Tag Archive | "meetings"

Letter To The Editor: On Political Priorities And On Reporting Them

The following Letter to the Editor from Jim Fitzgerald was received by NHPlus via email at 3:57 a.m. this morning, March 2.

March 1, 2010

To: New HartfordPlus, Maria Moore

Dear Maria,

I was just taking note of the article you posted about Annie Hornish on Pet Advocacy.

Rep. Hornish at the Smart Growth meeting

Rep. Hornish at the Smart Growth meeting

Last month, Annie Hornish hosted a meeting in New Hartford at the Town Hall in the Sr. Center. Her visit was to present and discuss on the topic of Smart Growth. You attended and took notes as you do when you typically attend meetings and later you report the news on your website.

I am concerned that you did not report on your website about that meeting, but you find it more of a priority to report on her Pet Advocacy press. Owning a pet myself I am very fond of animals and nature, but, I am also concerned of the lack of Ms. Hornish’s attention to the real problems facing our communities and State. The open discussion (during the very delayed start of her Smart Growth presentation) and the contentious issues that were discussed in a Q&A on the State budget, taxes and spending and the lack of addressing these in Hartford was more of interest to the attendees both Democrats and Republicans than “Smart Growth”. It was very clear that Ms. Hornish could not answer any of the questions. As the 62nd District Representative, one would expect her to be able to answer such questions and address the concerns of the town’s people. The meeting was attended by Democrats and Republicans as well as neighboring town representatives such as Mr. Stein from Barkhamsted who himself, also pursued the contentious topic of taxes and to no avail were any of the questions answered let alone addressed. I do not believe Ms. Hornish was caught flat-footed and not prepared. My inference is that she does not have a clue what to do, how to support us and how to address the real issues we are facing such as, taxes, spending, jobs, and oversized State Government. It was very evident her own party was not pleased. However, she was there to prepare us as a town for more spending and increased taxes upon New Hartford. It is apparent that she is disconnected with the real world and the issues the communities are facing all over Connecticut. With her plans of Smart Growth, every item on the list was linked to an increase in State spending via increased taxes upon the people of New Hartford. I find it interesting that you did not report the actual Q&A of Ms. Hornish’s meeting and share it with the public, but, her article of pet advocacy is the priority and not the real details of the “Smart Growth” meeting that went awry. Obviously we all know Ms. Hornish is up for re-election and she is extremely vulnerable to a loss in November? Further, it is no secret that she is a tax and spender. New Hartford deserves better representation from its elected official. We do not need more demands from the State upon the taxpayers to send more money to Hartford for a regional “Smart Growth” tax and spend initiative that the representative says probably will not benefit New Hartford anyway.

Sincerely,
Jim Fitzgerald

Note added at Jim’s request: I am speaking in a personal capacity rather than in my role as chair of the RTC.

Jim Fitzgerald was recently elected Chairman of the New Hartford Republican Town Committee.

Members of the audience at the Smart Growth presentation as they waited for Rep. Sharkey to arrive at the meeting.  In the back row are (from left to right) Indrek Buttner, Dan Jerram, Jim Fitzgerald and Steve Tuxbury.  Photo: Maria Moore

Members of the audience at the Smart Growth presentation as they waited for Rep. Sharkey to arrive at the meeting. In the back row are (from left to right) Indrek Buttner, Dan Jerram, Jim Fitzgerald and Steve Tuxbury. Photo: Maria Moore

Clarifications: Jim is referring to a press release from Rep. Hornish’s office regarding a newly-formed group, Legislators for Animal Advocacy, which she will be co-chairing.  The press release was included in our weekly Pet Corner column this past Sunday, February 28.   The purpose of that column is to promote respect for and stewardship of the animal world with which we share our environment.

Rep. Sharkey at the Smart Growth meeting

Rep. Sharkey at the meeting

Jim also makes reference to the very delayed start to the  Smart Growth presentation.  Rep. Hornish was scheduled to present with Rep. Brendan Sharkey, House Chairman of the Legislature’s Planning and Development Committee and “Smart Growth guru” who was unavoidably delayed in getting to the meeting.  By the time Rep. Sharkey arrived at the meeting, many members of the audience, including the First Selectmen of Barkhamsted, Colebrook and New Hartford had left the meeting.  According to our reporter’s notes, Jim had also left the meeting by the time the presentation got underway.

To Read: Rep. Hornish’s views on Smart Growth, please see our January 15 Smart Growth: Rep. Annie Hornish article which is a reprint of an article that she posted on her blog on the House Democrats of CT website.

Sincere Apologies: My sincere apologies to all the groups and individuals whose events I have attended and have not followed up with a report of their special event; they include the New Hartford Land Trust, the Farmers’ Market, the Conservation Commission, the Economic Development Commission,  the Rec Commission, the WPCA, the P&Z Commission, the New Hartford Seniors, the New Hartford Women’s Club, Rep. Larson, Rep. Hornish, Larry Hilt, June White, and so many more.   As NewHartordPlus readers know, I also have (paying) work commitments which must necessarily take precedence over my reporting work.   Rather than dwell on the failures of NewHartfordPlus, I hope Jim and our other readers will celebrate our success in continuing to give voice to as many of our community’s concerns as we can within the time available to us, Maria Moore

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Cow Pots start the New Year For New Hartford Garden Club Members

By: Mary Femniak and Dina Waker

Theresa Freund talks to Garden Club members

Theresa Freund talks to Garden Club members. Â Photo: Mary Femniak

Theresa Freund of Freund’s Farm was the guest speaker at the New Hartford Garden Club’s first 2010 meeting on February 3. Garden club members eager to talk “dirt” and plan a new growing season turned out to hear about the Connecticut farm’s invention taking national gardens by storm. Members were not disappointed: Theresa’s presentation was not only interesting and educational but an entertaining history of the evolution of the “Cow Pot”.

Theresa and her husband Matthew are second generation dairy farmers and own Freund’s Farm in East Canaan, now a major business with a new world market; due to their environmentally friendly creation they affectionately call “Cow Pots”. Giving credit where credit is due, Theresa told the audience “A total of 250 milking Holsteins (and one Jersey) provide the manure to make the Cow Pots”. The Freund’s herd is the largest herd of cows in the state of Connecticut on pasture. Each day they change the pasture with a 20 day rotation program assuring that the animals do not damage the approximately 200 acres during the five months they graze.

The Freunds have nearly perfected the complete use of all the ingredients the cows so efficiently supply for cow pot products. The manure is fed through a methane digester that supplies the farm with hot water that heats the home, barn and offices. The residual liquid is used for fertilizer and the bulk waste becomes cow pots. The molding process for the pots heats the ingredients and adds air making each pot weed, pathogen and odor free. “Making the Cow Pots includes heating the manure to 110 degrees, producing methane as a byproduct and then the manure goes through a digester to squeeze out the liquid” informed Theresa.

From the first cow pot prototype six years ago, to recently having their product featured on “Martha Stewart”, “The New York Times” and “Johnny Seed”… Theresa is quick to mention with pride the positive environmental impact of their cow pots. Land and waste management is a life style for the Freunds, who proudly point out that cow pots are not only good for plants but their use helps to reduce garden plastic containers that are the bane of landfills. Cow Pots act like a slow release fertilizer, are 100% biodegradable and can be planted directly in the garden without shocking the plant with transplanting.

Theresa ended her presentation by answering questions from the New Hartford Garden Club members eager to gather details on Cow Pot fine points, and she delighted the crowd by giving away “Cow Pot six packs” for club members to use in their spring gardens. A table of homemade baked goods made by NHGC members and spirited conversation topped off the successful meeting.

Interested garden enthusiasts are encouraged to consider membership and are invited to educational seminars and meetings. Contact Sibyl Pellum at 860-379-3722 or Mary Lou Ringklib at 860-379-4612 for more information.

Theresa Freund talks about the Cow Pots created by her family's farm in East Canaan

Theresa Freund talks about the environmentally-friendly Cow Pots created by her family on their farm in East Canaan. Â Photo: Mary Femniak

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Between A Rock And A Hard Place: NH Schools Board Of Ed Carves Out Budget (Part II)

By: Maria Moore

This report is Part II of the New Hartford Schools Board of Ed meeting held this past Saturday, February 20 at Antolini School. Yesterday’s report, Between A Rock And A Hard Place… Part I dealt with the concerns voiced by residents on the schools’ budget for the upcoming fiscal year for which the Board of Finance has set an expectation of a 0% (zero percent) increase. Also see our report on the January 5 Board of Ed meeting Schools Board of Ed Gets Preview Of Tough Budget To Come which laid out cuts in certified staff leading to increased class sizes.
____________________

After hearing out all the members of the public who had come to their Saturday morning meeting, members of the New Hartford Schools Board of Ed turned their attention to the five budget proposals prepared for them by Schools Superintendent Dr. Philip O’Reilly. These proposals were:

  • one proposal included closing Bakerville School;
  • two proposals were for a 0% (zero percent) increase;
  • and two proposals were for a 3% increase.

The first proposal Board of Ed members considered was that for closing Bakerville School.  This was one of several proposals suggested by the New Hartford Schools’ teachers’ union as a way to reduce costs in their February 11 letter to the Schools Superintendent in response to the Board of Ed’s request for a wage freeze; see a copy of the union’s letter at the end of this report.

Bryan Keilty said that closing Bakerville School was a “non-starter.”  He said that the student population will be increasing and closing down the school won’t cut costs because the building will still have to be maintained; it will just shift the costs to the town.  Board of Ed Chairperson Sue Lundin proposed engaging members of other town committees and agencies to pull together a town-wide committee to consider the closure of Bakerville School.  Steve Tuxbury said he was totally against closing Bakerville, at least for next year.  “We need to look at it in the future,” Steve said.  Elaine Carmelich said: “The responsible thing is to research it further… want to look at closing the school, the regionalization of the elementary schools with one superintendent (for the region).”

Board of Ed members agreed to take the proposal with the closure of Bakerville School off the table, leaving them with two proposals for 0% (zero percent) increase and two proposals for 3% increase from which to carve out their budget.

Chipping Away From 3% Budget to 1.9%

With four different proposed budgets in front of them, Steve Tuxbury said: “We need to decide upfront where we want to be.  What are we shooting for?”  He said they’d wanted to present the most responsible budget without cuts, which is why they’d asked for a wage freeze, but with the information from the Board of Finance, they were looking for a 0 (zero) budget.

