By: Maria Moore
The Board of Selectmen met this past Tuesday, February 9 at 5:30 p.m. for a shorter meeting than usual so it wouldn’t conflict with the Board of Finance meeting scheduled in the same conference room for 7:00 p.m. that same evening. Â Following is a report of several of the items discussed at that meeting. Â A copy of the meeting agenda is included at the end of this report.
Item #3:Â Dr. Philip O’Reilly re: School Building Committee Request
Superintendent of New Hartford Schools Dr. Philip O’Reilly came to the Board of Selectmen meeting this past Tuesday, February 11, to answer the selectmen’s questions on the schools’ request for a Building Committee to be appointed for the work to be done at the Ann Antolini School; this request had been tabled at the last BOS meeting on January 26 pending Philip’s input, see our Janary 28 report Seniors, Schools Come To Selectmen…
After questioning Philip on different aspects of the work to be done and the need to establish a Building Committee at this time, a time of economic stress in the community at large, the selectmen unanimously decided not to put together a Building Committee to oversee the work at Ann Antolini school. Rather, the selectmen told Philip: “Come back in 2012″ to request a Building Committee.
Philip briefly outlined the projects that need to be undertaken at Ann Antolini School:
- the roof replacement;
- the replacement of windows and doors;
- asbestos abatement;
- boiler replacement.
These Â projects are described in detail in our September 30 report of the engineers’ presentation to the New Hartford Schools Board of Ed. Â Philip also mentioned another project, that of the grounds including the parking issues, which also needs to be addressed.
Philip emphasized that the boilers need to be addressed right away since they have cracks in them and the school has been cited by the state. Â Later in the meeting, Philip was asked about the cost to replace the boilers to which he responded: “If I had to say, a quarter million dollars, it could be more.” Â Asked what his plan was to address the boilers, he said: “If there is no Building Committee, we have to more forward on the boilers under our Capital account. We need to remove at least one oil tank, too.”
Among the selectmen’s questions was Â Tom Klebart’s: “Are there cost savings if do the projects at the same time?” Tom wanted to know. Â ”No, none.” Philip answered. Â Later he clarified that by saying that a Building Committee would be able to research that as well as the potential for tax credits for the projects. Â Tom also asked about the state of the roof, and Philip answered: “It had a leak last year, we addressed it. Right now it’s doing OK. We haven’t seen any leaks since.”
First Selectman Dan Jerram said that, with the town still having bonds on the other two schools and the wastewater treatment plant payments starting this year, he didn’t want to go to bond on Antolini. Â ”Pay cash, that’s the new economy!” Dan said. Â Selectman Bruce Gresczyk Â said he concurred with Dan to do the projects piecemeal.
Tom answered: “I’m not saying I want a bond right now. I just don’t like tabling things without adressing how the issues will be adressed.” And Philip agreed: “That’s the Board of Ed’s concern, too.” Â Tom continued:Â ”I would prefer to do the boilers under Capital expenditures. I want to lay things out and get a timetable in place ~ from the minute you start a job to when the payments start.”
In answer to Philip’s question: “When do you want me to approach you again?” Â The selectmen calculated back from when the Bakerville bond is paid off ~ in 2014 ~ and told Philip: “Come back in 2012.” Â Philip asked the selectmen to communicate their decision to the Board of Ed as its members had communicated directly to the BOS.
Going back to the boiler project, Bruce asked Philip if the schools’ board had the ability to handle the project. Â Philip answered that the board had “taken some heat” for handling the sidewalk project directly and, in retrospect, they should have hired a project manager. Â Roy Litchfield, Board of Finance member who was at the meeting and who has a construction management background, told Philip: “First of all you have to put out a bid spec or they’d (the building contractors) rake you right over the coals.” Â Philip agreed, saying: “I’m not comfortable moving forward without technical support.” Â Dan said he’d refer Philip to the Board of Finance, but Philip responded that it wouldn’t cost the Board of Ed anything to put out for proposals for bid specs.
Asked if he was comfortable with the outcome of his request, Philip answered:Â ”I’m comfortable we have a plan. Would I like to see the building project move right now? Absolutely! But I appreciate where the board is coming from.”
Item #4: Operations Updates
Among his operations updates, Dan informed the selectmen of the following:
RRDD#1 cuts 4th Quarter Assessment: Dan met with Jim Hart, Â who informed him that RRDD#1 was cutting its assessment for the 4th quarter to its member towns by almost 50%, a $30,000 savings for New Hartford.
Tax collection issues: Dan had met with Linda Sheffield, the town Tax Collector, and he said that Linda had informed him that there were tax collection issues, with some properties being delinquent. ” There are significant issues on collection right now.” Dan said, adding that that Tax Collector will come to the Board of Selectmen’s next meeting to provide them with more information.
