By Edward Munster.
The regular meeting of Haddam’s Board of Selectmen on March 14, 2022 at the Haddam Town Hall was called to order by First Selectman (FS) Bob McGarry at 6:30 p.m. Also in attendance were Selectmen Sean Moriarty and Kate Anderson and Administrative Assistant JoAnn Ricciardelli. Minutes for the regular BOS meeting on February 14, 2022 were unanimously approved.
During Public Comment Barbara Fernandez of Church Hill Road requested and thanked FS McGarry for closing the upper parking lot for the recreation fields on Jail Hill Road when the facility is not in use. Former Town Clerk Scott Brookes commented that the firm administering the town’s pension plan was quite inefficient. FS McGarry stated that the Town is aware of the problem and is seeking another firm to take on this responsibility.
In his Selectman’s Report to the town, McGarry stated that there has been no change in the status of the Rossi property and that the environmental study should be complete in the next month or two.
The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner has approved the Financial Assistance Proposal for the Scovil Hoe project. The FS and the developer still need to sign it. We are still working on the purchase and sale agreement. McGarry pointed out that all of this, even though it is signed, still needs to go before a town meeting for approval.
Swing Bridge: The bid opening was expected the week of March 14-18. If all goes well, the notice to proceed will be issued June 27, 2022. DOT has requested a meeting with McGarry and East Haddam FS Irene Haines this week to provide a project update. McGarry and Haines are meeting with Commissioner Mark Boughton of the Department of Revenue Services because he is in charge of doling out the federal money coming out for infrastructure needs. Haddam will be making a pitch for economic support for the businesses which will be impacted by the bridge project. There was a recent routine inspection of the bridge which found some problems unrelated to the construction project. There will need to be some repairs done to the bridge and we are expecting a weight limit of about 21 tons to be imposed on the bridge. This is about the weight of one of our fire trucks.
Tylerville: The construction of the roundabouts is still scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2023. The application for the apartment project at 105 Bridge Road has been submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission and is on the agenda for the March 17 meeting.
Personnel issues: Dawn Tarbetsky has been hired as the Assistant Town Clerk and will be starting in 3-4 weeks. In the interim, Deb DeCristoforo, retired assistant town clerk from Westbrook, is helping in the office two days per week because Ann Reibold is out on sick leave. Applications for the Public works maintainer vacancy closed on March 11. It is expected that a person will be hired soon.
Coronavirus: The coronavirus daily case rate has been decreasing. The mask mandate has been lifted in town buildings.
Other items: Selectman Kate Anderson reported that the Farmer’s Market is scheduled to begin at the former HES property on June 3, 2022. It will run every Friday into August. The EDC meeting on April 13 will discuss volunteer planning for town sponsored events. Selectman Sean Moriarty mentioned that discussion on the Connecticut Main Street project, which had been delayed for several months, will be on the agenda next month. There was no report from Board of Education this month. Tax refunds for $21,938.78 were approved.
Nuclear Waste: The Federal Department of the Energy (DOE) on December 21, 2021 issued a Request for Information from the Town of Haddam on the Consent Based Siting Process for spent nuclear waste. However, the town did not receive notification and the information was due on March 4 which put enormous strain on our resources. FS McGarry first learned of this when a press release by Congressman Joe Courtney sent to Haddam Killingworth News was published on February 24. McGarry said that he went through all his past emails and written correspondence and could find no communication from the Congressman’s office about this. Subsequently the Congressman visited the Town Hall on March 10 to discuss the matter. The actual siting decisions will take about eight years. The crux of this is that the federal government is potentially looking to move more nuclear waste to sites such as the one in Haddam Neck. McGarry stated that he personally would not want this to happen and does not believe the town would favor such a move. In the DOE proposal, it is stated that this “interim” storage could be in place for another 40-100 years.