Katie Natale said that 0% (zero percent) would dig too deeply into the quality of education.  She suggested looking at 3%, keeping in mind that they might have to go to zero ultimately, but leaving that up to the taxpayers.  Mary Misiorski agreed with Katie.  Sue Lundin agreed, saying: “We need a starting point: 3%… may end up between 0 (zero) and 3%.”   Bryan Keilty also agreed, saying they weren’t debating the merits, that it was evident that the town has supported education, that it’s always had a good history of supporting the schools.

Using 3% as their starting point, the Board of Ed members agreed on the following cuts:

  • Cut 1 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) Curriculum Specialist: Leaving one Curriculum Specialist for the three schools.
  • 1 Teacher position cut: Teacher on leave not being replaced.
  • Cut (.6 FTE) Spanish Teacher: eliminating Spanish from the schools.
  • Cut 1 day from the Director of Pupil Services: Jennifer Zenuh said there were clear laws for PPTs (Planning and Placement Team meetings) and was concerned at the cut of an additional day.  Philip said that the current Director of Student Services was now back to 3 days (from a medical leave) and that “she’s managing.”  He said Central Office had taken on some of the Special Ed responsibilities, and he confirmed that the position could be cut from 4 days to 3 days per week.
  • Cut 1 day from the Technical Support position: keeping it at 4 days per week, and not increasing it to 5 days per week as had been projected.
  • 1 custodian position cut: The retiring custodian at Antolini will not be replaced, leaving 4 full time custodians, 2 at Antolini, 1 at New Hartford Elementary and 1 at Bakerville.
  • Cut .4 FTE from 2 Library Media Specialists: each would be cut 1 day per week.
  • Talcott Mountain Science Center program cut.

Board members rejected making any cuts in PE, although Steve Tuxbury said that it was a program they needed to look at because it wasn’t working the way it is now.

The Board of Ed members took a short break to allow Philip the time to calculate how much in savings they had realized with the above cuts.  After the break Philip informed them were down to a 1.9% increase budget, and at that point the Board of Ed members announced that they would go into executive session and the meeting was closed to the public.

Possible Additional Savings Not Included In Budget

Philip identified two areas where there were ongoing negotiations that may result in additional savings and which were not included in his or the Board’s budget calculations. One area is a possible 1-3% savings on the cost of health insurance which may result from extending the period over which the school system is being experience rated.  Philip also said that the insurance consortium that the New Hartford Schools belongs to has begun the process of trying to streamline the number of health insurance packages now being offered to their different collective bargaining groups, which could result in cost savings in the future.   The second area is a renegotiation of the schools’  transportation contract which could realize savings if New Hartford Schools extends its contract with Dattco.

Future Meetings:

To following meetings will have an impact, directly or indirectly, on the New Hartfod Schools budget for next year:

  • The next meeting of the New Hartford Schools Board of Ed will be held on Tuesday, March 2 at 7:00 p.m. at New Hartford Elementary School on Wickett Street;
  • The next Board of Selectmen meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the Town Hall, 530 Main Street;
  • The next Board of Finance meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall, 530 Main Street.

Please Note: The cuts listed above are taken from our reporter’s notes.  We will be comparing them with those included in a spreadsheet from the schools’ Central Office and we will make any changes/additions necessary to our list.  We will update this note to show when that comparison has taken place, hopefully later today.

____________________

Copy of 3-page letter dated February 11 from the New Hartford Education Association (the teachers’ union) to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Philip O’Reilly in response to Board of Ed’s request to the teachers’ union for a wage freeze:

NHEA letter page 1 (190), NHEA letter page 2 (194), NHEA letter page 3 (182)

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Ben's Take On The Budget: A Conversation With The Board Of Finance Chairman

By: Maria Moore

Not many people schedule meetings on Friday evenings at 5:30 but when Ben Witte, the Board of Finance Chairman suggested that as a possible time to meet, our reporter quickly agreed. Ben was responding to our reporter’s request to meet and talk about the 2011 budget that’s currently being put together and the two agreed to meet this past Friday, February 19 at Dunkin’ Donuts in New Hartford. Following is a report of their conversation.

Ben Witte

Ben Witte

Our reporter started the conversation by referring back to Ben’s meeting with Regional #7 administrators on which he’d updated his fellow Board of Finance members at their February 9 meeting; see our February 17 report Budget Takes Center Stage… for Ben’s account of that meeting.

“I heard you’d met with the New Hartford Schools Board of Ed as well…?” Our reporter asked. Ben confirmed he had attended that Board of Ed’s meeting on February 2. He said he had gotten the message that the New Hartford BOE was looking for direction from the Board of Finance and so he had gone there and laid out the revenue side of the budget to them. “If revenues are flat, then expenses need to be flat.”  This had been his message to the Board of Ed.  For the official minutes of that meeting please visit the Meeting Minutes page of the Board of Ed’s website.

The message from the Board of Finance to both Boards of Ed and to the Town’s administration is the same: Bring in budgets with 0% (zero percent) increases.

Revenues will be flat, Ben confirmed. The grand list is projected to grow by only 0.13% which is less than $20,000 of new revenues, and the grand list accounts for 75% of the town’s revenue. “I’ve been involved (with the Board of Finance) for 10 years and I’ve never seen it that low!” Ben said.

The rest of the town’s money comes from the state and that’s projected to be down slightly, if the governor’s budget is accepted, as Ben thinks is likely to happen. “There’s still revenue from 2010 (the current fiscal year) that still hasn’t come in (from the state).” Ben reminded our reporter. and as far as money from the state for the town’s 2011 budget? “We won’t know until next year.” Ben said.

The basis for next year’s budget according to Ben is: “This is how much we have, and this is what we have to spend.”

As far as new expenditures, Ben pointed out that the BOF members had made an exception for the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The Board needs to see projections for the WWTP funding for next year and Town Treasurer Gordon Ross will be meeting with the WPCA to get an official number from them.

“The BAN (Bond Anticipation Note) for $122,000 comes due in September and the intention is to pay it off.” Ben said. There will also be a $16,000 per month payment to the USDA to be made (for the WWTP), he added.

There are two choices to come up with the additional money for the WWTP according to Ben:

  1. Use the budget surplus from last year to fund it; or
  2. Increase taxes.

“Hopefully we’ll get what we asked for.” Ben said, returning to the 0% (zero percent) expectation set by the BOF.   “If not, we can tell them to make it a 0 (zero) increase.” He continued, referring to the New Hartford Schools and the Town budgets over which the BOF has the authority to set the amount of the proposed budget.  “For Region #7 we don’t have the authority,” he clarified.  The BOF budget is then brought to the public and it’s up to the voters to approve it or not.

Ben went over the timeline for the 2011 budget with our reporter:

  • On April 6 at 7:00 p.m. the BOF will bring the proposed budget to a Public Hearing to get residents’ input;
  • On April 13 at their regular BOF meeting, the BOF members will discuss the input from the Public Hearing and make any adjustments necessary to the budget;
  • On April 27 the annual Budget Meeting will be held and the meeting will then be adjourned to Referendum;
  • On May 4 the Referendum will be held.

A 0 (Zero) Budget And How To Get There

“The Board of Finance needed to send a strong message to the schools and to the town in order to get them to take it seriously.” Ben said about the 0 (zero) budget. “The question the schools and the town need to ask themselves is: “What do you have to do to get to 0 (zero)?” ” Ben’s answer to the question is: “You need to look at how to get to 0 (zero).  It seems to me you have to change the structure of how you do things to get to 0 (zero).”  A very different process from what they have been doing over the past several years, which is to cut their initial budget request.

Ben gave some examples of the kinds of structural changes he’s talking about:

  • Have a Regional K-12 school;
  • Have Shared Services for Special Ed.

“I don’t think you want to take anything off the table.” Ben said, because: “You either increase taxes 5% or so, or you need to look at ways to run the schools and the town  differently.”

The conversation then turned to the New Hartford Schools teachers’ contract which has a 6% increase per year for teachers’ salaries.  Ben pointed out that we’re in the second year of the contract, with 2 more years to go.  “That’s about a $180,000 increase in one year!”  Altogether, Ben calculated that about $330,000 of the budget increase for local schools ~ outside of health insurance ~ is due to pay incrases.

“I feel strongly that, if the teachers agree, the town would realize another $100,000 from other unions ~ if teachers do it!” Ben said.  “I don’t see how we can have a budget that’s acceptable without addressing the teachers’ increase.  Everyone else is getting 0 (zero) ~ and furlough days on top if that!  Everyone has to play in the game.”  Ben said they’d approached the teachers out of fairness to give back the 6%.  “There’s been no response and it doesn’t seem like there’s any intention to do that.”  Ben called it “extremely unfortunate” and that “people are looking at every way to avoid tax increases.”

“What doesn’t work in good times may be palatable in bad times.”  Ben added, pointing out that you hear things like closing a school.  “I don’t know what you can do to the teachers but appeal to their sense of fair play. I would hope the general public would do the same.”  With education at 70% of the overall budget “it costs a lot of money.”

Ben said he didn’t have a reference point for the town budget yet.  “We’re struggling to meet the budget for last year at 0%.  I don’t know what numbers we’re looking at.”  His strong sense, though, is that we need to put more money into the road budget.

Asked for his final thoughts, Ben said: “Tough decisions are necessary to get the budgets where we’ve asked.  I hope teachers who are a big part will play in the game and others could follow suit.  It could easily be a $280,000 find in the budget.  Compared to $20,000 in new revenue, it’s a big dent in the problem.”

And with that, the two shook hands and with a final “Call me if you need anything,” Ben and our reporter each headed off home after a long week of work.

