The Board of Selectman held a regular meeting on Monday March 17, 2008 in the meeting room at the C. H. Booth Library, Main Street Newtown, Ct. 06470. First Selectman Borst called the meeting to order at 7:32p.m. asking all in attendance to join in reciting the pledge of allegiance.
PRESENT: First Selectman Borst, Selectman Rosenthal, Selectman Mangiafico.
ALSO PRESENT: Town Engineer Ron Bolmer, Public Works Director Fred Hurley, George Benson of Land Use, eighteen members of public, two members of press.
VOTER COMMENTS: Sara Beier of 7 Yogananda Street Sandy Hook, Ct. 06482 expressed concern to the Board regarding Board of Selectman agenda’s not getting posted to the town website for the public’s access. Ms. Beier also addressed the Board regarding the High School expansion and the March 15, 2008 article in the Hartford Courant on the town of Portland Connecticut essentially over building. The Town expected an enrollment of 1070 students where the actual enrollment is 580 students thus the town will most likely be expected to repay the State of Connecticut $4.6 million in bonds borrowed from the State which helped to fund the project. (See Attachment A).
Terence & Catherine Olson of 10 Pinnacle Drive Newtown, Ct. 06470 addressed the Board regarding their son who was hit by a car on Queen Street in October 2007 and seriously injured. The Trow’s wanted some answers from the Board regarding the traffic studies done on Queen Street and when real action will be taken as far as reducing the speeding on that road in particular. Mr. Trow stated that it would be very possible to bring a law suit against the Town for not being more proactive in taking action on the speeding traffic on Queen Street. Lisa Floros of 32 Queen Street Newtown, Ct. 06470 also addressed this same issue and wondered why no action has been taken sooner.
Ruby Johnson of 16 Chestnut Hill Road Sandy Hook, Ct. 06482 addressed the Board regarding her personal concerns over the budgetary process. Ms. Johnson used examples of the lights and baseball diamond at Fairfield Hills, the ADA compliant Walking Trail at Fairfield Hills and the cost to the Town for the demolition of Fairfield Hall. Ms. Johnson expressed that she did in fact understand where the Town makes public allocated funds however wants to know (and feels the Town residents should know) what funds were actually spent and for what projects. Ms. Johnson addressed the plans for Bridgeport Hall at Fairfield Hills, regarding the $10.4 million allocated on a fixed contract with O&G which will cover what it can and nothing more (as it is a fixed contract). Ms. Johnson stated that the public
should really be more informed. Ms. Johnson requested First Selectman Borst review more closely expenditures as well as the budget process and to find out what supporting data is really available.
Katherine Geckle of 35 Queen Street Newtown, Ct. 06470 also addressed the Board regarding speeders on Queen Street. Ms. Geckle stated that Mr. Trow represents our worst fear. Ms. Geckle suggested that what ever action is taken to reduce the amount of speeders and speeding tickets handed out, to let Queen Street set the standard to be used across Town on other streets that are a problem.
John W. Kortze IV of 52 Cobblers Mill Road Sandy Hook, Ct. 06482 addressed the issue brought up by Ms. Johnson stating that the Board of Finance having been lead astray could not be further from the truth. Mr. Kortze went on to talk about emails received.
Robert Merola of 22 Ashford Lane Newtown, Ct. 06470 addressed the Board regarding the current economic status of the Town, over crowding and admissions. Mr. Merola stated that he has been vehemently opposed to the High School expansion project. Mr. Merola presented to the Board two spreadsheets he designed regarding Newtown High School Enrollment Analysis as of March 2008 and New Home permits pulled for Single Family Homes as of March 2008 (See Attachments B & C). Mr. Merola expressed concern over the up coming Referendum (what it will cost the Town and what the Town has spent already). Mr. Merola suggested that the Town should make use of what it already has instead of building more and requesting the taxpayers to foot the bill such as using the Edmond Town Hall Auditorium or create some
kind of online course program for 12th grade students who may have not have as many course requirements as under classmen.
COMMUNICATIONS: First Selectman Borst addressed the Board regarding the High School expansion project and Fairfield Hills. Mr. Borst stated that he had been in contact with Jeff Cugno of O&G as well as Debra Lee Hovey.
Selectman Mangiafico addressed the First Selectman regarding some difficulty he has experienced in receiving information from the First Selectman’s office and is now addressing the issue this way to precipitate requests in public for freedom of information.
Selectman Mangiafico presented to the Board two requests for information on, Grants Status Update (See Attachment D) and Nanotechnology (See Attachment E). First Selectman Borst responded that he would take the requests under advisement.
