Tag Archive | "Libraries"

ADDED: Town Government ~ Budget Public Hearing Videos

By: Bob Moore

NewHartfordPlus videoed the Board of Finance Budget Public Hearing held this past Tuesday evening, April 6. Following are videotape segments of the different presentations and the questions from the public and answers to their questions. Segments will be added as I have the opportunity to process them.

Segment 12: Dan Jerram is questioned about the proposed chip-sealing program for New Hartford’s roads. (part 5).

Segment 11: The presentation of the Town Budget continues, with Dan Jerram answering a question about pay raises at Town Hall and discussing the washout at the Industrial Park. (part 4).

Segment 10: Dan Jerram continues the Town Budget presentation, including discussing Browns Corner, the Town Hill Memorial, the Libraries and other items. (part 3).

Segment 9: Dan Jerram continues presentation of the Town Government budget (part 2).

Segment 8: Dan Jerram presents the Town Government budget (part 1).

Segment 7: Regional #7 representatives take questions from the public.

Segment 6: Molly Sexton-Reid continues presentation of the Regional #7 Budget for 2010/2011 (part 2).

Segment 5: Molly Sexton-Reid present the Regional #7 Budget for 2010/2011 (part 1).

Segment 4: Dr. Philip OReilly, Superintendent of New Hartford Schools, concludes the presentation of the 2010/2011 school budget (part 3).

Segment 3: Dr. Philip O’Reilly, Superintendent of New Hartford Schools, continues the presentation of the 2010/2011 school budget (part 2).

Segment 2: Bryan Keilty, Vice-Chairperson of the New Hartford Board of Education, and Dr. Philip O’Reilly, Superintendent of New Hartford Schools, present the 2010/2011 school budget (part 1).

Segment 1: Ben Witte Gives Overview of Proposed 2010-2011 Budget

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Board of Finance Almost Gets To Zero: 0.33% Increase Set For Public Hearing

By: Maria Moore

At the end of a 2 1/2-hour long meeting, the Board of Finance members agreed on a budget to bring to their public meeting on April 6. The bottom line: The budget includes total expenditures of $21,201,878 which, assuming a 96% collection rate, gives an increase of 0.33% or 0.08 mil increase ~ an increase of $8 per 100,000 of assessed valuation.  The 0.33% is close to zero ~ but it’s not zero, a fact that prompted Reggie Smith Jr. to cast the only dissenting vote on the Board against the 0.33% increase. “We voted for a zero, and it should be zero!” Reggie reminded his fellow Board members during the discussions.

At the beginning of the meeting yesterday evening, Tuesday, March 23 the Board listened to residents’ comments which were limited to 2 minutes per person and to a half-hour in total.  There were residents who spoke in favor of the New Hartford Schools’ budget, including Principal Steve Nadeau who said that many parents he has spoken to credit the high quality of the schools in New Hartford as being the reason they moved to town.  Two residents, who also spoke very favorably of the local schools, asked the BOF members to come in as close as possible to a zero budget, both saying that in difficult times, communities need to pull together.

The most impressive turnout, however, was the one in favor of the library budgets.  First Selectman Dan Jerram had proposed cutting the libraries’ budgets by 15% in his 0% increase scenario which he submitted to the Board of Finance to illustrate how unacceptable a 0% increase budget would be.  The library funding was left intact in the 2.6% budget which the selectmen had agreed was their recommended proposed budget; see our March 14 report Regional #7, Town Government Present Budget Proposals at BOF Workshop. However, fearful that the Board of Finance might yet cut library funding, the Library Board of Directors and the employees of the Beekley Library showed up en masse at the BOF meeting.  Among those who addressed the Board of Finance were the retiring Director of the Beekley Library Betsy (Whittemore) Saunders, her successor Andrea Gaedeke, and Library Board members Annette Lombardi, Georgia Austin and Peter Anderheggen. They all pointed to the increased number of residents making use of their services in these hard, economic times. A cut, they said, would mean a reduction in the hours of operation of the Beekley Library, just at a time when their services are most needed. The Board of Finance members obviously agreed with them, since at no time in the discussions was there any talk of reducing the two town libraries’ budget; the only comment made about the libraries was by BOF Chairman Ben Witte who pointed out the unusual nature of our small town of 6,000 residents supporting two town libraries.  No more was said on the libraries’ funding.