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Business Council Plans For Sunday's Frozen Farmers With Chocolate And More

By: Maria Moore

Business Council Sponsors Booth at Frozen Farmers’ Market

Hot chocolate and marshmallows were the business of the day at the New Hartford Business Council (NHBC) Steering Committee meeting this past Wednesday.  No, members were not deciding on which beverage to enjoy during the meeting, but rather they were finalizing the details of what they would be providing at their booth this coming Sunday at the Farmers’ Market.  The Business Council had sponsored a weekly booth at the Farmers’ Market this past summer and the Steering Committee approved sponsoring a booth at this Sunday’s event, the Frozen Farmers’ Skating Party and Farmers’ Market. Mindful of the weather at this point of winter the Business Council members decided to serve hot chocolate at their booth.  Deb Kuszaj of Blue Sky Foods had already purchased supplies, but on being told by Anita Barden, one of the organizers of the Farmers’ Market, that last year ~ the first Frozen Farmers event ~ there had been about 200 people who had attended, Deb thought it best to pick up more chocolate.  Steering Committee members also discussed whether or not to charge for the hot chocolate as a means to build up funds for future community projects, but guided by Gardner Graves of Realty Works who volunteered to cover the cost of the chocolate, those present decided to ask for a donation for the hot drinks.

The Business Council booth will have information available from its member businesses.  If you are a member of the Business Council and you would like to add your materials to the booth, please stop by and drop them off at the booth on Sunday from 11:30 on.  The Business Council booth will be manned by Dawn Whalen of COMPUTER EXPLORERS, Gardner Graves and Kim Trumbull, both of Realty Works, and other Business Council members.   The booth is being sponsored by Realty Works, Blue Sky Foods, GeminEye Images, Peggy’s Personalized Promos, and the Economic Development Commission.

First Selectman To Speak At March 3 Business Council Meeting

First Selectman Dan Jerram will be attending the next meeting of the Business Council Steering Committee on March 3.  Steering Committee members decided to ask Dan to address the topic of ‘The Current Business Climate in New Hartford’.  They also agreed to devote the whole meeting to Dan’s presentation and to give members the opportunity to ask questions on this topic of the First Selectman.

If you are a member of the Business Council and you would like to attend the March 3 Steering Committee meeting with the First Selectman please let Dawn Whalen, NHBC co-president know for planning purposes; email Dawn at ctce200@ctce.us.  The meeting will be held at Chapin Park Bed and Breakfast on the Green at Pine Meadow.

Business Council Website Update

Steering Committee members decided not to pursue setting up a Business Council website at this time, but rather to revisit the subject at a future meeting.  The Business Council Members’ Directory will continue to be hosted on NewHartfordPlus as members agreed that it added value to their membership.

Membership Update

Mary Ann Gunning, Membership Chair for the Business Council, reported that the Business Council now has 77 members, 24 of whom are new members.  Phil Worley, Executive Director of the Canton Chamber of Commerce, added that there are 29 joint members of the two organizations.

Many Thanks: To Mary Ann Gunning of Chapin Park Bed and Breakfast for hosting the Business Council Steering Committee meetings at her bed and breakfast.

George Tolhurst Named PECOE Employee Of The Month

George Tolhurst

George Tolhurst

George Tolhurst of New Hartford was one of three employees who were named Employee of the Month for January by their employer QuEST ~ Project Engineering Center of Excellence (PECOE) in East Hartford.  George is a graduate of Regional #7 and the University of Hartford.  Following is the announcement by Christopher Wisse, PECOE Director, of George’s recognition:

George joined PECOE in June 2009, and is currently supporting the Compression Systems Module Center.

During a recent Tollgate 3, George received glowing feedback from his customer, who mentioned they were able to start him off gradually with his work, but he has “gone from walking to running.” He has “exceeded expectations” and “shows leadership qualities.” Additionally, the customer gives George and “A” for the work he has performed. They think he has a “good attitude”, “has progressed well” and they are “glad he is back” in 2010. He has certainly left a good impression on his customer. Because of the confidence they have in him, he has also been given the opportunity to learn some design programming. He has shown a lot of growth over the past few months and has impressed his customer thoroughly.

As Employees of the Month Janina, George and Ana receive not only our gratitude but a monetary award, just a token of QuEST’s appreciation for their efforts.

A Note About the QuEST Employee of the Month Program: QuEST Project Engineering Center of Excellence (PECOE) based out of the East Hartford office and Windsor Locks campus has implemented an Employee of the Month recognition program. The program is intended to increase communication and provide a vehicle for recognition of good performance. Lack of communication can lead to a disconnected feeling, especially for those working outside of our offices. Additionally, management too often fails to take the time to say “Thank you”, whether directly or indirectly, for the exceptional efforts of its employees.

Congratulations: To George Tolhurst on his achievement after only 6 months with his company.  We look forward to hearing much more about this bright young man.

Skates And Shopping Bags Ready For Sunday?…

Just in case you haven’t heard: The Second  Annual Frozen Farmers Skating Party and Farmers’ Market will be held tomorrow, Sunday, February 21 from 12:00 noon until 3:00 p.m. on the (white) Green at Chapin Park in Pine Meadow.  Be sure to come along to do some skating, or watch others skate, catch up with neighbors and of course, shop with our local farmers.

NewHartfordPlus will also have a small booth, where we will have our sweatshirts and our NEW bumper stickers available.  Hope to see you all there!

The Frozen Farmers’ Skating Party and Farmers’ Market is being sponsored this year by the New Hartford Farmers’ Market and the New Hartford Rec Department.

Joanne Dahill of Marwin Farm shows Bob Moore a list of her farm's offerings at the First Frozen Farmers' Market in February of 2009 on Chapin Park.

Joanne Dahill of Marwin Farm shows Bob Moore a list of her farm's offerings at the First Frozen Farmers' Market in February of 2009 on Chapin Park.

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Business Council Plans For Sunday’s Frozen Farmers With Chocolate And More

By: Maria Moore

Business Council Sponsors Booth at Frozen Farmers’ Market

Hot chocolate and marshmallows were the business of the day at the New Hartford Business Council (NHBC) Steering Committee meeting this past Wednesday.  No, members were not deciding on which beverage to enjoy during the meeting, but rather they were finalizing the details of what they would be providing at their booth this coming Sunday at the Farmers’ Market.  The Business Council had sponsored a weekly booth at the Farmers’ Market this past summer and the Steering Committee approved sponsoring a booth at this Sunday’s event, the Frozen Farmers’ Skating Party and Farmers’ Market. Mindful of the weather at this point of winter the Business Council members decided to serve hot chocolate at their booth.  Deb Kuszaj of Blue Sky Foods had already purchased supplies, but on being told by Anita Barden, one of the organizers of the Farmers’ Market, that last year ~ the first Frozen Farmers event ~ there had been about 200 people who had attended, Deb thought it best to pick up more chocolate.  Steering Committee members also discussed whether or not to charge for the hot chocolate as a means to build up funds for future community projects, but guided by Gardner Graves of Realty Works who volunteered to cover the cost of the chocolate, those present decided to ask for a donation for the hot drinks.

The Business Council booth will have information available from its member businesses.  If you are a member of the Business Council and you would like to add your materials to the booth, please stop by and drop them off at the booth on Sunday from 11:30 on.  The Business Council booth will be manned by Dawn Whalen of COMPUTER EXPLORERS, Gardner Graves and Kim Trumbull, both of Realty Works, and other Business Council members.   The booth is being sponsored by Realty Works, Blue Sky Foods, GeminEye Images, Peggy’s Personalized Promos, and the Economic Development Commission.

First Selectman To Speak At March 3 Business Council Meeting

First Selectman Dan Jerram will be attending the next meeting of the Business Council Steering Committee on March 3.  Steering Committee members decided to ask Dan to address the topic of ‘The Current Business Climate in New Hartford’.  They also agreed to devote the whole meeting to Dan’s presentation and to give members the opportunity to ask questions on this topic of the First Selectman.

If you are a member of the Business Council and you would like to attend the March 3 Steering Committee meeting with the First Selectman please let Dawn Whalen, NHBC co-president know for planning purposes; email Dawn at ctce200@ctce.us.  The meeting will be held at Chapin Park Bed and Breakfast on the Green at Pine Meadow.

Business Council Website Update

Steering Committee members decided not to pursue setting up a Business Council website at this time, but rather to revisit the subject at a future meeting.  The Business Council Members’ Directory will continue to be hosted on NewHartfordPlus as members agreed that it added value to their membership.

Membership Update

Mary Ann Gunning, Membership Chair for the Business Council, reported that the Business Council now has 77 members, 24 of whom are new members.  Phil Worley, Executive Director of the Canton Chamber of Commerce, added that there are 29 joint members of the two organizations.

Many Thanks: To Mary Ann Gunning of Chapin Park Bed and Breakfast for hosting the Business Council Steering Committee meetings at her bed and breakfast.

George Tolhurst Named PECOE Employee Of The Month

George Tolhurst

George Tolhurst

George Tolhurst of New Hartford was one of three employees who were named Employee of the Month for January by their employer QuEST ~ Project Engineering Center of Excellence (PECOE) in East Hartford.  George is a graduate of Regional #7 and the University of Hartford.  Following is the announcement by Christopher Wisse, PECOE Director, of George’s recognition:

George joined PECOE in June 2009, and is currently supporting the Compression Systems Module Center.

During a recent Tollgate 3, George received glowing feedback from his customer, who mentioned they were able to start him off gradually with his work, but he has “gone from walking to running.” He has “exceeded expectations” and “shows leadership qualities.” Additionally, the customer gives George and “A” for the work he has performed. They think he has a “good attitude”, “has progressed well” and they are “glad he is back” in 2010. He has certainly left a good impression on his customer. Because of the confidence they have in him, he has also been given the opportunity to learn some design programming. He has shown a lot of growth over the past few months and has impressed his customer thoroughly.

As Employees of the Month Janina, George and Ana receive not only our gratitude but a monetary award, just a token of QuEST’s appreciation for their efforts.

A Note About the QuEST Employee of the Month Program: QuEST Project Engineering Center of Excellence (PECOE) based out of the East Hartford office and Windsor Locks campus has implemented an Employee of the Month recognition program. The program is intended to increase communication and provide a vehicle for recognition of good performance. Lack of communication can lead to a disconnected feeling, especially for those working outside of our offices. Additionally, management too often fails to take the time to say “Thank you”, whether directly or indirectly, for the exceptional efforts of its employees.

Congratulations: To George Tolhurst on his achievement after only 6 months with his company.  We look forward to hearing much more about this bright young man.