ACCEPTANCE OF MINUTES: The minutes of the Board of Selectman meeting held Monday March 3, 2008 have an amendment as follows. Under discussion topic Appointments/Reappointments, John Poeltl’s term as Chief Building Official should read through March 10, 2012. The second amendment under discussion item, Architectural & Engineering Services of Planning and design for a Park & Recreation Community Center/ Senior Center on page four the following sentence should read as follows, He is also not convinced that we did due diligence with the storage building and he was told that ownership transfer of this building to the Town was a done deal with the State legislature.
Selectman Mangiafico moved to accept the minutes of the regular Board of Selectman meeting on Monday March 3, 2008 as amended. Selectman Rosenthal seconded motion. All in favor.
1. Appointments/ Reappointments
The Republican Town Committee has endorsed Catherine Adsitt as an appointment to the Economic Development Commission. In another Town department, Thomas DeNoto is up for reappointment as the Tax Assessor.
Selectman Rosenthal moved to approve the appointment of Catherine Adsitt and the reappointment of Thomas DeNoto. Selectman Mangiafico seconded motion. All in favor.
Selectman Mangiafico questioned if there was a better format for Appointments and Reappointments and suggested possibly attaching any related information such as resumes or endorsments. Selectman Rosenthal stated that the format being used is essentially the same as what it had been previously.
2. Employing a Clerk of The Works
First Selectman Borst tabled this discussion item until the next meeting scheduled for Monday April 7, 2008.
1. Maintenance Bond Release – Meridian Ridge Drive and Crosswind Court
Selectman Rosenthal moved to accept the maintenance bond releases in the amount $131,300.00 for Meridian Ridge Drive and Crosswind Court . Selectman Mangiafio seconded motion. All in favor.
2. Driveway Bond Release/Extentions
Selectman Rosenthal moved to accept the driveway bond release for Blakeman Construction, LLC. Of 198 Leavenworth Road Shelton, Ct. 06484 regarding 74 New Lebbon Road Sandy Hook, Ct. 06482 Map 46 Block 4 Lot No. 123 . Selectman Mangiafico seconded motion. All in favor.
(Added to the agenda for March 17, 2008 by two thirds vote of the Board of Selectman)
First Selectman Borst moved to accept the driveway bond release for ACT Builders Inc. of P.O. Box 795 Stevenson, Ct. 06491 regarding Nighthawk Lane Sandy Hook, Ct. 06482 Map 54 Block 13 Lot No. 20.02. Selectman Mangiafico seconded motion. All in favor.
3. Fairfield Hills projects, drainage and roads.
Public Works Director Fred Hurley and Town Engineer Ron Bolmer addressed the Board regarding road acceptances based on the standards for a Minor Collector Street. (See Attachment D). Selectman Rosenthal moved to approve the submission of the March 12, 2008 plans by Brautigam Associates regarding the roads at Fairfield Hills. Selectman Mangiafico seconded motion. All in favor.
4. HART Presentation by representative Richard Schreiner
Richard Schreiner of Housatonic Area Regional Transit (HART) presented the Final Report of December 2007 regarding the expansion of Bus Transit to Bridgeport and Waterbury. (See Attachment G). The report identifies the need for public transit connections between the Housatonic Valley Region and the areas surrounding Waterbury and Bridgeport.
5. Iroquois Presentation by representative Ruth Parkins
Iroquois Gas Transmission Systems presented their plans to run their pipeline from Canterbury Lane Sandy Hook, Ct. and Stone Bridge Trail Sandy Hook, Ct.
Iroquois proposed to offer the Town a 10 acre Parcel No. 32-1-29 in the area of Hattertown Pond valued at an estimated $200,000.00 in lieu of easement fees estimated at $60,000.00 that Iroquois would have to pay the Town for access to Parcel No. 53-2-52-LT-0S and Parcel No. 53-2-49 along their pipeline on the east side of Town. George Benson of the Town’s Land Use office stated that his only concern with that transfer would be the potential value of the 10 acres parcel the Town would be acquiring as it is a land locked parcel. Mr. Benson went on to say that the usual process in accordance with the Town Charter needs to be followed here as with any other transaction. Town Attorney David Grogins added that trading an interest in Real property for another is an awkward process however the transaction may
indeed work depending on values assessed. Ms. Parkins concluded by saying that Iroquois would be looking to begin construction on the pipeline in the spring of 2008.
6. High School Expansion & Renovation Project
First Selectman Borst read the resolution titled, Resolution Providing for A Special Appropriation… (See Attachment H). Mr. Borst moved to accept the resolution. Selectman Mangiafico seconded motion. Selectman Rosenthal seconded for discussion (See Attachment I) and presented the Board an outline of his reasoning for opposition to the motion.
