selectmen or the Board of Finance at a Town Meeting. It was recommended to add “potential sale is subject to town voter approval.” If there are simple changes that don’t change the intent of the RFP, Ward can make those changes.
On a motion by King, seconded by Neumann, the board voted (5-0-0) to reaffirm their approval to issue an RFP for a real estate broker for 5 Canton Road.
Resignations and appointments to be considered
Vacancies: Conservation Commission (1).
Kuhnly stated if anyone would like to serve on a board or commission, they should contact Christine Chinni of the Democratic Town Committee, Mark Fiorentino of the Republican Town Committee, or the Town Manager’s Office.
Consideration of Connecticut Department of Transportation Award Grant
This is the second year of a two-year grant from the Connecticut Department of Transportation, which is a grant we have received since FY2006-07, and requires some matching from the town. The grant funding is combined with municipal dollars to employ a full-time Senior Van Driver. The grant application for Fiscal Years 2020-22 was approved at the BOS meeting on April 15, 2019 to be submitted to the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation. The grant amount for FY2020-22 is for $28,641 and requires a 50 percent match that is already factored into the Senior Center budget.
On A Motion By King, seconded by Neumann, the board voted (5-0-0) to approve the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation grant award of $28,641. As in the past, a Board of Finance appropriation will be requested.
Consideration of transfers to suspense
This is an annual agenda item. It is a list of accounts that the Collector of Revenue deems to be uncollectable after years of attempts to collect them. This year, the Tax Collector is recommending $29,589.40 be transferred to the suspense book. Taxes due on the list remain collectible if the parties can be found. This otherwise identifies for the books that these funds cannot be collected.
On A Motion by Neumann, seconded by King, the board voted (5-0-0) to approve the transfer of the May 11, 2020 uncollected tax list of $29,589.40 to the suspense book.
Consideration of Pomeroy Brace Foundation Grant Award
The Friends of the Cossitt Library successfully applied for and obtained a grant award from Pomeroy Brace Foundation in the amount of $28,000 to be spent on a Pre-Development Studies Project for the Cossitt Library building. This does not require any matching funds from the town. However, the project will increase the expenditure line item in the Capital Equipment/Improvement Fund that was not budgeted in the Fiscal-Year -2019-20-adopted budget. The grant check to the Friends of Cossitt Library issued by the Hartford Foundation will also increase the Miscellaneous Revenue line item in the Capital Equipment/Improvement Fund by the amount of $28,000. This is basically an accounting issuing showing the money coming in and going out.
On a motion by Neumann, seconded by King, the board voted (5-0-0) to approve increases of Miscellaneous Revenue and the Cossitt Library Pre-Development Studies Project line items in the Capital Equipment/Improvement Fund budget by $28,000 and forwards this request to the Board of Finance for approval.
Consideration of establishment of a Long-Term Recovery Committee
The Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) and the Governor’s Office have requested that the town create a Long-Term Recovery Committee to assist Granby in the recovery from the impact of COVID-19.
It has been the experience of FEMA that these long-term committees are very useful. The goals of this committee are to assess and identify the needs of the community and to recommend solutions for funding, assistance, and how much and how often. The format will then be folded into the town’s emergency plan for future disasters.
The committee would consist of nine members and shall be appointed by the Board of Selectmen. Each member will represent a different interest: clergy, business owner, restaurant owner, social services, attorney, medical field, etc. The town manager will be taking suggestions of interested individuals and will return the appointments to the Board of Selectmen.
A Long-Term Recovery Coordinator is also sought to chair the committee and be the liaison to the Region 3 DEMHS Long Term Coordinator.
Those working with this committee will be Town Manager Ward, Emergency Management Director Eric Vincent, interim Town Planner Dominic Caruso, and Town Planner Abigail Kenyon when she returns. The biggest challenge will be keeping the scope focused because it is almost open-ended. It was noted that this committee will not replace the CERT Team and the Long-Term Recovery Committee Coordinator is a volunteer position, as are all members of the committee.
