NEW FAIRFIELD – At its regular meeting January 25, the Board of Selectmen issued a warning for a Town Meeting to be held at 7:00pm on Thursday, February 8 in the Community Room at 33 Route 37 in New Fairfield. The purpose of the meeting is to “consider and act upon an authorization to apply the 2016-17 town budget surplus of $123,037.61 as follows: $293.41 to Fire Company Reserve, $25,000.00 to Cap & Non-Town Vehicle, $37,000.00 to Cap & Non-Town Properties Capital, $23,744.20 to Cap & Non-Emergency Planning Capital, $20,000.00 to Ambulance-Para/EMT, $15,000.00 to Cap & Non-Business Machines & Equipment, and $2,000.00 to Cap & Non-Business Machines & Equipment.”
The Board also approved the appointment of Cohen and Wolf, P.C. as Town Attorney. The vote was 2 to 1, with Selectman Kim Hanson against.
First Selectman Pat Del Monaco warned residents to remove all valuables from their cars and keep them locked, as there has been a rash of thefts of items from cars parked in driveways. She also indicated that Selectman Khris Hall has started holding listening hours in the library Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30pm and Thursdays from 10:00 to 11:00am. Selectman Hanson also noted that although the nature of his job did not allow for regular hours, he is always available to speak with residents about their concerns.
Ms. Del Monaco announced that the final budget workshop will take place on January 31 at 10:30am in the Town Hall conference room. Ms. Hall noted that the paving budget, which usually averages between $500,000 to $600,000 each year had been eliminated from last year’s budget due to proposed cuts in town funding by the State. She stated that the Board would be looking to reinstate That line item to the 2018-19 budget. She also said the Board would be adding $55,000 to the budget for EMS services as there are not enough volunteers to cover all shifts.
The Board also gave an update on the proposed town Facebook page. Ms. Del Monaco reviewed a draft of procedures for the administration of the page. The First Selectman and the IT department would be page administrators. The First Selectman’s administrative assistant would post links to board and commission agendas, minutes and videos. The page would be used to post town events, board and commission meetings, information and Alert Now messages.
Comments would be allowed on the page, but no responses would be posted. Instead, comments in need of responses would be directed elsewhere. This would be outlined in the About section of the page.
In the ensuing discussion, Mr. Hanson voiced concern that meeting posts for the many town boards and commissions might get lost in the multitude of postings on the page. He suggested perhaps posting links on the town website to individual social media pages for the various boards and commissions.
In the end, the Board voted unanimously to approve the creation of a Town of New Fairfield Facebook page.
The Board also discussed recycling drop off center fees. Ms. Del Monaco noted that since the center went from a multiple stream collection system to a single stream (all types of recyclables in one bag rather than broke out separately) several years ago, revenues have gone down. She proposed increasing the fee for a 13 gallon bag from $1 to $2 and the fee for a 30 gallon bag from $2 to $3.
Mr. Hanson said tat he would like to see the most recent income figures and how the town’s current rates compared with those of other towns. Ms. Hall said that although she thought the center needed to raise its rates, she felt that more background information was needed before raising rates. The Board decided to table the item until its next meeting pending more information.
The next regular Board of Selectmen meeting is Thursday, February 8 at 7:30pm.
By Greg Slomba