Submitted by Peter Baird
(July 15, 2022) — A regular meeting of Haddam’s Board of Selectmen was held at the Haddam Old Town Hall on July 11, 2022. First Selectman Bob McGarry called the meeting to order shortly after 6:30 p.m. Selectmen Sean Moriarty and Kate Anderson, and Administrative Assistant JoAnn Ricciardelli were also in attendance. First Selectman McGarry opened the meeting with a welcome and the pledge of allegiance.The minutes of the regular BOS meeting of June 13, 2022, found HERE, were approved. First Selectman McGarry requested that the agenda for the meeting include a new agenda item: use of the town green. This also was unanimously approved by the BOS.
Two people had public comments. First, a local business owner who pays real estate taxes in Haddam, but who lives in another town, was recently denied a Transfer Station sticker. However, she reported that she had gotten them for “the last 30 years” despite not being a resident, based on her business paying taxes in town. She requested that the BOS change their policy to allow anyone paying real estate property taxes to be able to purchase a Transfer Station sticker, not just residents. Second, Peter Baird reported that Seven Falls Picnic Area on the Middletown border had fallen into disrepair and wondered who owned or managed the property. The BOS said this was a state-owned facility and their responsibility.
The First Selectman provided an update on several town issues:
- The Town had received an estimate on the remediation costs for the Rossi property in Higganum Center. The First Selectman has stated an interest in the town’s purchasing this property. He reported that he was going to meet with the Rossis to discuss the cost estimate, and if possible, work something out with them so that a vote to purchase the property would come before a town meeting. The town cannot purchase the property without approval from the voters in a town meeting or referendum.
- The paperwork for the town to purchase the Scovil Hoe mill property has been signed by the town and by the Department of Transportation. However, the agreement still needs to be reviewed and signed by the state Attorney General’s office and a State Property Review Board. Details on the town’s plans for this historic mill and other Higganum projects can be found HERE.
- Swing Bridge: The Department of Transportation issued a Notice to Proceed to the American Bridge Company (ABC) for work on the Haddam Swing Bridge. ABC will have until February 2025 to complete the project, and they expect to start work on the bridge in late August or early September. There will be a groundbreaking ceremony later this summer. As soon as ABC releases its project schedule, which should include when the 63-hour closures and alternating one-way traffic will be in effect, the town will put it on the Swing Bridge project page on the town’s website. DOT also has a website for the project, https://easthaddamswingbridgeproject.com/. There will be traffic cameras installed, covering both approaches to the bridge, so you can check the traffic conditions in real time.
- The Tylerville sidewalk project is proceeding. However, there are delays with Frontier in relocating some of their power poles, which could slow things down.
- The Beaver Meadow culvert project is underway.
- Haddam Center sidewalk project has also started.
- A 3rd apartment building in Tylerville has been approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission. There will be a total of 88 new apartments in Tylerville once all three buildings are completed, all one- and two-bedroom units.
- New businesses in Haddam: “Oh Fudge and More” in Tylerville and “Riverside Steakhouse and Tavern” in Higganum both recently opened. Also, there is a new prospective owner of the Merchant House in Tylerville, who will be both renting part of the building for office space, and opening a new business, “Swamp Yankee RC,” which will sell radio-controlled vehicles for all ages.
- A new Resident State Trooper has been assigned to Haddam; also, the town is looking to fill two positions in Public Works.
- The town is seeking a new grant opportunity for better access to the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Haddam Neck.
- A retired town employee had complained about how slowly retirement checks were being sent out, and the town will be addressing this with a new contractor.
- Finally, the First Selectman reported that Covid cases in Haddam were down significantly in June, at 47 cases, down from 126 in May.
The First Selectman shared that he has received numerous complaints of loud music at Haddam Meadows, particularly after closing hours. He’s working with DEEP, which is significantly understaffed, and the State Police to better manage this problem, and is meeting with State Representative Christine Palm and the DEEP Commissioner to discuss it. He also reported that he attended the Saturday “HK Rally for Roe” and said that it was a peaceful event with about 115 attendees.
Selectwoman Kate Anderson reported that the Farmers Market is going well, but that attendance is lighter than desired. She also reported that Haddam River Days will take place on October 1, 2022, with a rain date of October 2nd. She was also working with interested parties to make Grim’s Haunted House a bigger event, with a “Trunk or Treat,” hayrides for children, and a band on the gazebo, and was seeking volunteers to support this effort.
There was no Board of Education update as no one from the BOE attended the meeting.
The meeting then went to discuss three items:
- The BOS discussed two real estate tax refund requests, three personal property tax refunds, four motor vehicle refunds, all totaling a bit over $2,900. The BOS approved all the refunds.
- The BOS discussed whether a small businesses in Haddam, whose owners don’t live in town, should be allowed to purchase Transfer Station stickers. They debated the potential implications of letting businesses in town use the Transfer Station, as some larger businesses in town will generate significant waste and recycling. The BOS concluded that it would look at other towns’ policies before deciding. They also discussed the school district’s request to use the town’s facilities for small tree and limb chipping and want to explore whether this would be shared with Killingsworth, since it’s a regional school district, and how much volume the school expects to chip.
- The First Selectman stated he would like to develop a policy to require a permit to use the town green or other town properties and has asked the town attorney to develop a policy on this. The goal would not be to deny use or charge fees for a permit, but rather to set clearer expectations of what would be provided for a group using town property for events or rallies, as well as to avoid double booking. The BOS also discussed what to do about bathroom facilities for these events and suggested that groups could rent the community center or HES to make restrooms available (rental cost is $200).
Next meeting BOS meeting will be held on August 8, 2022 in Haddam Neck, at the Haddam Neck Volunteer Fire Department, 50 Rock Landing Road.
Meeting adjourned 7:23pm
These are notes taken unofficially. The unapproved minutes can be found HERE on the Haddam.org town website.