On a side note, the Ward thanked the CERT TEAM for helping Sandra Yost, Senior Center Director, in delivering food to inbound seniors during this crisis.
Neumann agreed this is a worthwhile committee and an action that is needed to address the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes more than a temporary committee, it could possibly be part of the charter and brought up for discussion during the next Charter Revision. Ward indicated this is a temporary committee for a minimum of six months or most likely one year. After that time, it could become permanent or establish protocols/guidelines to merge into the Town Emergency Manual. The committee may also disband. At this point, the town is just reacting to a directive.
On A Motion by Kuhnly, seconded by King, the board voted (5-0-0) to create the Long-Term Recovery Committee with the charge as presented.
Town Manager Reports
Budget Operations–April 2020
Ward reviewed the budget operations for April indicating Local Departmental Revenues to be at 133 percent. Tax collection is at 102 percent and Auto Supplements are 50 percent higher than expected. Building permits have doubled the projected budgeted amount totaling 205 percent and Inland Wetland permits are double the budgeted amount as well, totaling 239 percent. General Fund Revenues are at 101 percent. Fringe Benefits are something to monitor as it is at 96 percent and we still have May and June to pay for. Emergency Management is almost over budget. We are hoping for at least three-quarters of the money to be returned. Total General Fund Expenses are at 84 percent.
Ward presented a rundown of the current COVID-19 expenses. The town expenses and Board of Education expenses to date are approximately $77,000. Reimbursement requests for these are being submitted to FEMA through the state. FEMA pays 75 percent of the allowable cost. There is no time frame for payment. Ward will provide regular updates.
Kuhnly reported there is a change in the Phase 1 openings this week. Salons will not be opening as originally stated and will now open on June 1. The state is asking Granby to bypass zoning regulations in regard to restaurants wanting to use parking lots and roads to set up tables. This will be challenging for the Health District. Phase 2 will begin in late June or early July. Phase 3 will be in August or September, which will be geared toward some of the larger spectator gatherings. It is evolving on a daily basis.
First Selectman Reports
Kuhnly thanked all town staff and departments for taking care of town services, its citizens and all they do in this crazy world that we are living in right now. He also read a letter from Jim Hall, on behalf of the American Legion, announcing the cancellation of the Memorial Day Parade and events. The Legion will continue the tradition of placing flags in the main cemetery and the nine outlying cemeteries and do so in a safe manner.
On A Motion by King, seconded by Kuhnly, the board voted (5-0-0) to adjourn the meeting.
June 1, 2020
Present via Zoom: B. Scott Kuhnly, Glenn Ballard, Sally King, Mark Neumann, Edward Ohannessian, and John D. Ward, Town Manager
First Selectman Kuhnly read a statement indicating the Town of Granby wants to start a conversation and will be hosting a forum to discuss racial issues as they impact the town. The idea is to start a conversation to generate ideas to start inclusion for all, and to learn with open minds and open hearts. Information of when and where will be posted on the town website.
Kelly Ann Moffa, 20 Copper Hill Road, addressed the board with a suggestion. She believes there is a potential for Granby to join the Sustainable Connecticut program. She has been an intern with the program and is now working for the Capitol Region and Granby is in her region. She indicated this is a great program and it would be easy for Granby to be certified as a sustainable town. Kuhnly asked her to send some information to the Town Manager about the program and how to get involved. Moffa briefly reviewed the program stating there are nine categories within the certification with two levels of certification, bronze and silver.
On A Motion by Selectman King, seconded by Selectman Neumann, the board voted (5-0-0) to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of May 18.
