DECEMBER 6, 2021
Present: Mark Fiorentino, Sally King, Fred Moffa, Mark Neumann, Kelly Rome, Town Manager Erica Robertson.
Donna Nolan (R), 8 Olde Orchard Road, to the School Building Committee to fill a vacancy created by Jenny Emery. The term is indefinite.
Selectman Sally King was unanimously re-elected as Vice Chairman.
• The board voted unanimously to support registration in the Sustainable CT Municipal Certification Program.
• The board voted unanimously to adopt the Resolution for the Homeland Security Grant Program, Region 3, which allows Town Manager Robertson to work on these grants and programs along with Emergency Management Director Eric Vincent.
• The Agreement Between the Granby Board of Education and the Granby Education Association (dated July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2025) is on file in the Town Clerk’s Office.
• The board voted unanimously to authorize an additional appropriation of $30,500 from the General Fund balance to upgrade the Granby server infrastructure and forwards this request to the Board of Finance to approve. The current hardware server infrastructure is extremely outdated and has recently caused multiple outages. It is no longer supported on both a hardware and software level. All town documents are stored on the server and without it the town cannot function. Granby has neglected its IT for some time, and something needs to be done now. Town Manager Robertson is requesting this infrastructure be upgraded as soon as possible to avoid a catastrophic outage. This upgrade was not planned for in the FY 2021-2022 adopted budget.
Town Manager Report
Some highlights of the Town Manager’s Report include:
• Re-Valuation is on-going.
• The Assessors are working on the Grand List for 2021.
• American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA): Granby is entitled to $3,405,503.39 and has already received $1,702,751.69. The balance will be received in June 2022 and the best utilization of these funds needs to be determined.
• There are three vacancies in the Police Department. Recruitment for new officers is ongoing.
• The Griffin Road Bridge is scheduled to reopen to the public on Dec. 22, the first of five projects to be completed.
First Selectman Report
Fiorentino thanked the town manager for getting him up to speed. On behalf of the Board of Education, he announced its need for substitute teachers. Individuals need to be 18 years of age and a high school graduate. The schools are also in desperate need of bus drivers and there are hiring bonuses.
Fiorentino would also like to develop some strategic goals. There will be an agenda item in January to kick off the process. He is also looking at how to obtain input from community stakeholders.
The board voted unanimously to go into Executive Session to discuss the sale of real property.
December 20, 2021
Present: Mark Fiorentino, Fred Moffa, Mark Neumann, Kelly Rome, Town Manager Erica Robertson, John Bell, Student Liaison. Absent: Sally King
Plus-One budget 2022-2023
Erica Robertson presented the Plus-One Budget 2022-2023 that outlines budget expectations, obligations, big ticket and mandated items that drive the budget. The proposed budget is much higher than she would like, noting the following:
The union contracts have been settled and they are in the budget.
The budget detail shows two years of raises in the departments: last year’s raises that were moved from reserves to the line item accounts and this year’s raises.The salaries look high because of two years of raises, as well as the COLAs.
New costs related to the Police Accountability Act related to body cameras as well as a significant storage fee of $12,900 for the tapes to keep the data is included.
Gasoline and diesel fuel prices are up significantly from last year.
The largest increase is health insurance. The numbers provided from our insurance provider are up 20 percent, which equates to an increase of $200,000, as well as another $10,000 for other normal insurance renewals. The hope is to get those numbers down.
Contractual obligations increased to $460,000 due to the $210,610 increase in health insurance. Unless mandated, there will be no new programs.
Department requests for new positions/staffing levels included two police officers, one part-time maintainer for DPW, one part-time to full-time conversion for the Town Clerk’s Office, and 100 percent increase in Human Resources (currently 10 hours per week) and consulting engineer (currently 10 hour per month). These could not be fulfilled.
Lost Acres Fire Department requested an increase to $35,000 and Granby Ambulance requested $20,000.
Robertson cut $440,154 from departmental requests and added $176,154 or 1.45 percent to Contractual Obligations.
Tipping fees are up significantly for solid waste. They are expected to rise to $117/ton, possibly $120. In addition, software application contracts are increasing to $6,000.
Robertson summed up, saying the big drivers in the budget are currently health insurance, gas, utilities, and salaries. She noted additional hours are needed in IT. It is critical to town operations and additional discussion is needed. It is something to consider for strategic planning. In addition, staffing is at a bare minimum.
If projections are correct and we do only what we are obligated to do, we are close to 4 percent.
