Board of Selectmen briefs: approved contracts and more

The following items were discussed and voted on at the May 20 Board of Selectmen meeting.

High School roof contract

The board unanimously approved a contract to tear and replace sections of the high school roof. The town has budgeted $600,000 for the project. Department of Public Works Director Chris Burney said three bids came in and the lowest bid was for $480,000. Burney said while they are under budget this came with the caveat they may come across unforeseen conditions when they work on the roof.

Road paving contract

A road-paving contract received unanimous approval for a proposed expense of $2.87 million.

Burney said this year’s budget will not be entirely assigned to this project. However, he said they planned to complete 15 miles of paving this year.

Cannon Road

During the winter months Cannon Road chronically encountered an ice patch problem. Burney said since the change in the weather his team may have found a solution.

“We recently discovered a catch basin, right in front of one of those two big new houses on the road,” he said. 

As the water level dropped, a 15-inch pipe was discovered. He said he and his team has about 15 percent of it open. Since the pipe has been partially cleared the runoff of excess water has stopped, Burney said.

He added the town is bringing in a contractor to help open the pipe as well as see what is causing the blockage on the road.

Street Scan contract

The board unanimously approved a Street Scan contract at its meeting. The cost would be $30,000 up front, with an annual cost that comes out to $80 a week. The annual cost would cover Street Scan’s custom reports and any new data.

Burney said the town should consider scanning the roads in five years since they’ve already begun a road paving process. He said he first heard of Street Scan while on a call with the Connecticut Council of Municipalities. The company sends vans equipped with laser cameras, radar, and three-dimensional cameras t record everything along the roads in town. They then are able to rate every square foot of a road, Burney said. He added this could help decision making in the future.

“Our methods of picking roads that are going to be paved have a lot of subjectiveness to it,” he said. “This gives us a way to actually measure and produce a table.”

Musket Ridge Bridge

The board unanimously approved allowing the Department of Public Works to apply for a grant to fix Musket Ridge Bridge.

Burney said the bridge has been identified as having some problems although it’s not structurally deficient just yet. He said the state estimates $747,800 to fix the bridge. A state program would cover 50 percent of the costs if the town is approved for a grant.

Blum Shapiro contract

The board unanimously moved to allow First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice to sign an extension with Blum Shapiro for another two years if needed. Blum Shapiro is an advisory firm that assists the town with payroll, policy and procedures and more. 

Chief Financial Officer Anne Kelly-Lenz said the request comes because she believes it is important to keep some continuity with the firm due to the various tasks they are doing. The Board of Finance will next have to decide if it wants to stay with the firm.

Board of Assessment Appeals results

The board was also given an update on the Board of Assessment Appeals results.

Kelly-Lenz said there were 188 appeals received, which included seven business personal property assessments, 144 residential real estate and 37 commercial property assessments. She said one of the major appeals was the Second Taxing District, which had multiple properties when it came in for appeals.

She added for the fund balance perspective, there was a reserve for appeals because some appeals may go to court.

Financial report

Kelly-Lenz said the town is forecasted to come in $1.4 million higher than budgeted on the revenue side. She added the interest rate on cash reserves was estimated to go higher. 

On the expenditure side, the town is forecasted $1.4 million under budget with, she said. Savings could be used to address future projects, she added.

Vanderslice said at the board’s first meeting of June they plan to discuss savings and future projects.

10-year bonding plan

Vanderslice said she believed it was important to make a 10-year bonding schedule. While the town does five-year plans she said she saw it was important to make a 10-year plan.

With work planned for the town’s bridges, the police department and more, the board would work over the summer to outline a 10-year plan.