The Stonington Board of Selectmen held a regular meeting on this date at 7:00 p.m. at the Stonington Police Station. Present were First Selectman William S. Brown, Selectman Stephen E. Bessette and Selectman Peter L. Balestracci. Also present were members of the public and a member of the press.
(1) Call to Order
Mr. Brown called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
(2) Comments from the Public
Vincent Faulise, Pawcatuck, thanked the Board for planning on sending the budget to referendum, as he feels that is the right thing to do. He commented on various agenda items, and with regard to the issue he read in the newspaper about Borough street maintenance, he feels the time has come to start looking at having the Borough become part of the Town and not stand alone as a Borough.
Joan Balestracci commented that the Board of Selectmen should consider running the referendum from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m., instead of 6:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m. Mr. Faulise commented he would prefer to have it all day (6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.)
Bill Sternberg, 153 Elm Street, Stonington, thanked the Board for hosting the recent Open House at Town Hall and commented he is looking forward to the tour of the physical plant.
(3) Set call for Annual Town Meeting and date for Budget Referendum
Mr. Brown read a letter dated April 11, 2006 from Glenn Frishman, Chairman, Board of Finance, recommending that a budget totaling $51,478,850 with a 21.19 mil rate be sent to the Board of Selectmen for Town Meeting.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to adopt the following Resolution:
RESOLVED, that pursuant to Section 3-2 of the Charter, the Board of Selectmen calls the Annual Town Budget Meeting for Monday, April 24, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. at the Stonington High School Auditorium as outlined in the Notice of Annual Town Budget Meeting, which is attached to these Minutes as Appendix “A”, which Notice is hereby approved.
A motion was then made by Mr. Bessette and seconded by Mr. Balestracci to adopt the following Resolution:
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED, that pursuant to Section 9-1 of the Charter, the Board of Selectmen sets the date for Referendum and Adjourned Annual Town Budget Meeting for Tuesday, May 2, 2006 as outlined in the Notice of Referendum and Adjourned Annual Town Budget Meeting, which is attached to these Minutes as Appendix “B”, which Notice is hereby approved.
Discussion took place regarding the timeframe of the referendum. Mr. Balestracci commented that the hours should be from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m., because relatively few people vote during the early morning hours and it is a waste of money to have the polls open during those hours. Mr. Brown and Mr. Bessette expressed their preference for keeping the polls open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Mr. Brown commented that this is the most critical issue the taxpayers vote on, and he wants to give them ample opportunity to get out and vote. Mr. Bessette commented he has heard from some taxpayers, requesting the polls be opened at 6:00 a.m.
There being no further discussion on the issue, the vote on the motion was two in favor, one opposed (Mr. Balestracci).
(4) Requests for Tax Abatement from Tax Exempt Late Filers
A memo dated March 28, 2006 was received from Marsha Standish, Assessor, regarding late filing of quadrennial tax exemption forms by some tax exempt organizations in Town, which resulted in the waiving of their rights to tax exemption for the October 1, 2005 Grand List. The memo included a list of the organizations. In order for these organizations to not be taxed, the Board of Selectmen will have to abate the taxes. Mr. Brown explained that these organizations are considered tax exempt and should not be penalized for not getting their forms in on time.
Discussion was held and Mr. Brown stated he would entertain a motion to abate personal property taxes for the organizations listed. Ms. Standish reiterated that the abatement should be for all property taxes, not just personal property taxes. The consensus of the Board was to table the matter for a few minutes while Ms. Standish drafted the proper motion for abatement. Ms. Standish drafted the appropriate motion and the Board proceeded to address this issue.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to grant the tax exempt properties that failed to file timely an abatement in accordance with Section 12-124 of the C.G.S. subject to the following condition: that the quadrennial form be filed, along with a $35.00 late filing fee. (Properties that failed to file timely: Sea Research, Mystic Little League, Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center, Friends of Stonington Crew, Mystic Flag Committee.)
(5) Resolution for Summer Food Service Program
A request was received from Beth Stewart, Director of Human Services, for the Board to authorize signatures for the Summer Food Service Program.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to adopt the following Resolution:
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that William S. Brown, First Selectman of the Town of Stonington, is hereby authorized to sign agreements and to sign claims for reimbursement for the Summer Food Service Program administered by the Connecticut State Department of Education, Bureau of Health and Nutrition Services, Child/Family/School Partnerships.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in the absence or incapacity of the First Selectman, George R. Sylvestre, Director of Administrative Services, is hereby authorized to sign said agreements and to sign claims for reimbursement.
(6) Town Clerk - Historic Document Preservation Grant Application
A request was received from Cynthia Ladwig, Town Clerk, for the Board to authorize the grant application for Historic Document Preservation.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to adopt the following Resolution:
RESOLVED: That William S. Brown, First Selectman, or the Town Clerk as his designee is empowered to execute and deliver in the name of and on behalf of this municipality, an application and contract with the State Library for an Historic Document Preservation Grant.
(7) Consider and act on establishing the “Permanent Committee To Study The Needs & Use Of Town Public Buildings, Including Town Hall Facilities” in accordance with the Resolution passed at the March 30, 2006 Special Town Meeting (determine the number of members, term limits, qualifications, etc.)
