By KAITLYN NAPLES
In the last 10 years, the town hasn’t been able to tackle any significant sidewalk repairs, due to lack of funding.
Recently, the town secured grant funding for downtown, Whiting Street, and Broad Street to East Street sidewalk renovations, and hired Clover Construction out of Bristol for the project.
At last week’s council meeting, Town Manager Robert Lee said the Capital Improvement Program has $37,000 set aside for sidewalk repair, which would repair about 400 feet of standard sidewalk, and 500 feet of bituminous (asphalt) sidewalk.
Sidewalks that are expected to be repaired under this project are Broad Street, near the Whiting Street intersection, New Britain Avenue from Rockwell to Grant Avenue, and various sections on Beckwith Drive and Fox Road and some other small areas.
Residents also will be seeing a 2 percent increase on their sewer bills next year, after two years of no increase. Residents will notice between a $6 to $8 more per year, which is being implemented because of several capital projects on the schedule that will have to be addressed including “the RDT (Risk Demand Team) project and the state mandate to reduce phosphorus discharge into the Pequabuck River,” Lee told the council last week. He added a budget deficit is expected over the next four years in the sewer operating fund, so rather than have a large increase at once, he’d rather see a few small increases along the way. The rates are expected to be increased by Nov. 1, if approved by the council.
For next year, as a way to save on operating costs, the town is suggesting the sewer bills be attached to tax bills for the July 1, 2014 tax bills.
There will be a public hearing on Monday, Oct. 15 at the municipal center at 7:30 p.m. for residents to provide input on the proposed changes and increase.
State Representative Betty Boukus (D-Plainville, New Britain) attended last week’s council meeting to provide a few updates on what is happening at the legislative level. She said she had been receiving calls from residents regarding thetraffic light at the intersection of Cooke Street and New Britain Avenue. She said she contacted the state and its “department signal lab” that said some changes would be made to the traffic signal, allowing more “green time” during the afternoon and Saturday “peak hours.”
Also, some residents have been concerned with the condition of the railroad tracks on New Britain Avenue near West Main Pizza and on East Street (Route 10) near General Electric. Boukus said she spoke with state officials last week who informed her that rubber inserts would be placed in the tracks, as a temporary fix, until a more permanent solution is made.
The council also approved the formation of a Town Council/Fire Department Study Committee, at its meeting last week. This comes after a heavily attended public hearing a few weeks ago regarding the possibility of eliminating a retirement age for fire department members. The committee will study the current operation of the Fire Department and look at Fire Ordinance to see if any changes are needed. The town sent out a survey to the fire department to receive input from members, which was expected back today, Oct. 12. The individuals serving on this study committee will be Fire Chief Ray Swanson, Fire Company Captain Adrien Paradis, retired firefighter and company secretary Al Kall, chairman of the fire company by-laws sub-committee Jim Lenois Sr., fire department parliamentarian Edgar Wynkoop, Councilor Rick Drezek, Chair of the Town Council Kathy Pugliese, Councilor Quinn Christopher, and Councilor Lee Toffey.
By KAITLYN NAPLES