Not so lucky were the capital budgets of both the Board of Ed and the town, both of which saw their capital budgets either cut, or covered by reallocating funds from other line items to capital.  The local schools saw their capital budget cut from $280,000 down to $225,000; after subtracting a $75,000 state grant for replacement of the boilers at Antolini, the town’s portion was brought down to $150,000.

The town government’s capital fund was also reconfigured with $30,000 which had previously been allocated for a new police car being reallocated to cover some of the anticipated expense associated with the second washout at the industrial park which occurred several weeks ago and which First Selectman Dan Jerram said the engineers were in the process of assessing.  The cost to remediate this second washout is yet unknown but Dan pointed to the $52,000 which the town paid last year to have the first washout corrected and said that it would probably be more.  BOF member Jim Fitzgerald said they should plan for that unknown expense and his fellow BOF members agreed that some money should be allocated for that expense.  Dan suggested they cover the expense by reallocating funds that had already been reallocated in the reallocated funds worksheet attached to the town government’s proposed budget; see Attachment A of the Town Budget Proposal (2) included as  a downloadable PDF to our March 14 report Regional #7, Town Government Present Budget Proposals at BOF Meeting.  Ben, however, said he preferred to call it capital, not reallocation so everyone would know where it’s coming from and where it’s going.  In the end, the decision was made to move the $30,000 allocated to a new police car to the expense for the second washout.

Other changes made by the BOF to the town government budget include the following changes to the town’s Highway Department budget:

  • The sand and salt line items were each increased by an addition $15,000 from the $60,000 amount (which had already been increased by $10,000 each in the proposed budget) to $75,000 for each of the two line items.  This brought the line items up to a level where they are adequately funded, Reggie Smith said.
  • The crack and chip seal account was reduced from $300,000 in the proposed budget (which had been increased from $63,860 in the current year’s budget) to $275,000.

Another change in the Town Government budget which was revenue neutral, Dan said, was the Building Inspector’s position which was no longer going to be a part-time position but instead would be a contracted service.  The Building Inspector will work a maximum of 15 hours per week at $40 per hour.  The $30,280 allocated to the Building Inspector’s Salary line item in the Town Government budget (page 9) was moved to the Legal and Professional Fees line item.

During the discussion of the capital expenditures in the Town Government’s proposed budget the subject of the Brodie House was brought up.  Referring to the $35,000 allocated to the Brodie House in this year’s budget which has been reallocated to the Brown’s Corner project, Jim Fitzgerald asked: “What happened to the Brodie House?  Has it gone away?”  Dan Jerram said that this was a different Board of Selectmen from last year, that the Building Inspector had give a positive report on the house, and as far as the roof that needed fixing, Dan said: “We own the roof shingles, we will allocate manpower to it.”  Presumably, the First Selectman was referring to allocating the road crew to work on the roof of the house which has been rented since April 1, 2009 without a lease by a member of the town crew at $400 per month in exchange for his providing labor for the house; see our October 8 2009 report Brodie House Lease, Cost of Moving Fill: Issues Recycle Through BOS meeting.  That report was on the last time this issue was discussed by the town’s selectmen when it was said that the tenant had refused the town’s offer for a one-year lease at $1,000 per month which the task force assigned to the issue had calculated was a fair rent and, when questioned about the work that the rentor was supposed to be doing in the house in exchange for the reduced rent, the prior First Selectman said that since the town had rescinded the lease, the tenant was not doing any of the work.   The Board of Finance at this year’s Tuesday night Special Meeting did not pursue this issue further, as it had in its March 17, 2009 Special Meeting, see our March 18, 2009 report True Zero It Is: Board Of Finance Agrees.

Board of Finance members also discussed the $50,000 capital allocated to Rec, with Ben saying that he felt that amount had been rich when it was originally allocated to Rec, and it was even more so now.  Dan Jerram defended the Rec capital allocation, saying that he was compelling them to allocate $30,000 of that for Brown’s Corner.  Dan offered that if any of the town’s capital budget was to be cut, it should be the $30,000 allocated to the police car.  The BOF members left the Rec capital item untouched; later they reallocated the $30,000 in the town capital budget for a police car to cover the industrial park washout.