At the Special Town Meeting held on March 30, 2006, a Resolution was adopted to establish “…a permanent committee to study the needs and use of town public buildings, including Town Hall facilities. The purpose and responsibilities of said committee shall be as determined by the Board of Selectmen and shall include developing a townwide plan for addressing the current and long-term needs of Town owned public buildings, but not including the buildings and infrastructure of the schools and WPCA. The number of committee members, their qualifications, terms, and number of meetings per year shall be determined by the Board of Selectmen. The committee shall prepare a written annual report to the Board of Selectmen and advise the Board of Selectmen on all public works
projects involving the town’s building and infrastructure.”
Mr. Brown recommended establishing a five member committee with five year terms, except that the initial terms shall be staggered so that one member shall be appointed for one year (2006-2007), one member shall be appointed for two years (2006-2008), one member shall be appointed for three years (2006-2009), one member shall be appointed for four years (2006-2010), and one member shall be appointed for five years (2006-2001). The members may be reappointed after their terms expire.
Brief discussion took place, with Mr. Bessette questioning the need for the long name of the committee. Mr. Brown stated we are obligated to call it that because that was an issue voted on at Town Meeting. Mr. Balestracci inquired if the committee members should be limited to one or two terms, to which Mr. Brown replied that the land use commissions are limited in that way, but other boards and commissions are not.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to establish a five-member Permanent Committee To Study The Needs and Use Of Town Public Buildings, Including Town Hall Facilities, whose members shall initially be appointed for staggered terms as described above and thereafter shall be appointed for five year terms.
Mr. Brown commented that the Selectman’s Office is receiving applications for appointment to the committee until Friday, April 21, 2006 and the Board of Selectmen will make appointments after that date.
(8) Bid Awards / Letters of Agreement
A letter dated April 5, 2006 was received from William Stewart, Superintendent of Highways, stating that one (1) bid was received from W. H. Rose, Inc. for an all season truck body on March 8th, 2006. The total bid, $69,784.00, exceeded the funding for this item. The Maintenance Supervisor met with the vendor and reviewed the bid and specifications and by eliminating some items that can be fabricated and installed by the mechanics, the vendor revised the price to $60,182.00. Mr. Stewart recommends that the bid for the All Season Truck Body be awarded to W.H. Rose, Inc. in the amount of $60,182.00.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to accept Mr. Stewart’s recommendation and award the bid for the All Season Truck Body to W.H. Rose, Inc. in the amount of $60,182.00.
(9) 9-1-1 Street Numbering
Joe Larkin, Zoning Official, forwarded the following recommendations for assigning street numbers in accordance with the Street Naming and Numbering (Emergency 9-1-1) Ordinance. The Assessor concurs with these recommendations.
24 North Broad Street, Pawcatuck, CT 06379
273 Greenhaven Road, Pawcatuck, CT 06379
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to assign these street numbers as recommended by the Zoning Official.
The Board received correspondence dated March 7, 2006 and April 10, 2006 from Louise Fabrykiewicz of the Sierra Club, regarding the Broadwater LNG project. She urged the Board to discuss, and take a position with regard to, the proposed project. Mr. Brown inquired whether the Board would like to discuss this matter tonight, and his colleagues on the Board declined.
(11) Re/Appointments Boards and Commissions
a. Economic Development Commission
A letter of resignation was received from Commission member Heather Lathrop-Williams, creating a vacancy.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to move Hamilton “Tony” Lee up from alternate to regular member, filling the remainder of Ms. Lathrop-Williams term, which expires December 31, 2006.
b. Stonington Harbor Management Commission
Mr. Francis Falck’s term on the Commission expires on April 30, 2006 and a letter of thanks will be forwarded to him.
Mr. George Kenyon’s term on the Commission expires on April 30, 2006. Mr. Kenyon is willing to serve again and Chairman Peter Vermilya recommends his reappointment.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to reappoint George Kenyon as a Town representative on the Stonington Harbor Management Commission for a 3-year term that will expire on April 30, 2009.
c. Affordable Housing Committee
Two vacancies exist on this Committee, and two applicants have expressed interest in being appointed.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to appoint Tim Murney and Hamilton “Tony” Lee as members of the Affordable Housing Committee.
(12) Old Business - None.
(13) New Business
a. Proclamation for Neighbor Day
A letter dated March 10, 2006 was received from Vicki Anderson, Executive Director, Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center, requesting that the Board of Selectmen proclaim the Sunday before Memorial Day 2006 as Neighbor Day in the Town of Stonington.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to proclaim that the Sunday before Memorial Day 2006 be recognized as “Neighbor Day” in the Town of Stonington.
b. Pawcatuck Lions Club 5K Road Race
A letter dated March 30, 2006 was received from Darren Stewart, stating that the Pawcatuck Lions Club will again be hosting their annual 5K Road Race on Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 6:00 p.m. The race travels along Mechanic Street, River Road, Mark Street and then back to Pawcatuck Park. They respectfully request permission to use Pawcatuck Park for this event.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to grant permission to the Pawcatuck Lions Club to use Pawcatuck Park for their 5K Road Race event on Wednesday, May 17, 2006 as requested.
c. Request for ZBA fee reimbursement
A memo dated April 6, 2006 was received from Jason Vincent, Director of Planning, recommending fee reimbursement to a ZBA applicant who withdrew his application almost immediately after submitting it, due to external issues related to the property owner. The Town incurred no expense with regard to this application.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to reimburse $330.00 to Mr. James Marino, the ZBA applicant.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the regular meeting was adjourned at 7:37 p.m.
Kathy A. Kent