Skates And Shopping Bags Ready For Sunday?…

Just in case you haven’t heard: The Second  Annual Frozen Farmers Skating Party and Farmers’ Market will be held tomorrow, Sunday, February 21 from 12:00 noon until 3:00 p.m. on the (white) Green at Chapin Park in Pine Meadow.  Be sure to come along to do some skating, or watch others skate, catch up with neighbors and of course, shop with our local farmers.

NewHartfordPlus will also have a small booth, where we will have our sweatshirts and our NEW bumper stickers available.  Hope to see you all there!

The Frozen Farmers’ Skating Party and Farmers’ Market is being sponsored this year by the New Hartford Farmers’ Market and the New Hartford Rec Department.

Joanne Dahill of Marwin Farm shows Bob Moore a list of her farm's offerings at the First Frozen Farmers' Market in February of 2009 on Chapin Park.

Joanne Dahill of Marwin Farm shows Bob Moore a list of her farm's offerings at the First Frozen Farmers' Market in February of 2009 on Chapin Park.

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Budget Takes Center Stage At Board of Finance Meeting

By: Maria Moore

The budget for the upcoming fiscal year was center stage for members of the Board of Finance (BOF) at their recent meeting immediately following the Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting on Tuesday, February 9.  Since some of the items on the BOF agenda had already been discussed at the BOS meeting, please refer to our February 11 report NH Schools Told… for details on agenda items discussed at both meetings.  Following is our report of some of the items discussed by BOF members, with Dan Charest chairing the meeting until Ben Witte could get to there, about 10 minutes into the meeting.

Item #5 (a)  Board of Ed ~ Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Philip O’Reilly

Whereas Philip’s report to the BOS had centered around the Board of Ed’s request for a Building Committee, his report to the BOF centered on the Board of Ed’s ongoing work on preparing a New Hartford Schools budget to submit to the BOF.    Philip informed the BOF that the Board of Ed had requested a pay freeze from the various bargaining units and that the response had come back that “they were not interested.”  The only union he hadn’t heard from was the teachers’ union, he said.  “When do you expect to hear back from the teachers?” Philip was asked, to which he responded: “I don’t!”  He went on to say that at the upcoming Board of Ed’s special meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, February 16, they would have 5 scenarios before them, from 0% to 3% (increases in the school budget).

“You’re far along in the budget process not to have answers.” Dan Charest observed.  Philip agreed, saying: “We’re assuming the worst and hoping for the best!”

With Ben Witte now having joined the meeting and chairing it, he went over a timeline he had drawn up for the budget to be ready in time to go to a town vote sometime in early May (date to be set).  Ben gave March 13 as the date for the Saturday morning workshop when the superintendents of both schools and the First Selectman present their budgets to the Board of Finance.  He then asked Philip if he’d be willing to present his budget (the New Hartford Schools budget) on March 9, during the regularly scheduled BOF meeting.  Philip agreed, saying that he should be able to get his budget to the BOF members the week before the March 9 meeting so they’d have the opportunity to review it, as Roy Litchfield had requested all the budgets be made available to the BOF members before the Saturday morning meeting.

Note: Tuesday evening”s meeting of the Board of Ed was cancelled because of snow.  Our reporter checked with the Superintendent’s  Office today, she was told that the BOE meeting would be happening by Saturday, since several BOE members will not be available next week; we will post the meeting time and the agenda when it becomes available.

Board of Finance Chairmen’s meeting with Regional #7: Ben then reported back to his fellow BOF members on the meeting between Regional #7 and the chairmen of the Boards of Finance from the regional school’s member towns.  Ben said there was a general concern that revenue would be less, with Barkhamsted projecting 10% less in ECS (Educational Cost Sharing) this year and 15% less next year, and they had asked for the budget to come in at 0% increase.  Ben said that one idea proposed had been for Regional #7 to spread the calculation of how many students from any one town would attend the regional school over several years, to even out the impact that changing numbers in students attending the school would have on a member town’s budget in any one fiscal year.  Dan Charest said he wasn’t sure if Regional could legally do that, since they had to report the number to the state.   The word brought back by Ben was that there was listening going on by the group at Regional #7 and that, as Clint Montgomery (Regional #7 Superintendent) had told the BOF chairmen, the view that “those on the hill” (the Regional #7 administration) don’t listen is historical, that over the last few years things have changed.

Item #6: 2009/10 Town Government year-end projection update

First Selectman Dan Jerram, together with Annie Witte, the Town Bookkeeper, then went over this fiscal year-end projection.  Dan said that the biggest thing on the revenue side was the lack of growth in the grand list; the growth is projected to be 0.13% which is about $20,000 of income, where historically they’ve had 1% in growth to work with.  He also mentioned that a significant number of appeals had gone the other way, and that motor vehicles (revenue) was way down.  There was also the question of whether the town would get the same revenue from the state.  There was also a $60,000+ payment from the Clean Water Fund for the wastewater treatment plant which was no longer going to be received because of the USDA funding.  Other projected reductions in revenue include short-term interest, $30,000 less, and Town Clerk’s fees, $10,000 less.  There was also a projected $36,000+ reduction in the town aid for roads which Annie said no payments had been received yet and she was skeptical about them.

On the plus side for revenue there was $355,000 added to this year’s revenue; $155,000 of it was due to under-expenditures mostly on town roads, and the rest ($200,000) was from the collection rate.

Ben asked Dan Jerram to have what he sees for revenue from the town for the next meeting.  “We should have a ‘what if’ scenario, (there are) some tough decisions to be made.”  Ben said.  Board of Finance member Reggie Smith asked Dan that if there are any changes in revenue, the BOF wants to know “ASAP.”

Item #7: 2010/2011 Budget Discussions

Ben set the stage for a discussion on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year by saying: “People are looking to hear what the BOF is looking for in spending increases. It didn’t make sense to talk about that before seeing were the revenue is. If you don’t have it, you can’t spend it.”  Ben then asked for the BOF members for their opinions.

He started by reading aloud a letter from BOF member Jim Fitzgerald, who was travelling.  In his letter Jim characterized the situation a being “very serious.”  He said he was very concerned with the pictures from the two Boards of Ed, and “the alarm should be going off in everyone’s heads.”  He said he was against any increases in taxes, and that any increase in taxes must have a cut in expenses.  “The situation is not a myth, it’s a reality. Taxpayers can’t pay, (there is) no revenue stream.”  Jim ended by encouraging his fellow BOF members to hold to a 0% increase.

BOF members wanted to clarify that they were talking about a budget that didn’t include the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).  The figure for the WWTP they said would be around $150,000.  Reggie wanted to know whether that was still a 39/61% split (39% paid by the town, 61% paid by the WPCA) and Dan Jerram said he “hadn’t gotten the feeling that it would be other than 60/40%.”  The question, he said, was whether the loan conversion was going to take place in 2010/2011 or in 2011/2012.

Ben again asked: “What kind of message do we want to send to the taxpayers?”  Exclusive of the wastewater treatment plant because, he said: “everyone voted they will accept this new expenditure. That’s something we all signed up for, it’s outside the budget.”

BOF member Alesia Kennerson agreed, saying that on the town budget, Dan and Annie need to look at it line by line to see what they could cut.  She said she’d like to see what 0% looked like from the (New Hartford Schools) BOE; Regional she didn’t know about.  Speaking as a state employee, she said: As a state employee we all opened up our contracts, and all gave back. I don’t see why teachers wouldn’t be willing to look at their contract.”

Board of Finance member Dr. Bill Rieger said he ‘d like to see the difference between 0% and 3%.

BOF alternate member Roy Litchfield said he was leaning towards a 0% increase.  “Either bite the bullet this year, or double up and bite the bullet next year.” Roy said, ending with: “I have to go with 0 (zero) all the way.”

Reggie Smith said he’d like to see what the budget would look like at 0 (zero).  He said he wanted to see the numbers with the WWTP.  “Do you see any money for economic development?” He asked Dan Jerram.  Dan said he had a couple of projects at the industrial park, that he was working with David (Childs, Economic Development Chairman).  Dan said he’d like to put some money into the Chip and Seal account, to pick and choose a few things.  Reggie said he was concerned about the roads, that if they didn’t put money into them now, it could cause a real problem.  Alesia said to Dan that she’d like to see him make cuts and funnel the money to roads.  Dan responded that Bruce was completing his evaluation of the roads and prioritisingthem.  He added that he wants to reallocate next year’s budget: “At $20,000 a mile that’s a lot of money.”

Roy Litchfield brought up the WWTP loan, making sure that it would be for 20 years and not 30. “Why do 20 years when you can do 30?” Town Treasurer Gordon Ross asked him.  “That’s what we agreed to.” Roy said.

Dan Jerram clarified: “0% to the taxpayer.  If (we) find grant money, it’s OK.”

Ben agreed, saying “Expenditures need to match whatever we can come up for revenues. If revenues are 0 (zero), expenses need to be 0 (zero).”  Ben said from what he’d heard, the message wasn’t strong enough.  “People should be looking at K-12 schools.” He said, adding that from conversations with teachers: “they won’t move.”  Ben then referred to a chart he had at the meeting which showed that the average wage for a teacher has gone from $56,000 to $72,000 after only 4 years.  “To keep it close to 0 (zero) for more than a couple of years, you’ve got to do something different structurally. ” He said.

“How do we get them to come in at 0%?” Alesia asked.  “Just don’t accept it?” “I believe the BOF has the authority to say ‘Here is what your budget is going to be’.  We do have that authority.” Ben answered.

After more discussion, Reggie proposed a motion for “A budget from all boards, commissions, etc. with expenses side no greater than 2009-10 FY (fiscal year) excluding the WWTP.”  Discussion again went back to the Board of Ed.  Ben asked Philip what the teachers’ wage increase was worth in the budget and Philip answered: “$200,000.”

Dan Jerram said that the benefits costs had a huge increase.  “Everything is going up.” He said, adding “It’s part of the elephants in the room.”  Reggie said: “There’s a need for a real reality check.” Referring to his having been laid off twice, he said: “Town employees have been lucky, they have been pretty much untouched. Won’t say it’s coming to roost ~ something has to change. They have an opportunity to come to the table, they should be doing something.”  All voted for the motion proposed by Reggie, with Bill Rieger abstaining.