BOF members Roy Litchfield and Reggie Smith spoke strongly in favor of trimming both budgets in front of them in order to reach a 0% increase budget.  At one point in the discussion, when told that the budget was within $80,000 of being at the 0% increase level, Roy Litchfield proposed cutting the amount proportionally from each of the two budgets: $29,000 from the town and $51,000 from the schools.  He and Reggie both failed to sway other BOF members, however and those final cuts were not made.  Ben again pointed out during the discussion that if the teachers of the local schools had decided to forgo their raises, the budget would have come in at zero.

A motion by Laura Sundquist accepting the budgets as they had been submitted was not passed by the Board.  Ben outlined the following scenario and brought it to a vote:

“Take the budget as presented, reduce the Board of Ed Capital to 150K, increase revenue by 30K from the Surplus Infrastructure Reserve Account, rename the police car capital to the industrial park washout, with a resulting total expenditure of $21,201,878 at a 96% collection rate: 0.33% increase budget, or a 0.08 mil increase.”  The Board of Finance members approved the motion, with only Reggie Smith voting against it.  This 0.08 mil increase works out to an increase in next year’s taxes of $8 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.

Note: The budget does not include any funding for the wastewater treatment plant, since Dan told the BOF members that the town is structuring the loan payments to be paid in arrears, so that the first payment will be due in September 2011 which will fall in the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year’s budget and not in the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year budget that is currently being worked on by the Board of Finance.

The Public Hearing for the proposed budget: The public hearing will be at 7:00 p.m.  on Tuesday, April 6 in the Senior Center at Town Hall, 530 Main Street.  This will be the last opportunity for residents to have their say on the 2010-2011 budget before it is brought to referendum.

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With Scholarships And Antiques Show Lions Club Marks 40 Years Of Giving

We received the following press release from the New Hartford Lions Club:

The New Hartford Lions Club kicked off its 2010 Scholarship Program this week. The Club’s Antiques & Collectibles Show this Sunday, March 21 at Northwest Regional School #7 will help raise funds for the awards. High school seniors who live in town and plan to attend post-secondary training or education programs next year may apply. Seniors at Oliver Wolcott Technical High School and at Northwest Regional #7 High School can get the application form from their school guidance counselors. Others can find it at the two libraries in town or at www.newhartfordctlions.org. The Club’s Scholarship Committee will notify the students chosen to receive grants in early June. An awards ceremony is planned for late June at the Beekley Library.

032110lions-antiques-show2The local Lions organization is celebrating a major milestone this year as the Club was established in 1970. The chapter’s President, Jim Creamer, said “Our Club’s men and women have worked hard over the past 40 years to create a remarkable record of service to the community. My wife and I moved to town in 2003 after many years dedicated to Lionism in the New Haven area and we have been very impressed by the accomplishments of this small town Club. The Lions’ motto ‘We Serve’ is brought to life by the hard work of our members to meet local needs.”

In 2009, the Club awarded scholarships of $1,000 each to six graduating high school seniors. The group also donated funds to families in need, local food banks, and civic projects such as purchasing a defibrillator for New Hartford’s Brodie Park. New Hartford Lions contributed additional monies to eyesight initiatives, a historic priority of Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest service club organization founded in 1917 with more than 1.3 million members in about 200 countries around the globe. According to the Lions International’s fact sheet, their focus has expanded greatly from fighting blindness and, “Lions are part of a global service network, doing whatever is necessary to help our local communities.”

Creamer urged area residents to do some spring shopping at Sunday’s Antiques and Collectibles Show and support the Club’s scholarship program at the same time. The event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Northwest Regional School #7 in Winsted (off Route 44 just east of the junction of Routes 44 & 8). Admission is $5.00. Those age 16 and younger get in free with an adult. Early bird buying from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. is $10.00. There is plenty of free parking and door prizes and food will be available. The Show will feature about 40 dealers. For event or dealer information, call 489-9188.

Northwest Regional School #7 is home to a student ‘Leos’ Club that gets youth involved with volunteering. Leos contribute their time to a wide variety of projects including local Lions Club fundraisers. The name Leo comes from the concepts of ‘leadership’, ‘experience’ and ‘opportunities’ that students are exposed to through their community service activities. Regional #7 High school Principal, Wayne Conner, is a member of the New Hartford Lions.

