Citizens address proposed dog park

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The first Plainville Town Council meeting of 2018 began with a public hearing regarding the proposed location of a dog park; Norton Place Extension.

Most of the citizens that attended and spoke fell into one of three groups; those who are in favor of the dog park and the location; those who are in favor of the dog park but not the location; and those who are strongly opposed to the dog park and the location.

Two of the people to speak in opposition of the dog park as well as the proposed location were Danielle and Raymond Roux, who live at the corner of Robert Street Extension and Norton Place, where they have lived for the last 28 years, and which Danielle Roux said is approximately 166 feet from the proposed location for the dog park.

“I’m strongly opposed to this location, my property will be affected on two sides,” said Danielle Roux. “This is too close to a residential home for a dog park. I’m concerned for my family’s health, safety and peace.”

Danielle Roux continued, and her husband agreed, that through research she had done, she found that all dog parks have issues and she doesn’t want to deal with them. These issues include people not cleaning up after their dogs and not paying attention to what their dog is doing, among other issues.

Barbara Steadman also opposes the dog park and location. She stated she was sympathetic to the Roux family’s concerns as one of the other proposed land parcels would have placed the dog park near her property.

“I just want to be on the record as supporting them,” said Steadman.

Scott Adamson said that because he is handicapped, a dog park is the ideal way for him to walk his two dogs, whose pictures Adamson showed to the council and citizens. He said that he had previously been to the dog park in Southington, but the drive is becoming too far financially.

“If there was a dog park in my backyard I’d love it,” said Adamson. “Good thing I have a big yard, I’d put it [the dog park] on half of it.”

Also on the public hearing agenda was the ‘Additional Appropriation the Health Insurance Fund’. The council plans on transferring $550,000 from the Unassigned Funds to the Health Insurance Fund.

Plainville switched from a fully insured plan to a self-insured plan in the mid-1990s. Since then, the town has paid for the actual claims incurred rather than allowing for a health insurer to add their “profit” or “risk” on top of the anticipated or actual claims. But, the actual claims have far exceeded the expected claims by almost $1.6 million. This, plus other expenses from the Health Insurance Fund, have led to a $2.3 million deficit.

At the start of the meeting, Town Manager, Robert Lee, presented the Government Finance Officers Association’s Distinguished Budget Award to Scott Colby, assistant to the town manager. Council Chair Kathy Pugliese said that this was Colby’s first budget preparation.

“I just wanted to say thank you for the opportunity, being able to help out and step in, in a time of need when they needed someone to help out and oversee the budget process, I was glad to take that on,” said Colby. “It is an honor to be able to receive this award and know that we were able to do something great for the town of Plainville.”