Consideration of Establishment of Long-Term Recovery Committee
The purpose of this committee is to help the town prepare for future disasters. It has been the experience of FEMA that such committees are helpful. The committee will come up with a list of needs of the town and a plan to address those needs. Town Manager Ward has prepared a list of proposed appointees. Of those appointees, he has appointed David Watkins, former Granby Chief of Police as the coordinator of the committee. He is an excellent choice with very impressive service to the town. A list of names and the category each member would be representing was mentioned. The makeup of the committee is requested to consist of a broad spectrum of citizens from the community. It is intended that the committee may reach out to other citizens in each category for input and suggestions. It was noted that the ninth proposed appointee had been selected after the memo was written. The appointee selected is Ginny Wutka, a business owner in town.
The Ex-Officio Members are:
B. Scott Kuhnly, First Selectman; John Ward, Town Manager; Jordan Grossman, Superintendent of Schools
Proposed Motion One: The Board of Selectmen hereby appoints David Watkins as Granby’s Long-Term Recovery Coordinator.
Proposed Motion Two: The Board of Selectmen hereby appoints the following individuals to Granby’s Long-Term Recovery Committee: Philip Main, Sandra Yost, Lori Blackburn, Eric Vincent, Walter Mission, Clark Pfaff, and Sandy Flagg.
Proposed Motion Three: John Ward and Jordan Grossman are appointed ex officio to the committee.
On A Motion by King, seconded by Neumann, the board voted (5-0-0) to approve the proposed three motions.
Consideration of Proposals for Connecticut Neighborhood Assistance Act Tax Credit Program
One application has been received from Foxfield F.A.R.M (For a Recovery Mission). This is to subsidize program costs of the six-week training course offered to U.S. Veterans and First Responders with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
King and Ohannessian both commented they think this is a great program and that it targets the right people.
On A Motion by Ohannessian, seconded by King, the board voted (5-0-0) to approve the application received at the public hearing and forward for submission to the Department of Revenue Services.
Consideration of Solid Waste Fund Appropriation for Transfer Station
Ward reported Kirk Severance is recommending some maintenance be done to improve the Town’s Transfer Station.
The gates are showing their age and should be replaced. He has a quote for sliding gates in the amount of $6,000.
Trees have grown to the entire top of the transfer station and should be cut down. They do not have the equipment to do this in a timely fashion. Estimated cost for the removal of trees is $5,000.
It is time to grind out the brush again this year. Estimated cost to do this is $7,000.
None of these were budgeted in the fiscal year 2019-20 adopted budget. An appropriation from the Solid Waste Fund balance in the amount of $18,000 to fund these projects is requested.
On A Motion by Neumann, seconded by King, the board voted (5-0-0) to authorize an appropriation of $18,000 from the Solid Waste Fund Balance to fund three Transfer Station projects and forward this request to the Board of Finance to approve.
Consideration of Capital Equipment Loan
The fiscal year 2019-20 Town Budget includes approval for the loan purchase of buses, maintenance equipment, and technology equipment as recommended by the Board of Education for small capital purchases.
The municipal capital plan for Fiscal Year 2019-20 includes a purchase of a conventional cab truck.
In addition to the usual small capital five-year loan agreement, the town is asking for the approval of:
A two-year loan program through the Q and D fund for the Board of Education’s one–to-one computing program to purchase Chrome Books for students in the amount of $83,578 at a rate of 2.20 percent
A three-year loan program to replace five copiers in Town Hall offices in the amount of $16,000 at a rate of 2.30 percent
With a lease program, the town is able to spread purchase costs over several years. The Board of Finance recommends this practice. Liberty Bank offers an interest rate of 2.25 percent for a five-year loan agreement. Because of the long-term relationship the town has with the bank, Liberty Bank is recommended.
Ohannessian was unclear what the $543,120 was for. The breakdown for that amount was given: Town truck, $171,407; Technology equipment, $250,652; and Maintenance equipment, $121,061.
It was explained that the purchase has already been made with general fund dollars. We are now refinancing that amount to pay back the general fund for this fiscal year.