To see the full-sized flyer for this event, please see our Bulletin Board.

A vendor at the Antiques Fair takes a break to leaf through some of his vintage magazines.  Photo: Maria Moore

A vendor at the Antiques Fair takes a break to leaf through some of his vintage magazines. Photo: Maria Moore

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A 0.2% Budget With Highlights Adding Up To 2.6%: Selectmen Agree On Proposed Budget

By: Maria Moore

The Town Government budget for the coming fiscal year (beginning on July 1, 2010) which First Selectman Dan Jerram presented at the Board of Selectmen Special meeting last night showed a 0.2% increase which, he said, met the request of the Board of Finance for a 0% increase budget.  To get there, the budget cut funding for 4 positions as well as cutting funding to other government-supported areas.  By the end of the meeting, however, the selectmen approved a proposed budget with a 2.6% increase, in which one of the positions cut had been reinstated and other funding cuts to several areas had been restored.  Careful to abide by the Board of Finance’s request, the budget Dan will be presenting to the Board of Finance at their Saturday morning workshop tomorrow, March 13 will be the 0.2% increase budget, with the restored items that would bring the budget to the 2.6% increase level highlighted in yellow.

The 0.2% increase budget gives a total Government Budget of $4,908,408 which is $7,397 higher than the current year.  The 2.6% increase budget gives a total Government Budget of $5,028,750 which is $127,747 higher than the current year.

The Thursday evening meeting, on March 11 had been rescheduled from Tuesday, March 9 and it was attended by employees from five municipal departments who sat among the public, all awaiting news of how the proposed budget would effect their departments.   Also at the meeting were Board of Finance members Alesia Kennerson and Reggie Smith.

Cuts in Funding in Proposed Budget

Dan first read through the 0.2% budget, highlighting the cuts made.  The most important cuts, those to personnel, were as follows:

  • Public Safety: One full-time resident state trooper cut;
  • Highway Department: One full-time road crew member cut;
  • Land Use Office: One full-time Administrative assistant cut;
  • Rec Department: One part-time Administrative Assistant position not funded;

There was also a 50% cut in the number of hours worked by the Building Inspector who currently works part-time.  The First Selectman said that on an annualized basis, the Building Inspector made over $80,000, more than anyone else at Town Hall.  Dan did increase the Planning Department’s Professional Fees line item by $10,000, in case the town needed to fund more hours by the Building Inspector.   The Tax Collector’s Assistant also saw a 21.6% cut in her salary; she also works part-time.

Of the above positions, the resident state trooper position was reinstated in the 2.6% budget.  Dan said that the Rec Department will now be funding directly their administrative assistant position out of the fees Rec charges for their programs.

The cutting of the Land Use Administrative Assistant’s position caused concern.   One resident pointed out that it didn’t make sense to cut her position at $28,000 and then have to allocate $15,000 to unemployment.  Dan said that her salary with benefits was about $50,000, and that the $15,000 represented more than one employee; the union representative at the meeting said she thought the unemployment figure was closer to $20,000.  Later in the discussion, Tom Klebart said he’d like to look at ways of restoring the Land Use Administrative Assistant position.  The position is still shown as having been cut in the 2.6% proposed budget.

Government-supported areas that showed funding cuts in the 0.2% budget included the following:

  • The two town libraries, each of whose  funding was cut by 15.8% (total cut $41,000);
  • Communications expense cut by 41.8% (cut $3,590);
  • Assessors’ data processing ($2,000);
  • Animal control fund cut by 8.9% (cut $1,300);
  • Ambulance Association cut by 9.5% (cut 11,582).

Of the above cuts, the 2.6% budget restored all of the funding to the two town libraries.

Beth Paul, the Assessor was present at the meeting and she was opposed to eliminating the Vision online service her office now makes available to the public.   She said it’s a very popular service and she would have reallocated some of her budget to make sure that the online service was continued.  The First Selectman indicated that she was free to move around her funds as she wished; he was interested in the bottom-line savings.

Other town department heads also voiced their concern in not having been asked for their budgets before decisions affecting their departments had been made.  One department head asked if they could meet as a group with the First Selectman to go over the budget; Dan responded that he had asked about items in their budget, and did not respond to their request for a meeting.