Dan Jerram said they had some like-mindedness.  ” We’ll try the best we can to finalize a two-year plan. ”

Ben asked Alesia, who with Laura Sundquist makes up the Capital Expenditures Subcommittee,  if the subcommittee would have something for the BOF or whether they should do (the budget) the traditional way.  Alesia said to go ahead and do it the traditional way.

Ben said at the next meeting they would look at capital to see what would be rolled over and what wouldn’t.  Reggie said that projects can be carried over, that he’d like to see the board follow that standard, and not follow the thought: “that’s the way it’s always done.”  Ben said it’s legal (line transfers), to which Reggie said that he’d like to  have an actual document to show that’s true.

Other Items to Come Before the Board: Roy Litchfield ~ WPCA

Roy Litchfield, who is also a member of the Building Oversight Committee for the WWTP, expressed his concern that the WPCA wouldn’t be able to cover their costs.   He said 8 out of the 10 past years they haven’t made any money, and that they’re not make all the moves now to cover their costs.  Roy said that the 2-year construction plan for the WWTP was now being reduced to 13 months.  Ben agreed that they needed to come grips with it.  He said Bill Michaud of the WPCA was coming to the March meeting of the BOF  and they would check in with him about the payments that would soon need to be made on the loan.

The road leading from the Ovation factory building toward the intersection with Holcomb Hill Road this past Monday, February 15.  Photo: Maria Moore

The road leading from the Ovation factory building toward the intersection with Holcomb Hill Road this past Monday, February 15. Photo: Maria Moore

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Board of Finance Meeting
Tuesday, February 9, 2010 @ 7:00PM

AGENDA

I.Seating of Alternates

II.Adoption/Revision of Agenda

III.Approval of Minutes
a.1/12/10 – Regular Meeting

IV.Opportunity for Public to Speak

V.Reports:
a.BOE/Superintendents Report – Phillip O’Reilly
b.Bookkeeper’s Report – Annie Witte
c.Treasurer’s Report – Gordon Ross
d.First Selectman’s Report – Dan Jerram

VI.2009/10 Town Government year end projection update – A Witte, D Jerram

VII.2010/11 Budget discussions

VIII.Other Items to Come Before the Board

IX.Adjournment

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NH Schools Told “Come Back In 2012″ For Building Committee, Tree Cutting Extends To Chapin Park: BOS

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.  Following is a report of several of the items discussed at that meeting.  A copy of the meeting agenda is included at the end of this report.

Item #3: 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  projects are described in detail in our September 30 report of the engineers’ presentation to the New Hartford Schools Board of Ed.   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.  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.”  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  Tom Klebart’s: “Are there cost savings if do the projects at the same time?” Tom wanted to know.  “No, none.” Philip answered.  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.  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.  “Pay cash, that’s the new economy!” Dan said.  Selectman Bruce Gresczyk  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.”  Tom continued: “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?”  The selectmen calculated back from when the Bakerville bond is paid off ~ in 2014 ~ and told Philip: “Come back in 2012.”  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.  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.  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.”   Philip agreed, saying: “I’m not comfortable moving forward without technical support.”  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: “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,  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.  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.  “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.  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:  Appointments

Dan announced the following appointments:  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.  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.  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.  The Association was asking the town for a contribution ~ of about $500 Dan said.  The town pays about $400 for its annual membership and Dan clarified that they weren’t asking for an increase in the annual contribution.  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.   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.  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!  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.  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.  He said Barkhamsted had indicated their interest in looking into the project and Les wanted to know if New Hartford was interested.  New Hartford now boards animals at K-9 Kennel in Pine Meadow.  Bruce said that, having in the past regulated regional animal shelters, the town probably has the most cost-effective situation now.  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.  Bruce answered that what scavengers didn’t take ended up being taken to the dump.  The trees are on the town’s right of way and technically are town property.   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.  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.

One of the two large trees on Chapin Park that were cut down this past Monday, February 8.  Photo: Maria Moore

One of the two large trees on Chapin Park that were cut down this past Monday, February 8. Photo: Maria Moore

___________________

Board of Selectmen Regular Meeting
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
AGENDA

1.)Minutes – January 26, 2010
2.)Opportunity for Public Comment
3.)Dr. Philip O’Reilly re: School Building Committee Request
4.)Operations Updates
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 – LEI re: sand/salt storage facility
8.)Correspondence
9.)Request for Tax Refunds
10.)Any Other Business to Come Before this Board

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Canterbury Village, St. John's Church Bring Projects To WPCA ~ Report Completed

By: Maria Moore

All the members of the WPCA were present at their meeting yesterday evening, giving them a quorum and the ability to hold a meeting.  This has not been the case for the two meetings held in January when, lacking a quorum, the WPCA members continued their work in unofficial workshops.  With no new members having been appointed to fill vacancies, the WPCA is the one Board in town which needs every member present at meetings to have a quorum.  Also at the meeting, in addition to all the WPCA members, was Dan Jerram, First Selectman who sat at the table with the Board members; Denton Butler, member of the Building Oversight Committee for the wastewater treatment plant, and David Childs, Chairman of the Economic Development Commission both sat in the public seating area around the perimeter of the conference room.

At yesterday’s meeting, Thursday, February 4, there were two distinct parts to the proceedings: the first dealt with items brought to the Board by the public, and the second dealt with ongoing WPCA matters, such as the ordinance update; for the complete agenda of this meeting, see the end of this report.

Members of the public to appear before the WPCA were:

Item # 3: Tim Bobroske ~ Re: Canterbury Village

Tim Bobroske came before the WPCA to present his case on his having connected the two new buildings at Canterbury Village to the water line without having first obtained the approval of the WPCA.  Tim, the owner of the elderly housing complex on the corner of Reservoir Road (Route 219) and Black Bridge Road, had expanded the complex by adding one freestanding building at each end of the property, with each building  containing two luxury apartments. While the construction was ongoing during this past summer and fall, the subject of water connections to the two new units had been mentioned several times at WPCA meetings.  During those occasions Board members had been puzzled that Tim had not broached the matter with their Board.  Finally, with the buildings nearing completion, the WPCA had asked Ray Adamaitis, Connecticut Water Representative, to go over to Canterbury Village and see what was happening with regard to connecting water service to the new buildings.  Tim’s appearance before the WPCA was a result of Ray’s visit to the senior housing complex and his report back to the the Board members on the water connections that Tim had made to the two new buildings.

Tim started his presentation by saying that he disagreed with Ray.  He had built the units and connected each new unit to the existing unit closest to it.  He had gone to the building officials in town and had obtained a certificate of occupancy which gave him one year to resolve the issue of water.  Tim also informed everyone present a the meeting, including the First Selectman, Dan Jerram, of the fact that he has paid over $179,000 dollars in taxes to the town of New Hartford (since the senior housing complex had been built in town 8 years prior).

“8 years ago I was young and was intimidated.  I refuse to be intimidated now.”  Tim said, and then he explained that when he had first built the complex he was told by the WPCA that he had to put in a loop to service his buildings off the main water line in the road (Route 219 in front of the buildings), and then he’d had to put in individual lines to each one of the units (unclear whether he was referring to each unit or each building).   The whole had cost him $50,000. He compared this to his other senior complexes in other towns: in Plainville he has 5 units on 1 line, and in Thomaston he has 22 units on 1 line.

For his two new units, Tim said he’d gone through New Hartford regulations which say he had to comply with state regulations, and that is what he did: he’d hired a licensed plumber to do the work and it was up to code.  He showed a piece of the vinyl piping that had been used for his connection: ASTM D876/877.  He said he’d spoken with his attorney, and with John Tye, the state’s Building Inspector who had told him that he didn’t need to have the separate lines.  Tim added that he pays for all the water used at Canterbury Village and that if he were ever “to go to condo” (rather than the rental of each of the units) he would put in his own water line at his own expense.

WPCA members asked how long ago the new units had been built and they were told that the temporary certificate of occupancy had been given two months ago (at another point, it was said in November).  Ray was then asked: “What doesn’t he comply with?”

Ray said that years ago, when Tim had first come to the WPCA, he had been told there needed to be a single service for each single premise.  His original building had 20 units in it.  At that time it had been determined that if they had tapped 20 times into the main water line at the front of Tim’s property on Route 219 it would have weakened the road. The WPCA had asked Tim to put in the loop, which connects to the main line on Route 219 in only two places, and then to run an individual line to each of the premises off the loop .  “In 2001, he got the Board’s approval of how to do it.” Ray reminded the WPCA members.

On his visit to Canterbury Village Ray had found that to get water to the new units they had tapped into the water line in the basement of the existing building, ran a sleeve underground with the vinyl pipe inside it to the new building and so were able to provide running water to the new buildings.  The pipe that had been used was approved for inside use, Ray added, and outside piping is up to the WPCA.

Ray then went over several of the provisions in the WPCA’s Rules and Regulations that apply to the two new buildings at the Canterbury Village.  One of those provisions states: “A single service may not supply more than a single residence.”  Dave Rosengren, WPCA member, asked about River Run and he was told that it was grandfathered in since the condos had been there before 1998, when CT Water had put the rules and regulations together for the WPCA. Asked about the type of piping that had been used for the new buildings, Ray said that it was not an approved pipe: the WPCA requires 160 psi, and Tim had used 100 psi.

A question about the Waring building came up and WPCA members agreed that was an existing situation at that building, where there was only one meter for the whole building.  The DPUC (State of CT Department of Public Utility Control ) had agreed that they could submeter in that situation (run meters off the main meter).

Coming back to the situation at Canterbury Village, Board members were told that Tim had mentioned several times that he wasn’t coming in (before that Board).  Asked about the meters at Canterbury Village, Ray said there were 20 separate meters, and now there were 3 units on one meter for each of the new buildings.

“Why would you go ahead and do it without coming to see us?  You went through all that expense.”  Tim was asked.  “I did it for the cost.”  He answered.  “You took a gamble.” Dave Rosengren, who is an attorney, responded, adding: “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”  Tim came back by saying he was basing himself on his past experience with that Board.  He said he had researched the matter before making the connections.  “But you didn’t read our regulations.”  A Board member was heard to comment.  “You can turn it off.”  Tim said to the Board.  “No, you can’t turn the water off!” Ray corrected. “There are people living there, he’s the landlord.  You can’t turn it off.”  Tim said he’d be willing to change the pipe, and again it was stated that the certificate of occupancy gave him one year to address the water situation.

