In the wake of COVID, town’s economic health is encouraging

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Coming soon—vaccines for all who want them! If there’s a wait to get an appointment or a wait in line to be vaccinated, it’s nothing compared to the YEAR wait since the pandemic started. So do your part to protect your neighbors as well as yourself—please get vaccinated.

Public budget workshops are over, and the mill rate looks like it will be kept to zero again, pending any last-minute surprises. Read details on the town website ( where the “budget book” should be posted under Public Documents by April 1. Next steps: Public Hearing on April 12 and Vote on April 22, unless special COVID related circumstances change the format.

General Fund is almost $9 million. The General Fund balance has doubled since the levels of 2010-2017, and the Board of Finance, at the time of this writing, is considering ways to put that balance to work for taxpayers. Like your personal savings, there is a need to keep cash available for short-term needs but cash accounts do not earn much interest (if any). Investment accounts typically earn more but do carry risk. For taxpayer protection, regulations limit the type of investments municipalities can make, and the BOF will be making any recommendations deemed prudent in the final budget proposal.

Grand List increases. This year the Grand List, or value of taxable property in town, increased once again, this time by 1.5 percent which will generate over $500K in tax revenue. This continues a trend started two years ago, following several years of less than a half percent growth. Continued development of the Copper Brook Circle single family homes and the Ridgewood apartment complex reportedly contributed to the increase. It should be noted that the number and value of home sales in Granby have been growing robustly during the pandemic period. Revaluation is coming in a couple of years and that will re-balance the distribution of taxes among homeowners, based on whether your property value increased more, or less, than other homes due to this home buying surge.

Town departments are busy, as evidenced by their presentations during budget workshops and the Measures of Activity posted in the budget book. Some highlights: Absentee Ballots went up almost 10 times (of course) and registered voters grew eight percent. P and Z Commercial applications doubled to 15, with only four residential applications. Building permits came down from the Hail Storm highs, but up 15 percent from previous years as people stayed home and made improvements. Social service assistance (fuel, rent and food) all increased over previous highs. Department heads spoke to the significant changes that did not show up—such as number of buildings cleaned stayed the same, but frequency soared due to pandemic-related cleaning measures. The Senior Van delivered food to seniors, rather than transport seniors to activities—and still provided rides to medical appointments and grocery shopping.

Re-opening plans are underway. Every department spoke to the changes they made to adapt to COVID conditions, and the changes they are planning once vaccination levels rise and we re-open.

Be safe and well, and please get vaccinated. So maybe we can enjoy summer or fall, together! 

­–Jim Lofink