Increases in Funding in Proposed Budget

Employee Salaries and Benefits: Union employees at Town Hall are scheduled to receive a 3.6% salary increase under their union contract.  The First Selectman also increased elected officials’ pay by 2%, including his own salary; his administrative assistant, although not union, is receiving a 3.6% increase.

In the discussion portion of the meeting, Selectman Tom Klebart said that he felt that the town leaders should get a 0% raise to make a statement in such a tough economy.  Dan said he gave all elected officials a 2% raise.  Selectman Bruce Gresczyk supported the raise for the First Selectman saying it would be difficult to attract talented people to the position if it didn’t pay adequately.  The raise was left in place and the First Selectman’s pay is scheduled to increase to $65,309 for the coming fiscal year.

Employee health insurance costs show an 18% increase, a dollar amount of $73,878. Dan said that he has asked the employees’ union to take on a larger portion of that costs; employees now pay 10% of the premium.  The employees’ Pension Fund was also increased by 9.1%, thereby allocating funds for professional management, which in the past had not been budgeted, Dan said.

Highway Department Increases

Despite the cutting of one full-time road crew member who has yet to be identified, the Highway Department saw an overall 4.2% increase in its proposed budget, an additional $55,061, bringing its proposed budget to $1,367,116.  The following items in the Highway Department have been allocated additional funds:

  • Tree removal was increased by233%, an additional $14,000;
  • Snow sand account was increased by 20%, an additional $10,000;
  • Snow salt was also increased by 20%, an additional $10,000;
  • and the crack and chip seal account was increased by 369.8%, from $63,860 to $300,000.

These increases were to make up for underfunding of road work in the recent past.  The crack and chip seal account, in particular, was not used to chip seal the roads, leaving them in a “deplorable” condition, according to Selectman Bruce Gresczyk, who has been the Interim Highway Superintendent for the past two and a half months.  This additional funding will allow the town to chip seal approx. 16 miles of roads next year.

Brown’s Corner To Be Completed With “Reallocated Funds”

Completing the work at Brown’s Corner has been one of the First Selectman’s priorities since coming into office.  He is funding the work at Brown’s Corner with funds that had previously been allocated elsewhere, as follows:

  • The Rec Department’s $50,000 Capital funds have been reallocated to Brown’s Corner.  Rec had previously earmarked those funds to several small projects in the town’s parks, including the replacement of the lights at Callahan Park to make it more user-friendly.  The funds will be used to pay for fencing and other enhancements to the ball park.
  • The $35,000 allocated to the Brodie House to fund whatever was ultimately going to be done with the house has been reallocated to the work at Brown’s Corner.  The Brodie House line item has been eliminated from the Town Government proposed budget, leaving the problems associated with that town property and the lack of a rental arrangement still in limbo.

And The Largest Percentage Increase Of All…

A 5,000% increase goes to the Town Hill Cemetery line item.  Although the Town Hill Cemetery line item shows a 0% increase in the proposed budget, the cemetery is actually shown as receiving $5,000 of reallocated funds on the Reallocated Funds page.  This $5,000, Dan explained, will go to refurbish the Town Hill Church bell at the top of the hill, thus preserving one of the town’s historic treasures.

Capital Debt Service Discussion

The selectmen engaged in an animated discussion at the end of the meeting on whether the Town Government budget was being made to appear higher than it really was by having the Capital debt service for the schools and the Town Hall included in their budget.  The three selectmen agreed that the Capital debt service should be shown separately from Town Government operations.  They will likely broach this subject with the Board of Finance members.

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Town Government Budget: Zero Is Not A Pretty Scenario

By: Maria Moore

Although the Town Government budget is a relatively small part of the town’s total budget ~ approximately 23% of the current year’s budget went to the Town Government budget while approximately 73% went to the education budgets of the New Hartford elementary schools and Regional # 7 middle and high schools ~ it is an important part of the overall budget because it provides the essential services all residents use such as public safety, highways, libraries and of course, the services provided by municipal offices.  We have covered extensively the budget process at both New Hartford Schools and at Northwestern Regional #7 but no information has been made public on the town’s government budget.  So this past Friday afternoon, seeing the First Selectman’s vehicle parked outside Town Hall, our reporter stopped inside to ask how the Town Government budget was coming along.