Bill Michaud,  WPCA member, said: “Out of fairness to everyone else, we have rules and regulations for a reason. Someone wants a less expensive way to do it, it’s not a good enough reason.  Otherwise why have rules?”  Again it was stated that no attempt had been made to get approval from the Board.  “If he’s allowed to do this, how do we know what’s going on anywhere?” another member of the Board commented.

Bill Michaud ended by saying: “I would make him put in the separate lines.”  “He has a temporary certificate of occupancy.  He has one year.” Ken Krohner said.  “Where did he get that certificate of occupancy?  By what authority?” Dave Rosengren asked.  Bob Krzys also wanted to know: “He had people ready to move in?  When did that become effective?”  “In November.” Ken responded.   “I was called and I gave him one year… I felt it was important.”

Ken wanted to table the matter to give time to discuss it  “I want to take it up at the next meeting.” Bob Krzys said. Dave Rosengren made the motion to table it to the next meeting, and the motion was passed.  As Tim gathered his materials to leave the conference room, Ken asked him to stop in and see him at Portobello’s.  “You’re the ice guy, right?” Tim clarified, referring to Ken’s Birch Lane Ice company behind the Portobello’s Restaurant location.   Tim then asked the First Selectman if he could see him for a minute, and Dan Jerram joined Tim in the hallway.  Tim’s voice could be heard for at least 10 minutes in the hallway as the Board went on discuss St. John’s Episcopal Church’s application to build a walkway along the side of their church which might impact the water line running alongside it.

Item #4: St. John’s Episcopal Church ~ Easement

Attorney Philip Walker and Diane Hayes, the Treasurer of St. John’s, had come to the Board to continue the process necessary to have the right easements in place for the church to be able to build a covered walkway along the side of the church which would give access to a structure in the back of the church.  This plan leaves the memorial garden on the other side of the church untouched.  The St. John’s representatives were also accompanied by Mary Ann Gunning who owns the Chapin Park Bed and Breakfast property next to the church.  There is an existing 15′ easement for a water line that runs from the Pine Meadow well through the old railroad bed across the church’s property and to the water line on Church Street.

The modified easement which the church had previously submitted to the WPCA was reviewed by the town’s attorney who commented that there were several more steps to be taken, including bringing the matter to Planning and Zoning.   The church’s attorney said that the only change in the language of the original easement was that, in the event that the town needs to work on the water line, the town will repair the grounds of the church but the church will be responsible for constructing the walkway.  Diane Hayes clarified that the walkway encroaches by about 2 feet into the easement but it would not be directly over the pipe.  In order to have enough room available for the heavy equipment to effect repairs, the church is also obtaining a 10-foot easement from Mary Ann Gunning, who had brought a copy of her easement to the meeting.

Dave Rosengren said that he wants specific language in the easement about the walkway, otherwise the town would be responsible for repairing it.  He also wants language to be included about no plantings being allowed on the easement otherwise they are there at the owner’s risk.

Dave said both easements need to be reviewed to ensure that combined they give a 25-foot right of way; to look at the indemnity, especially to see that the Board shouldn’t have to indemnify property owners in case of an emergency; and to give the Board protection and restricts to what it normally does in the case of plantings.  The Board will be sending both documents to the town attorney to review the points Dave raised.

Item #6: CT Water Update

Connection to MDC: Among the items that were discussed during the CT Water update by Ray Adamaitis was the matter of the MDC recurring bill of  $109.85 per month for a waterline that could provide the town with emergency access to supplies of water from the MDC; see our August 11 report on the WPCA meeting when this matter was first brought to the Board’s attention.

Bob Krzys told the Board members that Mark Worsman, the New Hartford Fire Department Chief, had said that he’d like the connection activated.  Ken Krohner said that the MDC had sent them a bill and that he hadn’t paid it.  “You’re making a unilateral decision which goes against the Board.” Bob responded, referring to the fact that the Board had decided to continue making the payments until they had received Mark’s input and could make a final decision on whether or not to abandon the line.

Ray Adamaitis said that CT Water had paid the MDC bill and that his company had made the decision not to try to get the money back.  Ray said it had been a conscious decision on his company’s part to retain the connection.  “If you lose that connection, it may be very expensive to try to reconnect to it again.” Ray told the Board.  “When you paid it, you (CT Water) assumed the cost?” Bob asked Ray, to which Ray responded: “Yes.”

Bob again stated that the Fire Chief wants to make the connection live.  Ken told the Board that the MDC had sent a new bill that very same day and that he would pay it.  The Board will continue working on this item.

Fire Hydrant Replacement: Ray reported that CT Water was “gettting through” repairing the fire hydrants that were found to be in need of repairs when they had been tested  at the time the lines had been flushed this past fall.  However, one hydrant in front of 70 Cottage Street needs to be replaced at a cost of $6,000, Ray informed the Board members.   Asked if it was a safety hazard, Ray responded that there was another hydrant down the street but that he’d put it on the list of things to do right away.  The Board members approved replacing the hydrant.

Other Items

Brook Street/Main Street Sewer Line Update: Ken informed the Board that the sewer lines on Brook Street and Main Street had been camaraed and the Building Oversight Committee was now waiting for the report and then the BOC would make a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen.  “And to the WPCA.”  A member of that Board added.

Sewer District Map: The Board members voiced their concern that the sewer district map they currently had was not sufficiently detailed for them to adopt officially.  Bob told the Board members that Karl Nilsen, Planning and Zoning Officer, wants to do a workshop with them on this item.  Bill Michaud, who is a civil engineer, also expressed his doubts about the map and said they needed the advice of Karl and Chip (Roraback, the town attorney).  Board members agreed to follow up on this item.

Board members also updated each other on their work on the following items:

  • Ordinances ~ Mary Beth Greenwood: Inspections of grease traps was discussed and  Ray Adamaitis was asked to identify which locations on a list should be inspected;
  • RFP (Request for Proposal) for Sewer/Water Operations ~ Bill Michaud: The RFP was sent to the town attorney and to Vic Kray, the consultant to the WPCA.  Ray asked whether the town required the kind of RFP that was been considered which was 28 pages long, and whether they wanted to have a single operator, or whether they should leave it open for two companies to partner together to provide the water and sewer operations.  Ray also questioned why the town was looking to hire an operator so soon.  He didn’t seem to think it was necessary to have the operator there right away just to be trained by the companies who provided the equipment.  In Ray’s opinion, the operators know how to run a plant, and each one has their own way of doing it. “It’s nice, but it’s not necessary!”  Bill agreed with Ray.  After more discussion about various aspects of the contract, the Board members said they would get a timetable from the town attorney and then they would schedule a special meeting to approve the RFP so that it could be issued quickly.

For the official, complete minutes of this meeting when they become available, please visit the Minutes and Agendas section of the town’s municipal website.

A view of Canterbury Village from Reservoir Road (Route 219).  Image from the Canterbury Village website

A view of Canterbury Village from Reservoir Road (Route 219). Image from the Canterbury Village website

————————————

Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA)
Thursday, February 4, 2010

AGENDA

1.) Minutes
2.) Opportunity for Public Comment
3.) Tim Bobroske – re: Canterbury Village
4.) Easement – St John’s Church
5.) John Chudzik – sewer plant operations update
6.) Ray Adamaitis – CT Water (water and sewer connections) update
7.) Brook Street/Main Street Sewer Line update
8.) Sewer District Map – vote for approval
9.) Sewer Assessment Lien on property
10.) Ordinance Update
11.) Completion and Approval of RFP – sewer/water operations
12.) Rules and Regulations Update
13.) Any Other Business to Come Before this Authority

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Business News Updates: Business Council Finds Much To Meet On; $weetheart Deal$ For All On NHPlus

Business Council report has been corrected to reflect the fact that Realty Works is expanding by opening an additional office in the Chatterley’s Building in New Hartford; Saturday, February 6.

By: Maria Moore

Steering Committee members of the New Hartford Business Council (NHBC) have had so much Council business to handle recently that they have been meeting not only once, but twice a month and will likely continue to do so for a while.

Meeting in the beautiful dining room of Chapin Park Bed and Breakfast and led by co-presidents Bart Baxter and Dawn Whalen, Steering Committee members have focused on a number of agenda items which are priorities for the Council.  Following is a report on a few of those items:

1.  Redefining the mission of the NHBC: With the help of Ron Miller of Ace Marketing, the Business Council adopted a new mission statement that members felt better reflects the role of the Business Council in the community.   The new mission statement reads:

“To create and promote a professional and productive partnership among area businesses, through community functions and social networking, in ways that will foster a positive business environment, thereby creating opportunities for area commerce.”

2.  Highlighting the value of NHBC membership: As Ron Miller put it: “Businesses want to know: “What’s in it for me?” ”  The Business Council recently partnered up with the Canton Chamber of Commerce and both organizations are offering a reduced membership fee to join each other’s organization.  This has given New Hartford businesses access to the events and educational opportunities offered by the larger Canton organization.

Another way of promoting the value in an NHBC membership is for members to display their membership in their business locations. Gardner Graves of Realty Works, whose company is in the process of expanding by opening an additional office in Chatterley’s building in New Hartford, is providing the Business Council with decals  of the Council’s logo to be distributed to members.

An M2M program has also been instituted.  Ron Miller is collecting a list of Business Council members who are making a special offer available to other NHBC members.  In the case of NewHartfordPlus, the M2M offer is 10% OFF all advertising on NewHartfordPlus to NHBC members.  This M2M list will be made available to NHBC members when completed.  If you are a Business Council member and would like to be added to the M2M list, please contact Ron Miller at ronm331@yahoo.com.

New Hartford Business Council members also have their business information included in the NHBC Members’ Directory section on NewHartfordPlus: a free “yellow page” ad on NewHartfordPlus as part of their NHBC membership fee.

3.  Support for Community Events sponsored by Business Council members: This is an area that Steering Committee members feel is an essential part of the Business Council’s role in the community.   During the last several months, Business Council members have supported the Holiday Marketplace at the Beekley Library and Light New Hartford.  This month, on February 21, the Farmers’ Market ~ a member of the Business Council ~ will be holding its 2nd Frozen Farmers Market and Skating Party on the Green at Chapin Park in Pine Meadow.  Steering Committee members are planning to have a stand at the Frozen Farmers’ Market.  We will provide more details on this event as soon as more information becomes available, or you may contact Anita Barden at Barden Farm: bardenfarm@aol.com; or Joanne Dahill at MarWin Farm: joanne@marwinfarm.com.

