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 Andrew Maynard, Warden of Stonington Borough, Burgesses Jeff Callahan and Juan O’Callahan, and members of the public and 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, commented that he went to the Police Station for the regular Board of Selectmen’s meeting two weeks ago, only to find that there was no meeting. He stated that in past years, the meetings of the Board of Selectmen were always posted outside of Town Hall, so citizens could see the notices any time of day or night. He commented that the newspapers have not been good about reporting the meeting days and times. Mr. Brown commented he will speak again to the editors. Mr. Faulise was informed that the meeting notices are posted in the Office of the Town Clerk, in accordance with State Statutes. Mr. Faulise commented that taxpayers of the town should not have to go to Town Hall to read the notices.
Mr. Faulise then questioned the item on the agenda regarding the appointment of a Director of Public Works. Mr. Brown commented that the position is in the Town’s Charter, and the Board of Selectmen has the prerogative to appoint a Director of Public Works. Brief discussion was held.
Mr. Faulise then commented on the history of the relationship between the Borough and the Town as it relates to Borough streets and highways.
Dorry Clay, Stonington, commented on the letter she wrote which will be addressed under New Business. The neighborhood wants to have a picnic on the south lawn of Town Hall. She discussed this with Mr. Brown who said it probably could not be done without a Certificate of Insurance. Mr. Brown commented that he had also mentioned to Ms. Clay there would be no bathroom facilities available on a weekend, and suggested the Pavilions in Pawcatuck as an alternative spot for the picnic. David Christina spoke and offered the use of his bathroom facilities (across the street from Town Hall) if the picnic were held at Town Hall.
Bill Sternberg, Stonington, commented on his concerns that the Board may not be following FOI guidelines when it comes to posting its agendas. He commented that at the last Board of Selectmen’s meeting, they acted on items not on the agenda (appointment of members of the Permanent Committee to Study the Needs and Use of Town Public Buildings, Including Town Hall Facilities) and stated this is not in compliance with FOI. Mr. Brown stated that the appointments Mr. Sternberg referred to were made under the general heading of Appointments, Boards and Commissions.
Ms. Clay commented that 50% of the town’s population is female, and it would have been nice to have a female appointed to the Permanent Committee. She stated that five members may be inadequate.
David Christina, Stonington, commented he would like to again request that the Board of Selectmen increase the number of members of the Permanent Committee, perhaps to seven. He offered to remove his name from consideration, and commented the Board should appoint a woman.
There were no further comments from the public.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to address Agenda Item # 4 at this time.
(4) Consider and act on Letter of Intent between Town and Borough regarding Borough Highways and Sidewalks
Borough Warden Andrew Maynard and Burgesses Jeff Callahan, and Juan O’Callahan came forward and addressed the Board. Jeff Callahan distributed a draft “Proposal for Reimbursement to the Borough by the Town for Streets Maintenance and Cleaning/Upkeep” and reviewed it briefly for the Board. Discussion was held, during which time Mr. Maynard stated he felt this is a positive sign and we are moving forward. They want to have something that sets in place something permanent, a formula agreeable to both the Town and the Borough. They proposed basing calculations on figures from newly adopted budgets instead of audited past budgets, as that would more accurately reflect their current expenses. Mr. Callahan reviewed some items they felt might be taken
into consideration when calculations are begun, such as the sum share of the Town’s P & L insurance; expenses associated with maintaining the garage; some portion of the town engineer’s services; perhaps some contracting services and perhaps some bonding expenses which may be attributable to the highway department. Mr. Callahan reiterated that the Borough would like to see the formula based on the town’s developing budget, not its past budget.
Mr. Brown commented that the numbers he gave to the Borough representatives were from the 05/06 budget. If our developing budget goes down, your reimbursement would stay the same. Mr. Callahan commented that if we were using the developing budget, if your budget doesn’t pass, our figure would decrease along with yours. Mr. Brown commented that he was proposing a 54% increase over what the Borough has been receiving.
Mr. Maynard commented they would like an agreement to be executed between the Board of Selectmen and the Borough Warden and Burgesses and not have the agreement be subject to Board of Finance intervention. Mr. Brown commented that ultimately, the Board of Finance decides on the budget, to which Mr. Maynard agreed but commented that the Board of Finance should not unilaterally be able to cut the Borough’s portion. Mr. Brown commented the town may need to obtain a legal opinion on this matter.
Consensus of the Board and the Borough representatives was to take the information discussed tonight under advisement and arrange another meeting after obtaining some numbers from the Town’s Director of Finance.
