At the regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen on September 9, First Selectman Pat Del Monaco noted that COVID-19 cases in town continue to rise. At the time of the meeting there were 21 cases per 100,000, up from an average of 19 cases the previous 2 weeks and 17 cases the 2 weeks before that.
She noted that New Fairfield is the only town in the area that is in the red zone of high case rates in the state. Ms. Del Monaco said this correlates to the town’s low vaccination rate in comparison to other towns in the area. She urged everyone that is eligible to get vaccinated. She said that the town’s vaccination percentage is increasing roughly 1% per week. Most towns in the area have vaccination rates of 70% or more. New Fairfield’s vaccination rate is just 65%.
She went on to say that just 49% of 12 to 17 year olds in town are vaccinated. Ages 18 to 24 are at 73%, 25 to 44 year olds are at 58%, 44 to 65 year olds are 66%, and over 65 is 100%.
Conversation then turned to possible distribution of the 2020-2021 fiscal year budget surplus. Ms. Del Monaco said that she would like to see surplus used to restore three items that were cut from the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget—police dashboard and body cams ($110,000), vinyl siding for the Company A firehouse ($60,000), road repair ($125,000), and fire department operation surplus ($2,268.14). She said she also would like to use $425,000 of the surplus for the purchase of the 13 & 15 Route 37 properties.
The police cameras are an item that must be in place by July of 2022, according to a new state statute. The town would receive a 30% rebate on the cost after the cameras are purchased. The two Route 37 properties are located behind Town Hall and are also bordered by Memorial Field on one side and the Senior Center on the other.
The Board approved moving forward with an appropriation of $722,268.14 from the General Fund for the items discussed. The next step would be to get approval from the Board of Finance. Once that is in place, the request would be voted on at a Town Meeting.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen will be Thursday, September 23 at 7:30 p.m.
By Greg Slomba