At a few minutes to 4, the First Selectman’s Office was full of activity: First Selectman Dan Jerram was in his office, Christine Hayward, his Administrative Assistant was at her workstation and Selectman Bruce Gresczyk, now a familiar sight in that office, was sitting in the small reception area.  Christine passed on our reporter’s request to Dan to talk about his budget and Dan did just that, on the spot.

Dan said that he was nearing completion of a tentative budget which he has been working on, together with Bruce and Christine.  Keeping in mind the Board of Finance’s request for a 0% increase, he said the budget he is putting together shows all the cuts that would be required to keep the budget at 0%.  “To get to zero would require a budget that would make cuts to every part-time position at Town Hall, that would cut a constable, and would effect other services such as the town libraries, the ambulance service and others. That’s probably not in the best interest of the town.” Dan said. “There would be too many jobs lost.” Dan said he will outline that 0% increase budget to the Board of Finance members, and then he will also outline a more tempered budget, one that will still preserve services and will make an investment in the town infrastructure. He gave as an example, the Highway Department’s sand and salt account that has been funded at $50,000 for a number of years, and which every year has had to be supplemented from other accounts.  “You can keep on doing that, or you can adequately fund it.”  He said.  He also mentioned the chip and seal account and the legal services account, both of which had been drawn down considerably by the previous administration and which will have to be replenished to a sufficient level.

Dan said he still has to meet with Tom (Klebart, Minority Selectman) to get his ideas and the selectmen have to agree on the budget to present.   Thus, he was unwilling to talk about any specific percentage increase in the Town Government account.

Our reporter asked Dan whether he’d seen the same big jump in health care costs at Town Hall as the two Boards of Ed had seen.  He answered that because the town’s health insurance policy begins on July 1, the agent had only been able to give them a range of 20%-25% increase for the coming year.  “We’re figuring in a 22 1/2% increase in health care.” Dan confirmed.  Also, with the State budget in crisis, he said it’s likely that State money will also be reduced.

“It’s a very uncomfortable time.  Everyone is being required to do more with less.” Dan said.   With this in mind, he will be presenting the 0% budget to the Board of Finance in terms of what will be lost at zero. He will then ask them to reconsider their position and change it to something more appropriate. And, as Dan reminded our reporter, there is still one more month left to the budget process.

The Board of Selectmen meeting: Scheduled for Tuesday, March 9 has been cancelled and has been rescheduled for Thursday, March 11.

The selectmen will present the Town Government budget: To the Board of Finance at their Budget Workshop scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 13.

The First Selectman's vehicle parked outside Town Hall.  Photo: Maria Moore

The First Selectman's vehicle parked outside Town Hall. Photo: Maria Moore

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Daily Calendar: Tuesday, March 9

Following are the Community Calendar listings for today in New Hartford, CT:

Tuesday,March 9, 2010:

  • New Hartford Municipal Offices Change in Hours of Operation:Town Hall hours are now as follows: Offices open at 8:00 a.m. (Tax Collector at 9:00 a.m.) and close at 4:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and close at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. They are open on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. noon.
  • Early Literacy Program: Phonological Awareness: at 9:15 a.m. at the Beekley Library, 10 Central Avenue, New Hartford. Please note: Registration for the Comprehension Session beginning on March 30 is now underway. To register for the new session or for more information about this Early Literacy Program please call the library at 860-379-7235.
  • Bakerville Library Story Time for 3 to 5 year-olds: at 10:15 a.m. Bakerville Library, 6 Maple Hollow Road, New Hartford. For more information about the library please visit the Bakerville Library website.
  • New Hartford Senior Center activities: at Senior Center, Town Hall, 530 Main St., New Hartford. Activities: Fitness at 10:45 a.m. ($2.50 per person, per class, includes a fitness card which is stamped for every class attended); Crafts: at 1:00 p.m.; Cribbage ‘n cards at 1:00 p.m. Reminder to register for St. Patrick’s Day Dinner:Please be sure to register for the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner being held tomorrow, Wednesday, March 10. For more information please call Jean Barnicoat at 860-379-3980 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
  • CANCELLED: Board of Selectmen Meeting at 5:30 p.m: Meeting has been rescheduled to Thursday, March 11. For the agenda for this meeting, please see our Community Calendar.
  • Board of Finance Meeting: at 7:00 p.m. in the Sessions Conference Room at the Town Hall. Please Note: The New Hartford Schools Superintendent Dr. Philip O’Reilly will be presenting the schools’ budget proposal for the coming fiscal year. For the agenda for this meeting, please see our Community Calendar.
  • Apartment hunting?: Check out our Classifieds section. Have an apartment available to rent? Send us the information and we’ll list it for you for FREE. We add listings as they’re submitted or as we become aware of them.
  • We continuously update this daily Community Calendar as we come across more events of interest to our readers. If you know of an event that you think should be listed here but don’t see it, please share it with our community: email us the info. at newhartfordplus@gmail.com and write Calendar in the subject line.