4. Steering Committee future plans: Other agenda items Steering Committee members are pursuing include setting up an NHBC website for its members.  NewHartfordPlus has discontinued maintaining a separate NHBC Business Notes section which we had made available free of charge to the Business Council for the past six months; we will add a link to the Business Council website as soon as it is available.  As always, we will continue to provide news coverage of the business community and the Business Council in our Business News Updates.

New Hartford Business Council members will also be attending Economic Development Commission (EDC) meetings to work together with that Commission on their common goals of promoting business in New Hartford.  NHBC Co-president Dawn Whalen and Gardner Graves will be attending future EDC meetings; EDC Chairman David Childs, who is also a member of the NHBC, has been attending all of the Steering Committee meetings.

The next meeting of the NHBC Steering Committee: is scheduled for Wednesday, February 3 at 8:30 a.m. at Chapin Park Bed and Breakfast, Church Street, in the Pine Meadow section of New Hartford.

For more information on the NHBC Steering Committee: please contact Co-Presidents Bart Baxter: 860-921-7149; or Dawn Whalen: ctce200@ctce.us.

Many Thanks: to Mary Ann Gunning for graciously hosting the NHBC Steering Committee meetings at her Chapin Park Bed and Breakfast.

Business Council Steering Committee members at their January 20 meeting.  Photo: Maria Moore

Business Council Steering Committee members at their January 20 meeting (from right to left) Dawn Whalen, Bart Baxter, David Childs, Mary Ann Gunning, Dotty Craig and Carol Monroe. Photo: Maria Moore

Business Council Steering Committee members (from left to right) Ron Miller, Deb Kuszaj, Gardner Graves, Carol Monroe and Kim Trumbull.  Photo: Maria Moore

Business Council Steering Committee members (from left to right) Ron Miller, Deb Kuszaj, Gardner Graves, Carol Monroe and Kim Trumbull. Photo: Maria Moore

$weetheart Deal$ Available on NewHartfordPlus

012710nhplusbusemailadhsLooking forward to Valentine’s Day, we’ll be making available $weetheart Deal$ to all our readers ~ but we need the help of area business owners to make it happen!  Here’s how it works:

  1. Business owners: Place a coupon with your business special offer or discount for Valentine’s Day and we’ll include it as one of the downloadable coupons in our $weetheart Deal$ promotion which will run between February 4 and February 14 on NewHartfordPlus.  What’s our  Sweetheart Deal for you, you’re wondering?  At $5 per day for a 10-day run, we think that’s a real sweetheart of a deal!  Click here to learn more, let us know what you want to offer on your business Sweetheart Deal coupon, and we’ll do the rest for you!  Call Maria at 860-309-7526 or email her at  newhartfordplus@gmail.com to place your order.  New Deadline: for placing your ad is 12:00 noon on Wednesday, snow or shine!
  2. Readers: Beginning Thursday, February 4 click on our large $weetheart Deal$ ad on our front page and download your $weetheart Deal$ coupons.  Enjoy using your coupons with our area businesses: A $weetheart Deal for us all!

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Calendar of February 2010 Meetings

By: Bob Moore

Here is our February Calendar of Meetings.  This month’s calendar features a photograph of New Hartford Center, taken from the the Route 219 bridge over the Farmington River.    Our monthly calendar lists the scheduled meeting dates and times of various Town organizations and other groups.  We’ve included a downloadable version that you can print and post in a convenient location to help keep track of meetings you may be interested in.

Download the February Calendar (128)

february_ca_580

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A Look Inside: The Old Waring Factory Gets a New Facade Plus

The first property we’re featuring in ‘A Look Inside,’ our new Real Estate section on interesting properties for sale in New Hartford, is the old Waring Factory building on Route 44 in Pine Meadow. No, the building is not for sale, but large parts of it are available for lease, and that was reason enough for us to get ‘A Look Inside.’

Carleene Beeman punching in to work with the old Waring time clock

Carleene Beaman punching in to work with the old Waring time clock

Carleene Beaman, the manager of Alpha Self Storage and of the old Waring Factory building, is a warm, southern lady who makes everyone who stops by her office feel welcome ~ and our reporter was no exception.   This past Friday afternoon Carleene spent some time telling our reporter about the storage facilities she manages and about the large spaces still available for lease.  The following day our reporter returned to take a tour and snap some photos of the building.

The old Waring Factory property at 283 Main Street, New Hartford, was purchased by Blackhammer LLC in October of 2006 after standing empty for over a decade.  The principal of Blackhammer is Tom Briggs, a young entrepreneur, who also owns property in the industrial park in New Hartford, as well as other commercial property around the state.

Collinsville Antiques of New Hartford leases  22,000 sq. ft. of the building, leaving another 185,000 sq. ft. available; of that, 40,000 sq. ft. is available for showroom/retail use, and 125,000 sq. ft. is available for commercial/warehouse use.

Alpha Self Storage units

Alpha Self Storage units

In the last couple of years, Blackhammer has undertaken some major work on the building. The company tore down the front of the old building and extended it to add retail and office space, and in so doing, gave the building a modern facade; see the copy of the floorplan below.

The interior of the building has also been receiving attention. A 33,578 sq. ft. self-storage facility has been carved out of the huge space, and storage units ranging from 5′ x 5′ to 10′ x 18′ are available for rent; see the Alpha Self Storage website for additional details. Another large section of the building, 37,595 sq. ft. of it, has been designated for indoor storage of RVs, boats and cars. This area was almost completely filled this past Saturday morning when Carleene showed our reporter and Glenn Strycharz, who happened to have stopped in, around the building. Glenn, had sailed extensively with his father in the past and he was able to give a sailor’s commentary on the vessels being stored. Glenn had also visited at the Waring Factory as a youngster, and he was able to identify the different areas of the old factory from the evidence that still remains in the interior. Please see our upcoming photo album of photos taken by our reporter of what remains of the old factory.

Future Plans

commacquservnh283mainhsCarleene showed our reporter one last open space consisting of 33,000 sq. ft., which she calls “the butler’s room,” and she spoke of her plans for that space: one half would be used as a reception room for weddings, meetings and community events; while the other half of the space could be for recreational use. Ideas being floated are indoor batting cages, or miniature golf, and an arcade.

There are also future plans for the large parking lot next to the Collinsville Antiques store. The area is being considered for outdoor storage and for the sale of landscaping supplies.

A different kind of a plan was also floated as Carleene, Glenn and our reporter toured the Waring Factory building, both the new parts and the old. Carleene mentioned how she’d love to have a photo of the Waring Factory when it was operating, and the three got talking about all the people in New Hartford who must have worked, or had family members who worked at Waring. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a get-together of everyone in town who has ties to Waring?” Carleene said. And Glenn and our reporter agreed with her: that would be quite an experience!

For more information: On self-storage units, or on the Waring property in general, please contact Carleene Beeman by calling 860-238-4080.The broker for the property is Alan Bolduc of Commercial Acquisition Services, LLC.

An International Airstream in storage at the old Waring Factory building.  Photo: Maria Moore

An International Airstream in storage at the old Waring Factory building. Photo: Maria Moore

waringfloorplanfl

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Republican Town Committee Elects New Officers

In answer to our inquiry about the newly-elected officers of the Republican Town Committee (RTC), we received the following press release from Jim Fitzgerald, the newly-elected Chairman of the RTC.

The New Hartford Republican Town Committee (RTC) held its Caucus and RTC meeting on January 7 at 7:00 p.m. in the Senior Center at the New Hartford Town Hall.  Ben Witte was nominated and elected as the meeting moderator.

The RTC expressed great satisfaction and thanks to Jack (John) Moore for all his years of serving as Treasurer on the RTC.  A tedious job, Jack was always on the spot with all events, meetings and statutory reporting for the RTC. Jack is still a member and active participant on the RTC but has passed the baton to our new Treasurer, Alesia Kennerson. The Caucus business was conducted first with the new January 2010 to January 2012 RTC membership nominations and confirmation votes taking place. New members were added and there were a few changes within the membership between regular and associate members. The new additions to the RTC are Alesia Kennerson, Bryan Keilty, Joe Gareis and Gordon Ross. The nominations and elections for the slate of Executive Committee members was completed and all nominations and confirmation votes were unanimous.   Below is the list of the Executive Committee for the term of January 2010 through January 2012.

Outside of the RTC agenda, Bryan Keilty was initiated this same evening with a little fun in a semi-private activity presented by Vice Chairman Steve Tuxbury with the skull-bowl of “Chief Nepaug’s Blood” which Bryan Keilty drank and immediately thereafter was welcomed in as a full-fledged RTC member. The New Hartford Republican Town Committee will release the calendar for the rest of the year at its next meeting which is tentatively scheduled for February 11 or 18. Announcement and agenda will be released within a week.

010710rtcelectfl

Congratulations: To the newly-elected officers and members of the RTC!

Jim Fitzgerald, the newly-elected RTC Chairman is seen standing immediately behind Dan Jerram in this photo immediately after the recanvass in early November, 2009.  Photo: Neil Tolhurst Photography

Jim Fitzgerald, the newly-elected RTC Chairman is seen standing immediately behind Dan Jerram in this photo after the results of the recanvass were announced in early November, 2009. Photo: Neil Tolhurst Photography

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A Look Over Last Year's Financials At Board of Finance Meeting (Part I)

By: Maria Moore

The Board of Finance members got a look at where the town has been financially for the last  year, where it is now and how the upcoming budget may shape up at their meeting on Tuesday, January 13.  Part I of this report is a summary of the auditors’ presentation of the town’s financial statements to the Board of Finance for the Fiscal Year ended 2009.  Part II will summarize the Board’s discussion of where the town stands at the halfway point of the 2009/2010 Fiscal Year and other items on the agenda; see the end of this report for the agenda for that meeting.

Where The Town Has Been Financially ~ 2008-2009 Town Audit Review

Chris King of Robert King & Company, the accounting company hired by the town, went through the report containing the audited financial statements for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2009; a copy of this 70-page report is available in the Town Clerk’s office for residents to look through.