Brown’s Corner: Dan said he was continuing the team work with the Rec Commission and that Rec had renamed Brown’s Corner as their top priority and they were reallocating their capital to that project, rather than to the several different projects to which they had originally allocated their resources. Â He added that John Maschi and Dan Eddy would be going to Planning and Zoning with some simplification of the plan that would decrease the cost of the project.
Meetings with town businesses: Dan said he and David Childs had visited several companies in the industrial park, including Perry Technology, Music Theater International and Jamco. Â ”All are holding their own well.” Dan said, adding that Jamco had reported an icing problem on the road and Bruce added that temporary repairs had been made. Â Dan also mentioned that he’d attended a Business Roundtable sponsored by Northwest Community Bank on the economy and its effects on local businesses.
Items #5 and #6: Â Appointments
Dan announced the following appointments: Â Steve Nolan to the Pension Board; Dave Buyak to the Conservation Commission; Joe Nerney to the WPCA; and Dave Krimmel who was appointed to the Economic Development Commission to replace Tria Case who has resigned from the commission. Â The final appointment announced was that of Dotty Craig from Ski Sundown to the Northwest Connecticut Visitors Bureau ~ which is now merging with the Southwest bureau, Dan added.
Item #7: Task Order for LEI (Lenard Engineering) for Sand/Salt Storage Facility
Dan said he was uncomfortable with the amount of the estimate, that it seemed a lot of money to him and he wanted to call them on the cost. Â The item was tabled.
Item #8: Correspondence from West Hill Association
Dan said he’d met with Nelson (“Skip”) Sly of the West Hill Association, of which the town is a member, and that the association was the recipient of a $4,000 grant to preserve West Hill Pond from runoff. Â The Association was asking the town for a contribution ~ of about $500 Dan said. Â The town pays about $400 for its annual membership and Dan clarified that they weren’t asking for an increase in the annual contribution. Â Roy asked if it could come out of the Rec budget and Dan answered: “I have eyes on their budget: it’s going to Brown’s Corner. Rec has been very generous to reallocate capital to Brown’s Corner: 60% of their budget is going to be moved in that direction.” “They’ve already given!” Roy responded. Â The selectmen approved giving $500 to the Association to get them started on their fundraising to do their stormwater survey.
Reappointment of Bruce Gresczyk as Interim Highway Superintendent, Tree Cutting Proceeds, Roads Survey
With the selectmen’s meeting coming to a close, Bruce brought up his reappointment. Â and the selectmen reappointed him until their next meeting.
Bruce and Dan reported that they were taking down a lot of trees around town, with the two biggest at Chapin Park; the one on the Route 44 side was dead, and the one near the Simplicity hairdressing business, Dan said, had a big hole in the center of it. The sad thing, Bruce said, was that just as they were finishing cutting down the one on the Route 44 side, the state showed up to take it down! Â Dan said it would be left to Brenda Schauffler, one of the two Tree Wardens he has appointed in addition to himself, to come up with suitable replacements for the two trees that had been cut down.
Regarding the roads, Bruce said he’d finished his survey of them and that he should be able to come up with a reasonable plan to repair them. Â Tom asked whether there was money in the town budget to do the work and Dan responded: “It depends on (Alesia) Kennerson and (Laura) Sundquist (Board of Finance Capital Expenditures Sub-committee members), if we budget smart!”
Item #10: Any Other Business to Come Before the Board
Les Archer, Animal Control Officer, who was at the meeting, told the selectmen that the Winsted Animal Control Officer was working on establishing a regional animal shelter which would be located at the Winsted sewer plant. Â He said Barkhamsted had indicated their interest in looking into the project and Les wanted to know if New Hartford was interested. Â New Hartford now boards animals at K-9 Kennel in Pine Meadow. Â Bruce said that, having in the past regulated regional animal shelters, the town probably has the most cost-effective situation now. Â The selectmen indicated their interest in the project, saying it didn’t cost anything to look into it.
The meeting ended at 6:45 p.m., one of its shorter meetings.
Addendum: After the meeting had ended, our reporter asked both Bruce and Dan what happened to the trees that they were cutting down. Â Bruce answered that what scavengers didn’t take ended up being taken to the dump. Â The trees are on the town’s right of way and technically are town property. Â Our reporter brought up the possibility of the wood being processed and sold as firewood, as FAVARH was doing in Canton, and using the proceeds to fund a social services program. Â However, that didn’t receive a positive response from the two selectmen.
To read the official minutes: of this Board of Selectmen meeting when they become available, please see the Minutes and Agendas section of the town’s municipal website.
Board of Selectmen Regular Meeting
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
1.)Minutes – January 26, 2010
2.)Opportunity for Public Comment
3.)Dr. Philip Oâ€™Reilly re: School Building Committee Request
Grant Updates, Others
5.)Appointments to Boards and Commissions
Conservation, EDC, Retirement Board/Pension Committee, Others
6.)Appointment to Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau
7.)Task Order â€“ LEI re: sand/salt storage facility
9.)Request for Tax Refunds
10.)Any Other Business to Come Before this Board