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Board of Selectmen Meeting Notes 11/15/17

Written by Meghan Peterson.

The second regularly-scheduled Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting for the month of November was held on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at the Haddam Volunteer Fire Company Station. It was the last meeting of the outgoing Board, comprised of First Selectwoman Lizz Milardo, Selectman Sean Donlan, and Selectman Bob Duval. Haddam’s municipal election was held on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Milardo was re-elected. Larry Maggi and Melissa Schlag will be our new Selectman and Selectwoman. Roughly thirty or so residents were in attendance.

The meeting was called to order, the Pledge of Allegiance recited, agenda approved, and minutes from the November 1, 2017 BOS meeting approved.

During the first public comments period, Peter Sonski expressed words of appreciation and well-wishes to the outgoing Board members. Speaking as a Regional School District #17 Board of Education (BOE) liaison and member, Sonski provided the Board updates on the BOE’s work. The Haddam-Killingworth High School roof project is complete, and the warranty is in place. In light of the recently-passed State budget, declining enrollment and other factors, the BOE’s Strategic Capital Planning Committee has recommended that the Board look into the possibility of consolidating the two Haddam elementary schools and moving the fourth grades from all three elementary schools into the middle school, which would then service grades 4-8. HKHS serving grades 9-12 would remain the same. According to Sonski, the Board has decided to consider this recommendation further from among several options that had been discussed. Milardo asked when the Board would take this proposal to the public for feedback and input. Sonski said that the public conversation would begin in the first quarter – January or February of 2018. Milardo thanked him for the update.

Ed Schwing inquired about a FOI complaint. Milardo said that the minutes of the BOS meeting in question had been “corrected months ago” and that the FOI commission had not yet contacted the Town about their decision which Schwing stated had been announced that day.

Melissa Schlag inquired about the tax sale of Higganum Cove. Milardo said that the Cove is not owned by the Town and due to back taxes, it was recommended by the Town attorneys that the Town conduct a tax sale of the property, which will be held on January 30, 2018. Milardo explained that the tax sale is the best method to ensure that the Town has the most control over the future of the Cove. She added that the Town has also been in discussion with the Haddam Historical Society and Haddam Land Trust, so as to how to achieve the objective to preserve the Cove for public use and enjoyment. On the other hand, Milardo said that if the Cove was foreclosed upon, the process would be out of the Town’s hands and in the hands of the State judicial process. In that case, Haddam would not have a say in what happens to the Cove or who purchases it.

The Board then approved tax refunds, and Milardo went through highlights of the Animal Control Office report and Senior Center report for the month of October. For the former report, there were 17 dog incidents, as well as a reported concern of a pet Boa Constrictor snake. No special permit is required for the snake, according to the DEEP’s unit on reptiles and exotic animals. For the Senior Center report, Milardo noted that there was a Senior Expo. Flu shots were offered by the Higganum Pharmacy and CRAHD (Connecticut River Area Health District). CRT is looking for an individual to work at the meal site full-time. Currently, the manager is covering the position. Numbers of people using the Senior Center have been increasing, and Milardo said that she has been assured that funding for the meals will continue to be 5 days at the Center, and there is no waiting list for Meals on Wheels. Senior Van Driver Diane Gondek has resumed work after a medical procedure.

There was no old business.

For new business, the Board approved a resolution authorizing Milardo to continue negotiating with Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and Department of Public Health (DPH) for next steps regarding Tylerville potable water. At this point, Milardo says that the State Bond Commission will likely meet at the end of January. Prior to that, Milardo says that Haddam will need to hold a Town Meeting in December.

Milardo says that currently, there is no policy for capital asset disposals. The Town will be acquiring software to assist and organize this endeavor through the Finance Department.

The Board also approved a motion for the Town to send out a Legal Notice in order to solicit qualifications from consultants for the design and construction of a sidewalk in Tylerville on Bridge Road, as part of the Transportation Alternatives Program. Milardo said that this is a TAP grant that Haddam has received, which Town Planner Liz Glidden worked on. At this point, Milardo said that there is no cost to the Town for this project. A Town Meeting on this project will also need to be held in the future, Milardo said.

Milardo addressed a change in the Town pension plan from Securion to Nationwide. As Milardo explained, after doing much research, it was discovered that there are “a lot of internal fees” associated with Securion products. According to Milardo, this change would save the Town about $50,000 a year in terms of saving on internal fees. In addition, the Nationwide internal investments are “more competitive,” and it gives the pension committee more investment choices to consider. This change would bring the Town into compliance with its investment policy statement. Donlan asked about the composition of the committee. Milardo said that the committee consisted of Finance Director Barbara Bertrand; Town Treasurer Robin Munster; Financial/Office Coordinator Georgia Emanuel; Board of Finance Chair Joe Centofanti; and First Selectwoman Lizz Milardo. She added that the Town has been working on this for two years. Milardo emphasized that the change would save the Town $50,000 a year. Milardo and Duval approved the change, with Donlan abstaining.

Ed Schwing inquired about the consent order with DEEP. Milardo said that DEEP is in charge of the water, in conjunction with DPH. The consent order is still going back and forth among attorneys and is with DEEP Commissioner Klee.

Melissa Schlag inquired about the water pollution in Tylerville and whether the Town was taking responsibility for it. Milardo responded that the Town will never take responsibility for the pollution.

Finally, Milardo gave a congratulatory present to Selectman Donlan and a plaque to Duval for their years of service as members of the Board of Selectmen. Residents gave a hearty applause to each man for their hard work. Milardo expressed deep appreciation to both. Donlan also emphasized how lucky Haddam is to have Duval and thanked him. Thank you Donlan and Duval for your service to this great community!

Selectman Duval made his final motion to adjourn of his BOS career. The next BOS meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 6, 2017. Hope to see you there!

[Editor’s Note: When the official minutes have been released, you will be able to find them on the town website: www.haddam.org.]

The video of the meeting can be watched HERE.

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