First Selectman Borst stated that the information provided by Selectman Rosenthal is valid and proposes a good case. Mr. Borst thinks the resolution should be approved by the Board of Selectman and left to the people (residents of Newtown) to decide at referendum as the High School expansion project has been encouraged by the people. Selectman Mangiafico asked the Board what would happen if the Board proceeds and accepts the resolution or if the Board decides to oppose the resolution. Selectman Rosenthal stated that the resolution, if approved, would go to the Legislative Council and the Board of Finance for vote, while if opposed, the resolution would go back to the Boards of Finance ( at the March 27, 2008 Board of Finance regular meeting) and Board of Education for modification however, they may
resubmit the resolution as has been originally proposed. Selectman Mangiafico stated that currently he would be inclined to oppose the resolution as proposed. Mr. Mangiafico went on to say that the document from Dr. Prowda is critical and the figures are radically different from what was originally looked at for projected enrollment numbers, Mr. Mangiafico cited Portland, Ct.
and their enrollment/ Middle School expansion project problems as addressed in the Hartford Courant Newspaper (Attachment A).
Selectman Mangiafico questioned why there are no Board of Education members present for advocating their position to support the enrollment numbers of 2012 students and a
building cost of $38 million. Kathy Fetchick of 18 Clapboard Ridge Road Sandy Hook, Ct. and Board of Education member stated that the agenda was not posted on the Town’s website for public viewing.
Selectman Mangiafico added that the entire resolution needs to be looked at again and assessed as to what factors are really supporting the cost.
First Selectman Borst questioned the Board if the resolution is not passed, will the Town be reimbursed for the $2.7 million the Town has already spent on the project. Selectman Rosenthal responded, in his experience (with other municipalities) it the Town ultimately goes through with some variation of the project, the Town would still be reimbursed.
Selectman Mangiafico asked Ms. Fetchick if the Board of Education had considered any other alternative proposal if this one got turned down. Ms. Fetchick responded that the Board of Education did not consider any other possibilities for the resolution. Mr. Mangiafico went on to question if the resolution were to be approved through to referendum, however fails at referendum what the out come would be. First Selectman Borst responded that the Town, at that point will have lost $2.7 million spent on the project and thus the approximately $800,000 for reimbursement from the State.
Selectman Rosenthal added that if the Board votes no at this point, the Selectman will have the opportunity to look another resolution, if the Board votes yes for the resolution, there will be no other opportunity.
Michel Portnoy of 14 Winding Brook Road Newtown, Ct. and member of Board of Finance addressed the Board stating, he recognizes that the Board has a very difficult job facing them and there are a lot of unanswered questions. Mr. Portnoy suggested two possible solutions, to table the issue so that more Board of Education and Board of Finance members can have the opportunity to attend the next Selectman meeting or to vote no on the resolution so the Board of Education can look at the resolution again and resubmit a different proposal. To that end Selectman Rosenthal stated that he is in fact in favor of something (regarding the High School Expansion project) however not what is being proposed. Mr. Rosenthal went on to add that, time is of the essence with this issue and it would be difficult not to pass the
next proposal on to the taxpayers for decision at referendum.
The Board of Selectman voted on the Resolution Providing For a Special Appropriation. First Selectman Borst yes, Selectman Rosenthal and Selectman Mangiafico no (1 YES, 2 NO).
7. RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Northern Fairfield County).
This discussion item was actually approved by a vote at The Commission on Aging meeting on Monday March 17, 2008. The $270 attendance fee is to be paid out of their Gift Fund.
8. Departmental Transfers
Selectman Rosenthal moved to approve a departmental transfer of $30,000 from account #157-2000 Contingency to account # 01105-2013 Selectman Non-Recurring for joining the Coalition against increased Jet Traffic law suit. Selectman Mangiafico seconded motion for discussion. Mr. Mangiafico questioned the Board if they
wanted to move forward without having all questions answered. First Selectman Borst stated that they would be moving forward in joining the law suit.
***Selectman Rosenthal moved to approve a departmental transfer of $4000 from account #01650-5080 Building Capital and $3000 account #01650-1001 Building Salary for a total of $7000 to be transferred to four separate accounts, as follows, $900 to account #01650-1004 Building Overtime, $2200 to account #01650-4001 Building Contractual Services and Custodial, $2000 to account #01650-2018 Building Electrical and $1900 to account #01650-4060 Building Contractual Services. Selectman Mangiafico seconded motion. All in favor.
9. Tax Refunds
First Selectman Borst moved to approve March 2008 Tax Refunds No. 13 in the amount $18,860.55 . Selectman Rosenthal seconded motion. All in favor.
10. Fair Housing Act
Selectman Rosenthal moved to adopt the Fair Housing Act dated 3/17/08. Selectman Mangiafico seconded motion. All in favor.
Having no further business, the Board of Selectman meeting for Monday March 17, 2008 adjourned at 11:05p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Cayenne Spremullo, Clerk
First Selectman, Joseph Borst