(3) Consider and act on appointment of Director of Public Works
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette and seconded by Mr. Brown to appoint Town Engineer Joseph Bragaw as Director of Public Works.
Discussion ensued, with Mr. Balestracci stating that Mr. Bragaw is an excellent Town Engineer, but the Town should advertise for a Director of Public Works if they intend to fill that position. Mr. Bessette commented that Mr. Bragaw knows the job, knows what to do, and the management team at Town Hall has been working towards this goal for four or five years. Mr. Balestracci commented that the matter of a Public Works Director has been discussed for the past 15 years and many people in Town are against it, although he personally is in favor of the idea of a Director of Public Works.
There being no further discussion, the vote was 2 in favor, 1 abstention (Mr. Balestracci).
(5) Consider and act on timeframe for Permanent Committee to Study the Needs and Use of Town Public Buildings, Including Town Hall Facilities, to report to Board of Selectmen with a recommendation regarding Town Hall Facilities
Mr. Brown commented that he spoke with Stephen Small, the acting Chairman of the Permanent Committee to Study the Needs and Use of Town Public Buildings, Including Town Hall Facilities. Mr. Small told him he needed until the end of February, 2007 to be able to come up with a recommendation for the Board regarding Town Hall.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to charge the Permanent Committee to Study the Needs and Use of Town Public Buildings, Including Town Hall Facilities with a timeframe of seven months, or until the end of February, 2007, to report back to the Board of Selectmen with their recommendations regarding the Town Hall building/facilities.
(6) Consider and act on Resolution authorizing First Selectman to execute Mutual Police Assistance Agreement
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to adopt the following Resolution:
“WHEREAS, Connecticut General Statutes §7-277a authorizes municipalities to enter into agreements for mutual police assistance; and
WHEREAS, the Chief of Police for the Town of Stonington and the Board of Police Commissioners have recommended that the Town of Stonington join with the Town of Groton and the City of Groton to furnish police assistance to each other; and
WHEREAS, it has been determined that the Towns of Stonington and Groton and the City of Groton should assist and participate with each other in the enforcement of the narcotic laws of the State of Connecticut; and
WHEREAS, a Mutual Police Assistance Agreement has been prepared;
NOW, THEREFORE, William S. Brown, as First Selectman, is hereby authorized to execute the Mutual Police Assistance Agreement on behalf of the Town of Stonington, its Police Chief and Board of Police Commissioners.
(7) Bid Awards / Letters of Agreement - None.
(8) 9-1-1 Street Numbering - None.
a. Blessing of the Fleet
A letter dated July 5, 2006 was received from Arthur Medeiros, Chairman, St. Mary Church Blessing of the Fleet, requesting permission to use the Stonington Town Dock for the 52nd Annual Blessing of the Fleet, which will be held on July 29th and 30th, 2006.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci and seconded by Mr. Bessette to grant permission for the use of Stonington Town Dock as requested in Mr. Medeiros’s letter.
Mr. Bessette inquired about a Certificate of Insurance (Mr. Brown stated it is in place) and if arrangements could be made to make sure that access to the children’s playground area is available and not blocked off as it was last year. Mr. Brown commented he will talk to Mr. Medeiros.
There being no further discussion regarding this matter, the vote was unanimous.
(10) Re/Appointments Boards and Commissions - None.
(11) Old Business - None.
(12) New Business
a. Request to use Town Hall property for neighborhood picnic
Mr. Brown read a letter from Dorry Clay, dated July 25, 2006. Ms. Clay is working with other residents to organize the “Stonington Midlands Neighborhood Association” in order to recreate the sense of community that existed in the greater Velvet Mill neighborhood when she was growing up on Williams Street and later on Elm Street. They are requesting permission to use the lawn at Town Hall for a neighborhood picnic on Sunday, August 20, 2006 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Mr. Balestracci inquired how many people, Ms. Clay was not sure. Mr. Balestracci inquired if the picnic could be held in someone’s yard, Ms. Clay stated it’s possible, but the neighbors felt they wanted to have it at Town Hall. Discussion was held about alternative areas, such as the park by the Velvet Mill (which is in the Borough) or the Pavilions (which are in Pawcatuck). Mr. Bessette commented that he would not have an objection to their request, but they would have to deal with portable toilets, traffic issues, a Certificate of Insurance, and possibly police assistance. Mr. Brown commented that the Town would require a Certificate of Insurance, portable toilets, and contact with the Police Department at the very least, as well as possible other issues. Ms. Clay stated she would begin to investigate the possibilities.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci to table this matter, and the Board agreed to table it.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the regular meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.
Kathy A. Kent