Numerous projects and concerns were discussed on November 16th for the Board of Selectmen’s regular monthly meeting.
An expenditure of no more than $130,000 from the Capital Non-Recurring Fund was tabled until the December 1st Town Meeting for the installation of new equipment and controls, and modification of the existing ventilation equipment in the Multi-Purpose room in the Sherman School; the Board of Education and Superintendent-Principal Jeff Melendez requested the project “to provide cooling in the room”, as stated by First Selectman Clay Cope. First Selectman Elect Don Lowe voiced apprehensions in regards to engineering costs and asked for another review of the project totals.
The Department for Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has reviewed the Lake Noise ordinance draft and provided feedback, which is currently being reviewed by the attorney. More details are anticipated at the December Town Meeting.
The authorization of an expenditure of no more than $5,000 will be discussed and approved at the Town Meeting on December 1st for the Wakeman Hill Road project. The expenditure will come from the Capital Non-Recurring Fund and will be used for test borings, laboratory testing, and geotechnical study for any necessary improvements as determined by the Local Town Capital Improvement Program (LoTCIP) grant. The grant, originally for Taber Road, totaled $400,000, but has been increased to $750,000; Cope stated “The money is there,” documentation needs to be filed just as a formality.
Town Treasurer Eric Holub presented the Tax Deferment Committee report. There have been two meetings since the committee’s formation: the first to hear any concerns, and the second to review a draft ordinance and work out a plan to address those concerns. This two-year Tax Deferment Program may be applied for between January 1st and March 31st, and is for residents age 65 and older. The individual must live at his/her Sherman residence for at least 183 days in a year, and must have paid taxes for at least one year prior to the application; if the residence is not lien- or mortgage-free, the applicant must get the lien/mortgage holder’s permission to apply for the program. If a resident’s Federal Adjusted Gross Income rises above $75,000, there is a necessary two-year wait period before he/she may reapply for the program; however, Holub reassures that any taxes that were already deferred would remain so until the resident pays them, or the house changes ownership. The interest was proposed to follow the Applicable Federal Rate: long-term, bond-like, and not impounded; interest will only be collected on the amount deferred every year. The maximum amount that can be deferred is 100% of the taxes, but the option is available if residents want to defer less. Concerns were presented to the committee regarding delinquent taxes, and a payment plan was suggested. As of this publication, no decision has been made, but Holub stated that the committee will be looking into such possibilities.
Cricket Valley is a continuing concern for many residents, and those concerns have been presented to the Board as more updates on the power plant come to light. With the hope of bridging communication gaps, First Selectman Elect Don Lowe agreed to be the “point person” for correspondence with Cricket Valley.
Progress is being made with cell tower and cell service providers. T-Mobile was sent the signed lease, and the Town is waiting for the provider to sign and return it. Negotiations are still in the works for the SVFD radio communications; more details to follow.
No report was available for this publication for Happy Acres Farm, but John Motsinger reported at the meeting that the herd count is currently at 48.
Lowe reported that the guidelines and by-laws are still being finalized for the cell service ad hock committee, but will present an updated draft to the December regular monthly meeting.
The Board of Selectmen regular monthly meeting will be on Thursday, December 21 at 7 p.m., and the Town Meeting will be on Friday, December 1 at 7 p.m.
By Anne-Marie DiDomenico