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New Fairfield Town Hall

Last week the New Fairfield Board of Selectmen held a special meeting on Monday the 19th and a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday evening.  Susan Chapman and Mike Gill were the selectmen in attendance for both meetings, Kim Hanson was absent.

The special meeting was called to order at 9am. Two items were discussed.  The first was a budget transfer of $6422.01 from building repair to elevator repair.  The motion was approved by both present. The second item, to set a fee of $1.00 for the new organic drop-off program at the drop-off center, was approved as well.  On October 1st there will be a meeting in the Community Room at the Senior Center to share more information about the organics program.

The regular meeting on Thursday evening brought the budget surplus back to the forefront. The Board of Finance had met the previous evening to discuss the surplus and had not agreed with all of the requests the BOS made.  They thought it important that more of the surplus go to bolstering the town’s bottom line.  Therefore, the BOS was required to reapprove the amounts of the surplus at this meeting.  The fire department will still have their surplus returned, approximately $4600.  Public works will receive $220,000 for trucks and equipment.  $25,000 will go towards police cars and equipment.  Lake studies will receive $30,000 and the town vehicle expenditure was cut to $20,000. That means that the additional amount of the surplus, about $433,000 will go into the general fund and does not require town approval.  This reduces the amount of expenditures the BOS had requested by about $120,000.  A vote at a town meeting is still required to approve these expenditures and will take place on October 13 at 7pm in the Community Room at the Senior Center.

Two appointments were made to the revived Youth Commission, Craig David Rosen and Jenna Alviti will now be members. John McCartney was appointed as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Our fire department was present to discuss two vehicle purchases. Their first is a new ambulance that will be a departmental purchase.  The department requested $165,750 from the general fund for the purchase.  This will cover the $182,688 bid price of the vehicle.  It also includes a gap amount to save time by eliminating the need of the fire department to return to the BOS to request more funds should there be cost overruns on the customization of the vehicle.  The department covers 15% of the purchase, approximately $29,250. The ambulance will take about 185 days for delivery, so the expectation is an early spring arrival.  This was approved by both members.

The second request had to do with the failure of Four Guys Fire Apparatus to meet their contractual obligation to deliver an ordered fire truck within 390 days. Four Guys had written to the fire department to request that their penalty clause of $500 per day over the delivery date be renegotiated.  The delivery date was to have been on or before October 26th, with the penalty going into effect on the 27th.  The chassis was delivered to Four Guys in April, and they did not begin working on it until two weeks ago. Four Guys also still will not give a new delivery date to the department and only indicated late December delivery.  Because town money was used, the department thought this decision should be made by the BOS.  Both members were against the renegotiation for two reasons, no new date has been given and it would set a poor precedent for future contracts.   John Kerris, the northeast rep for Four Guys, was in attendance to plead for a change in the terms; his solution was that the town accept a 20% discount on change orders upon final inspection ($6,000 discount for changes vs $30,000 cash for the delays).  His arguments did not sway the Selectman and they chose to stick with the contract and to advise the town attorney to begin correspondence with the company regarding the failure.  This is New Fairfield’s fifth purchase from Four Guys.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Public Works Teamsters union was approved. There was also discussion regarding the Planning Commission’s Plan of Conservation and their request that all departments give feedback on it and its plan of development.  Both Selectman expressed the need for changes within this document and mentioned that Kim Hanson had reservations as well.  Some concerns include the request for mixed use development in town, sidewalks, etc.  Ms. Chapman suggested a workshop with the Planning Commission to create a more viable document, Mr. Gill agreed.  The warning of the town meeting was read and the meeting then adjourned.

By Jennifer Brakenwagen