Our Community Calendar section provides additional information about the events listed above and information on past, current and future events – a permanent record of events in New Hartford. Also check out our Community Bulletin Board where you can see flyers on events happening around town, and where we have listed information on local non-profit groups..

…NHGrapevine

“Although the Town Government budget is a relatively small part of the town’s total budget ~ approximately 23% ~ it is an important part of the overall budget because it provides the essential services all residents use such as public safety, highways, libraries and of course, the services provided by municipal offices.”

Our reporter wrote yesterday in her town budget update Town Government: Zero Is Not A Pretty Scenario.

Contribute to the …NHGrapevine… Let us know what you’ve heard – or seen – in town and we’ll add it to this listing, and also add it to the …NHGrapevine.. section. So let’s hear what you’re hearing around town…

Bob Moore looking out onto West Hill Pond in April 2009. Photo from NewHartfordPlus archives

Bob Moore looking out onto West Hill Pond in April 2009. Photo from NewHartfordPlus archives

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Daily Calendar: Monday, February 15

Monday, February 15, 2010:

  • CLOSED for Presidents’ Day: New Hartford Town Hall; New Hartford Schools; Regional #7; Town libraries; US Post Office; Banks; All State and Federal offices.
  • LEGO Contest: from 11:00 a.m. until 4:30 at the New England Air Museum, 36 Perimeter Road Bradley International Airport S. Windsor CT. For more information on the Air Museum’s events scheduled for this week, please visit the News and Events sesction of the museum’s website.
  • Basketball Hall of Fame: from 12:00 noon until 3:00 p.m. at the CT Science Center, at 250 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford. The Basketball Hall of Fame (located in Springfield, MA) is lending the special CT-centered basketball collection for one-day only. PLUS, engage in challenging basketball-related puzzles and facts that are sure to be a slam dunk for all ages. Event is FREE with the purchase of general admission.
  • To see a listing of special Vacation Week events: Please see our February 10 article Kids Home Today?…
  • Today is the LAST DAY to download your $weetheart Deal$ Coupons Available on NHPlus: We have Discount Coupons for FOUR local restaurants, ONE gift shop, ONE photographer and OTHER services. Dowload your $weetheart Deal$ Coupons NOW and enjoy your deals as you shop with our local merchants on Presidents’ Day and beyond!
  • Do you know of an event that should be listed here and you don’t see it? Please email us the info. and we’ll add it! Send to newhartfordplus@gmail.com and write ‘Calendar’ in the subject line.

Our Community Calendar section provides additional information about the events listed above and information on past, current and future events – a permanent record of events in New Hartford. Also check out our updated Community Bulletin Board where you can see posters and information on local groups and events.

…NHGrapevine

“This could become really addictive!”

Said our reporter, Maria Moore, to her husband Bob as she checked again to see how many visitors were online and where they came from. Bob installed a Feedjit plug-in on the NewHartfordPlus ~ below the Amazon search box on the right-hand side of the website ~ for a 10-day trial period. Just another way to have fun on NHPlus!

Contribute to the …NHGrapevine… Let us know what you’ve heard ~ or seen ~ in town and we’ll add it to this listing, and also add it to the …NHGrapevine.. section. So let’s hear what you’re hearing around town…

Whether it's skating on the ice rink in Chapin Park...

Whether it's skating on the ice rink in Chapin Park...