Whereas, the Town of Granby has entered or is entering into Equipment Lease/Purchase Agreements (“Promissory Note”) and Loan Agreements in an amount up to $543,120 for five years, $83,578 for two years and $16,000 for three years, with Liberty Bank;
Now Therefore Be It Resolved, that these Agreements are hereby approved, and that the action of the official of the Town of Granby in signing these Agreements on behalf of it be, and is hereby, ratified, confirmed, and approved; and
Be It Further Resolved, that the Town Manager of the Town of Granby, be, and is hereby authorized, empowered, and directed to sign on its behalf the Agreements and any addenda, schedules, notes, UCC financing statements, or other instruments issued under the provisions of the Agreement, and any other instruments or documents which may be necessary or expedient in connection with agreements upon or in fulfillment of the provisions of the Agreements.
On A Motion by King, seconded by Neumann, the board voted (5-0-0) to adopt the resolution above.
Town Manager Reports
Ward reported Granby Public Library has started a Curbside Pickup Program. Residents may call and order items they wish to borrow. They will be gathered and ready for pick up in the lobby from noon to 3 p.m. Hours may be expanded at a later date. Director McCue reported on-line services have quadrupled in the last few months.
In partnership with the Farmington Valley Health District and Priority Urgent Care of Unionville, the town will sponsor free drive-through COVID-19 testing in the parking lot in front of the Senior Center on June 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Anyone interested in getting tested is encouraged to call and be evaluated before June 8. The phone number is 860-470-7710.
Phase 1 for re-opening began May 20. Seven restaurants in Granby have filed for permits for outdoor seating.
Phase 2 is the next target date scheduled for June 17. Restaurants may open indoors, gyms, movie theaters, museums and public libraries may also open. Youth sports may begin and social gatherings of up to 50 people may be allowed.
Phase 3 is targeted for July 20 with more openings and gatherings of up to 100 people being allowed Everyone eligible to vote in the Aug. 11 primary will be sent an absentee ballot application in the mail by the Secretary of State. By Executive Order 7QQ, all voters may vote by Absentee Ballot if there is not a federally approved and widely accepted vaccine available at the time.
The polls will be open for the Aug. 11 primary. The Registrar of Voters has a safety program in place.
Bond Projects Update
The firm WMC has been chosen as the design engineer for the Griffin and Hungary Road bridges.
The State has begun the engineering design work for Moosehorn Bridge and construction will likely be 2022 or 2023.
Donahue and Simsbury Road bridges will likely begin construction in 2022 or 2023.
Middle School Roof: Northeast Collaborative Architects was chosen to perform architectural services. Preliminary paperwork has been filed with the Department of Administrative Services for the school construction grant. Project will go out to bid soon.
Building #1 Staircase and Science Classroom: Northeast Collaborative Architects was chosen to perform architectural services. Technical drawings and specifications were shared with the School Project Building Committee on April 23. The grant application is scheduled to be submitted on June 10. Both committees have been very busy. They are hoping for construction to begin next year.
The High School Roof replacement timeline is dictated by the Department of Administrative Services. This grant will be considered in November 2021.
Ward also gave an update on MIRA. They were not able to get the funds to update the facility. It looks as though the waste will be shipped out-of-state, most likely to Ohio or Pennsylvania. There has been no official notice as of yet. It is not likely the state will be coming up with the 3 to 5 million dollars to update the facility. Our contract will be good until 2027. We have until next year to opt out if we choose. Ward filed an RFP for alternatives and has received one response. He is still evaluating that.
Selectman Ballard inquired if there have been any updates with Agbotics. Ward reported he has requested a written plan from them. We need something more solid to work with. Kuhnly would like to see them come back for a question and answer session.
First Selectman Reports
Kuhnly re-read the statement he read at the beginning of the meeting. He also reminded people of the town sponsored COVID-19 testing on June 8. More information can be found on the town website.
On A Motion by King, seconded by Ballard, the board voted (5-0-0) to adjourn the meeting.
John D. Ward, Town Manager