Reorg - sort of
The first order of business at the Town Council was to re-organize or elect their officers for the new year. The process is for opening nominations, closing nominations, and then voting on the nomination for each position. The Council successfully did that for the Vice Chair and Clerk but only opened and closed the nominations for Chair. They never officially voted for their Chair to remain Bob Vallee. There was no change in Vice Chair as Matt Kelly retained that position. Judith Pond Pfeffer retains the Clerk position.
This action was not intentional. It happened when the nominations for Chair closed with a vote, Padula nominated Pfeffer for Clerk which was not in the pre-determined order of events. They put that aside, took the nominations for Vice Chair and voted properly but 'forgot' to actually vote on the nomination of Vallee for Chair. It is likely the Council will need to re-do this at their December meeting. I don't believe it made a material difference to any of the proceedings.
FHS - grass to turf field
The School Building Committee represented by Chairman Tom Mercer provided some key updates at the meeting. Among them:
- the building has a punch listing of items being worked by the contractor in off school hours
- the new Panther Way connector should open on Monday (Nov 24)
- site and ball fields will be worked to a sub-grade condition before the deep frost hits
|New FHS layout, green section in front left position along Oak St is where the practice fields would be that are now going to be a turf field that will be regulation sized and available for games|
The Committee has the authority to do so but due to the nature and discussion around the change wanted to bring it forward to gain some feedback before proceeding.
Note: If they really wanted to gain some public input on this item, they could have brought it out more fully. Clearly they had enough time to do so as representatives from the High School sports, Recreation dept and many of the major youth leagues were present at the meeting.
Tax rate setThe tax classification hearing was the shortest and briefest in my time reporting on Town Council meetings. The Council respectfully has an opportunity for preparing for the hearing and apparently prepared very well as there were very few questions. The opportunity to walk through the process to share how the calculation is made was 'lost'.
Effectively, the rate increases 39 cents from $14.45 to $14.84. Of note, if the bond increases for the new high school had not been coming online, the tax rate would actually have decreased. One of the key bright spots among the wealth of data shared was that residential property values have increased. Commercial /Industrial valuations are still lagging behind.
My full set of notes from the meeting can be found here
- Live reporting: Closing
- Live reporting: Legislation for action
- Live reporting: Tax Classification Hearing
- Live reporting; Town Council - Nov 19, 2014