...or skiing on the slopes of Ski Sundown, there's plenty to do in New Hartford on a winter holiday. Photo: Maria Moore

...or skiing on the slopes of Ski Sundown, there's plenty to do in New Hartford on a winter holiday. Photo: Maria Moore

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Getting To Know You: Jean Barnicoat, Senior Center Director

[Updated to include the names of all the Advisory Board members; January 19]

By: Maria Moore

As a new member of the Senior Center, our reporter is really looking forward to being able to take advantage of some of the wonderful offerings of the center ~ a 15-minute massage for $10 comes to mind ~ but most of all, she’s really looking forward to getting to know Jean Barnicoat, one of the most upbeat people you’re likely to meet.   Our reporter stopped by to interview Jean this past week and the result of that visit is this ‘Getting To Know You’ piece.

Who is Jean Barnicoat?

Jean Barnicoat

Jean Barnicoat and her pet parrots

Jean grew up on Cape Cod and after high school she worked at many different jobs.  “I did a lot of stuff in my life.  I worked in silk screening, had a drapery making business, worked in libraries.”  A veritable Jean of all Trades!  Now in her later 50s, Jean says: “I was a late bloomer,” as she describes starting college in 1995 and receiving her Associates Degree with Honors from the Cape Cod Community College.  She transferred to the University of Southern Maine to continue working on a Bachelors but that summer she met her husband, Alan from Connecticut who was vacationing on the Cape.  “We met through a Personal ad. and we hit it off right away!”  Jean said.  After one semester in school in Maine, she transferred to Central Connecticut State University and graduated in 2000 with a Bachelors in Social Work.  She then attended the UConn School of Social Work and received her Masters in Social Work in 2002.

Jean and husband Alan at Spring Fling dance

Jean and husband Alan at Spring Fling dance

At the end of one of her courses at UConn, Jean said one of her professors asked her class: ” Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” “I answered “I want to be the Director of a Senior Center.”  And five years almost to the day, I got this job!”  That was in 2007 right after Labor Day.  Asked if she was enjoying her work, Jean answered: “I love my job!  If they want to get me out of here, they’d have to drag me out, kicking and screaming!”  Not that one could ever conceive of such a thing.  With her kind heart and welcoming manner, Jean is never too busy for anyone, including the small group of seniors who had come to the Senior Center on the morning of this interview and had asked Jean to play Wii Bowling with them which, of course, she did!

The Senior Center

Jean and Dina Waker

Jean and Dina Waker

The Senior Center was started 35 years ago as a Senior Club.  As the number of activities increased, the seniors found that they were spending more and more of their time organizing the activities rather than just participating in them, so with then-First Selectman Bill Baxter’s blessing, the seniors decided to hire a director.  They applied for, and received, a grant from the Western CT Area Agency on Aging, and the Senior Center Director’s position was added to the town budget.   Jean, who is a part-time employee, is the first Director hired by the center.

The Senior Center doesn’t charge a membership fee and all residents aged 55 and over are eligible to join.   Jean said that she loves to get different people involved in the Senior Center.  She has expanded the activities at the center to include, among other things, Cribbage ‘n Cards, Wii Bowling, thanks to a grant from Community Connections, and Yoga twice per week.  The center also recently received an electric piano from Community Connections and Alan, Jean’s husband, has come in several times to play the piano for senior events.

Future Developments

The Senior Center has a cookbook in its future.  A Cookbook Committee has been set up and they will be holding their first meeting soon.  If you have a recipe you’d like to contribute to the cookbook, please let Jean know.

The seniors have also formed a volunteer Advisory Board which is known as ‘The Friends of the New Hartford Senior Center.’  Members of the Advisory Board are (in alphabetical order): Elaine Carmelich, Penny Church, Jean Lefave, Dianne Litchfield, Skip and Frank Misiorski, Andy Reiss and Betty Roberge.  Watch for more news from this board.

For more information: On the Senior Center or to join the center, please contact Jean by email: seniors@town.new-hartford.ct.us, or by telephone: 860-379-3980 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.

Jean also puts together one of the most readable newsletters around! Ask her and she will gladly place you on her email, or snail mail list as you prefer.

Jean (standing) helps celebrate Betty Roberge's 95th birthday.  Photo: Maria Moore

Jean (standing) helps celebrate Betty Roberge's 95th birthday on August 5, 2009. Photo: Maria Moore

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