Chris King said it was a “standard, clean report ~ all the numbers are reasonable.”  One of the items discussed was the report on the WPCA, which showed cash receipts from customers of $537,704 and payments to suppliers of $535,007, leaving a net cash flow of $2,697.    The money the WPCA generates is enough to pay its operating expenses but not to maintain its infrastructure, the auditor commented.

The town’s General Fund report, on page 16 shows the Revenues and Expenses for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009; see the copy of page 16 below.  It shows the town received $21,268,779 in total revenues, and spent $20,913,046 in total expenditures, leaving it with excess revenues of $355,733.  $272,017 of those excess revenues are from tax revenue.  Roy Litchfield wondered whether that was due to a 96/97% projected collection rate, but then having the collection rate come in higher than that.  Ben Witte commented that the town’s reserve fund stands at 12 to 13% of the budget.

The figures in the town’s Pension Fund were discussed.    For the period July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009, the fiscal year being reported on, the pension fund had a drop in its assets of $201,802.  This was due to the negative investment return of the fund during that time period, when the fund lost $309,371.  Even though the town had been overfunding the pension fund in the last three years to make up for previous years when it was underfunded, Chris King said the town should expect its required contributions to rise in the future.  Dan Jerram added that the fund had since recouped its losses, but benefits were still being paid out.

Roy Litchfield asked a question on the items under Capital Expeditures on page 45.  “There’s a dump truck ($132,000) listed.  How can we find out whether or not it was actually purchased?”  He was told those items were included in Annie Witte’s capital reports that she gives to the board members.   Reggie Smith followed up by asking the auditor how he felt about the town using an electronic purchase order system.  Chris King responded that those who had implemented them had greater control over line items, that the system “improves control and increases efficiency.”

The auditor said that for the next fiscal year the town will also have to prepare a Federal tax return due to the USDA funding of the wastewater treatment plant.  A letter with recommendations from the auditing company included that the Treasurer should review and initial bank statements monthly and that he should also review and initial the statements for the Cemetery Fund (Town Hill Cemetery). It was also recommended that minutes from all Board and Committee meetings should be kept in the Town Clerk’s vault, and that also posting those minutes electronically would ensure that they would be available if they couldn’t be located in the Town Clerk’s office.   Later in the meeting, Town Treasurer Gordon Ross said that he was continuing to monitor the town’s accounts online, as Blake Hall had done before him.  He said he would follow up on this to figure out what would be acceptable to the auditors.

A snapshot of the General Fund for the fiscal year ended June 30,2009; page 16 of the auditors' report

A snapshot of the General Fund for the fiscal year ended June 30,2009; page 16 of the auditors' report

For the complete, official minutes of this Board of Finance meeting, please visit the Minutes and Agendas section of the New Hartford municipal website.

_____________________________

Board of Finance Meeting
Tuesday, January 12, 2009 @ 7:00PM

AGENDA

I.Seating of Alternates

II.Adoption/Revision of Agenda

III.Approval of Minutes
a.12/8/09 – Regular Meeting

IV.Opportunity for Public to Speak

V.Reports:
a.BOE/Superintendents Report – Phillip O’Reilly
b.Bookkeeper’s Report – Annie Witte
c.Treasurer’s Report – Gordon Ross
d.First Selectman’s Report – Dan Jerram

VI.2008-09 Town audit report review – R.E. King & Company

VII.WPCA update – Bill Michaud

VIII.WWTP Building Oversight Committee report – Denton Butler

IX.Other Items to Come Before the Board

X.Adjournment

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Daily Community Calendar: Wednesday, January 13

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2010:

  • New Hartford Senior Center: Fitness: at 9 a.m.($2.50 per class, includes a fitness card which is stamped for every class attended); Wii Bowling at 10:00 a.m. For more information please call Jean Barnicoat at 860-379-3980 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
  • Retired Teachers of Litchfield County Winter Luncheon: at Marino’s Restaurant, 12 Pinewoods Road, Torrington. Registration is at 9:45 a.m., followed by a meeting and then lunch. CEA-Retired Teachers are continuing to collect non-perishable goods food items for Litchfield County food pantries.
  • Children’s Story Time for 2-year-olds at the Beekley Library: at 10:15 a.m. at the Beekley Library, 10 Central Avenue, New Hartford. For more information please call Andrea Gaedeke at the library at 379-7235.
  • Wednesday Night Drop-In Pick-Up Co-Ed Volleyball: at 7:00 p.m. through 9:00 p.m. in the gym at Ann Antolini School, Antolini Drive, New Hartford. Every week except when school is closed; adults and high-school aged only please.
  • Northwestern Regional #7 Board of Ed Meeting: at 6:30 p.m. in the Newbury Library, Northwestern Regional School, 100 Battistoni Drive, Winsted. For the agenda for this meeting, please see our Community Calendar.
  • Planning and Zoning Meeting: at 7:00 p.m. in the Sessions Conference Room at the Town Hall, 530 Main Street, New Hartford. For the agenda for this meeting, please see our Community Calendar.
  • Aquifer Protection Agency Meeting: at 7:00 p.m. immediately following the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in the Sessions Conference Room at the Town Hall, 530 Main Street, New Hartford. For the agenda for this meeting, please see our Community Calendar.
  • Are you hiring?: Please send us the details and we’ll list the job for free: We have many visitors to our Classifieds looking for work! Check out our Classifieds section. We add free ads to this section as they are submitted to us.
  • Should your event 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.

…NHGrapevine

“We should order in pizza next time!”

Our editor, Maria Moore, said to Selectman Tom Klebart last night at 10:05 p.m. after a marathon 4 1/2 hours of meetings: the first, the Board of Selectmen meeting at 5:30 p.m., immediately followed by the Board of Finance meeting. Those who had attended both meetings included the three selectmen, Denton Butler of the BOC, Alesia Kennerson and Reggie Smith of the Board of Finance, and our editor/reporter.

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…

A view of the woods in the late afternoon sunshine from our photographer's living room.  Photo: Maria Moore

A view of the woods in the late afternoon sunshine from our photographer's living room. Photo: Maria Moore

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A Lot Of Fire Power In A Small Town

I heard an interesting statistic the other day. Perhaps as much anecdotal as true but I found it interesting nonetheless.

I was told by a fairly reliable source that the Town of New Hartford, population approximately 6800, which also has approximately 3500 residences and any number of good sized structures, has more fire apparatus than the City of Torrington, population approximately 30,000.

Now since my contributions to NH+ are really more of the opinion type, my facts or figures may be skewed or just plain wrong without impinging on the journalistic integrity that the editors of this publication or those perhaps of the New York Times might require. With that said my ‘statistic’ that I alluded to might not be exactly correct. What I do know however, is that New Hartford does have three separate and independent fire districts, each with their own independent taxing authority, and each with their own take on just how a fire company should be run.

Now, since questioning the logic behind this certainly is in no way meant to impugn the integrity of the services or quality of these fire/rescue companies, I trust someone might just show if I needed to be uncorked from my car after slamming into a tree, or perhaps be willing to help me out in the event of a fire in my home. One can hope!

To be sure, the first-rate, first line of defense and care in our community that come from these very volunteers who spend many, many hours in training, and in doing, to protect and to serve, is very good. Whether it’s the cat in the tree or the unfortunate souls that have to deal with real trauma and hurt either through auto, home or accident, our brave men and women of the fire/rescue and ambulance services are friends indeed.

My question is: At what cost?

When I was running for the Board of Selectmen, post 9/11, the Town and the world were in a catatonic state of shock. Airplanes stopped flying, families gathered near to one another for comfort and safety, and we had watched in horror as giant buildings, once thought unsinkable, fell like twigs. We also watched in disbelief as firefighters, police, and medics, ordinary people all, did extra-ordinary things.

Once the tears and smoke cleared, the pride we all took in our first responders, everywhere, was palpable. Even here in New Hartford where we were touched in a very personal way by the terrorism that was 9/11. Those were dark days to be sure.

So hats off to those brave souls then, and now.

But again, my question is: Why do we need three fire districts with three fire chiefs, three tax collectors, redundancy of equipment, and perhaps the associated taxes paying for costs that might be eliminated or shared by all?

Not sure, but it does make for good debate.

Listen, I am very aware that the fire districts have been, and remain taboo when it comes to real public scrutiny. I get it. Kind of like the Teachers’ Lounge of my high school days. There are just some things you don’t mess with.

But at some point the expense of running these departments, and the associated fire district taxes required to do so, much like Litchfield County Dispatch (LCD), need to be held to the light of public debate. Yes, they all have public meetings to elect officials, and perhaps review their annual budgets, but if we as a Town took as much time dissecting these monolithic institutions as we do the Regional #7 operating budgets or why Jerram wasn’t changing ceiling tiles before he ran for First Selectman, I gotta think there would be some surprises.

I also know that these Departments have other revenue sources to offset expenses, and subsequent taxes to the community, but somehow that just doesn’t seem good enough.

As with many of our governmental institutions, the bureaucracy of the private fire districts needs to be more open and more open to trying to do things ‘another way.’ I’m not sure what that is but the question should be asked. It would seem now more than ever inter-department cooperation and collaboration should be paramount.

Having a fire department in Pine Meadow, roughly a 3 wood, and a pitching wedge away from The New Harford Fire District seems silly. Having a fire company in the South End of Town certainly makes sense in that the distances between Bakerville and the center of Town are massive when time is of the essence. So why not combine them all, with standardization of oversight, training, equipment, and cost?

In the end, all the taxpayers really want is to know that their safety and the safety of their families and homes are protected. When you are sitting behind the wheel of a car that has coiled up around you like a slinky, you probably don’t want to take a time out to get a quote to see who has the best price to extricate you.

Which is why I think we should probably look at this seriously, when time is not of the essence. For our little Town it just seems like a lot of ‘fire power’.

Which I am thankful to have.

New Hartford Fire Department on Route 219, New Hartford.  Photo: Maria Moore

New Hartford Fire Department on Route 219, New Hartford. Photo: Maria Moore

Chris Jones, a long-time resident of New Hartford, is a former selectman of the town. Chris’ Looking Forward commentaries appear regularly on NewHartfordPlus. We look forward to posting future commentaries, as they are penned by Chris.

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