The New Fairfield Town Board of Selectmen (BOS) met to discuss a long list of uses for the $980,000 surplus at its September 6th meeting last week.
A variety of items were on the list, including enhancements to the Town’s cyber security, PD technology, state mandated well testing for the Town’s water supplies, continued hybrid meeting for the Town’s meetings, an upgrade to the Town’s eFinancePlus system, and medical reserve contributions, to name a handful.
Finance Director Olga Melnikov spoke to the Board of Selectmen about the cyber security upgrades. “It’s something the Town should consider at this time. You know you cannot be too safe when investing in your cybersecurity. Everything is done online, and we heavily rely on our IT infrastructure,” Melnikov said to the BOS. The estimated costs to the Town would be an additional $34,586 per year.
One of the larger items on the list was the Town’s negative balance at New Fairfield’s Drop Off Center (DOC). “So just to be clear, this is not a deficit from ongoing operations at the Drop Off Center,” said Selectman Khris Hall. Melnikov agreed that the deficit at the DOC was the result of the storms the Town has weathered, though First Selectman Pat Del Monaco did warn there was a chance that the Town would have to raise its annual and site disposal fees to cover the increased costs of hauling away items at the center.
Ms. Del Monaco also discussed the need to replace the aging 4G modems in the Town’s complement of police cars. “This was another one that caught us somewhat by surprise,” she said. “The computers are on a replacement cycle, but the modems will not be supported. That’s something we feel we need to address.” The replacement of the aging technology would be $10,000.
Another unforeseen increase in the budget for next year is the increased spending in well testing. According to Ms. Del Monaco, the State has required the Town to increase its well testing due to an increased presence of the dry-cleaning chemical perchloroethylene found in the water. Connecticut has asked the Town to go from one test of one well to multiple tests of four wells to monitor the situation.
Melnikov and the BOS discussed each of the line items in turn, discussing the pros and cons facing each purchase. One of the most discussed items was contributing to the Town’s medical reserve fund, which had dipped below what most of the BOS felt was their ‘safety’ margin. “Contributing to it now will take the pressure off next year’s budget,” Melnikov said.
The next regular Board of Selectmen meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 22, 7:30 p.m.
By Timothy Koppe