Robertson reported she will have a budget calendar soon and the Three Board Meeting is scheduled for January 18, 2022.
Discussion on a Strategic Plan for the Town of Granby
The board voted unanimously for the Town Manager and First Selectman to come back to the board with a framework for the strategic plan.
Town Manager Report
Cossitt Grant: The Friends of Cossitt Library have been awarded a $28,000 grant to complete Phase 1 of the exterior repairs. If the repairs of this project exceed the $28,000, the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance have approved additional funds up to $10,000 from the General Fund. This project will begin soon.
Tax collections continue to go well at 58 percent. The second collection is in January. Re-evaluation for property taxes are ongoing and auto supplement bills went out this month. Education cost sharing has received one of three installments. January and April should see payments due. The Town Clerk continues to receive a good number of recordings. Statutory collections are at 84 percent as of November. Building permits are at 95 percent. Open Farm Day is at 52 percent of revenue collected.
Miscellaneous revenue received: CIRMA and FEMA reimbursements are over $20,000. General Fund Revenues is at 53 percent.
Encumbered monies for General Government appear high as pertains to payroll. Payroll increases were in the reserves account, and it has been encumbered to the different department accounts. Building Inspection services are shared with the Town of Hartland for which they pay Granby. Overall, General Fund Expenses are at 55 percent for November.
First Selectman Report
Fiorentino thanked Habitat for Humanity and all the volunteers for the work they have done, including First Church and South Church who helped bring the Habitat program to town. He also noted his intention to get IBAC (Intra-Board Advisory Committee) back together again in January to go through the ARPA funds to try to create efficiencies there.
Mark Neumann mentioned he is a member of the Affordable Housing Committee and they are making good progress. They expect to have the plan ready for the board by June.
January 3, 2022
Present: Mark Fiorentino, Sally King, Fred Moffa, Mark Neumann, Kelly Rome, Town Manager Erica Robertson, Absent: Student Liaison John Bell
Director of Parks and Recreation Kristine Vincent presented an overview of the needs assessment survey administered by the Board of Parks and Recreation in the Fall of 2021. About 650 responses were received and overall residents and program participants are very satisfied with the services offered by the Parks and Recreation department. A majority of respondents agree funding should be from user fees and some tax dollars, maintaining parks should be a high priority for the town and that parks are well-maintained. The top three improvement opportunities identified were: an ice-skating area, a splashpad/water spray park and ADA accessible walking paths. Top program expansion opportunities included: more special events including concerts and festivals, more fitness classes and more general interest classes.
First Selectman Fiorentino fully supports the consideration of using America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the larger projects and requested Vincent and the Board of Parks and Recreation present a prioritized, detailed plan to the Board of Selectmen. Town Manager Robertson reiterated that this is a continuous conversation, and she can act as a liaison between the boards.
Richard P. Roberts was appointed Town Attorney for a two-year term ending January 8, 2024.
John E. Adams was reappointed Town Treasurer for a two-year term ending Jan. 8, 2024.
The following Republicans were reappointed:
Jennifer Jalbert and Walter Mission, Commission on Aging; Martin Schwager, Development Commission; David Tolli and Nicholas Dethlefsen, Inland Wetland and Watercourses Commission; and Jennifer Bilodeau, Kevin Hobson and Sheryl Litchfield, Parks and Recreation Board.
Selectman King will present the Democrats for reappointment at the next meeting.
Consideration of Plus-One Budget 2022-2023
The Town Manager’s Plus-One budget with a 5.29 percent increase in its current form will be sent to the Board of Finance for discussion. The Town Manager has identified the priorities and it is a fair representation of the current needs. Further work will be done at the budget workshops and there are many steps to go until the budget is finalized.
The board voted unanimously to approve holding the Three Board Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, at 7 p.m. in the Senior Center Community Room.
The Board authorized an additional appropriation of $1,300 from the Recreation Fund balance to fund the self-closing gate for the Salmon Brook Small Playground Project and forwards this request to the Board of Finance to approve.
Town Manager Report
Town Manager Robertson presented the framework for developing a set of strategic goals to the board including the objectives for establishing the goals and the individual deliverables and deadlines. The process is expected to take about eight months but may be adjusted due to other priorities. The goals should be finalized before the beginning of the FY24 budget process.
The Board authorized Fiorentino and Robertson to develop a set of strategic goals for the town and to add the update as a standing item on the agenda.
The Intra-Board Advisory Committee (IBAC) will be reconvened primarily to discuss the plan for ARPA funds.
Erica P. Robertson, Town Manager