Breakfast at Chippanee: State of the town

Town Council vice chair Deb Tompkins speaks at the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce State of the City and Towns breakfast at Chipanee Country Club last Wednesday. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce hosted the annual State of the City and Towns breakfast on Wednesday, June 12, at Chippanee Country Club in Bristol. Town council vice chair Deborah Tompkins sat on a panel of surrounding-town officials, and shared updates regarding the town.

“This year, our town budget passed for $23 million on April 30, and the BOE budget passed on May 14 for $38 million,” said Tompkins. “The voters passed 2020 fiscal year budget which totals $61,780,822, it’s a 2.9% increase over our current budget.”

The town mill rate will be set at 34.62 for fiscal year 2019-20, an increase of 0.78 mills. Taxes in Plainville will increase by 2.3%.

“Plainville is celebrating its 150th anniversary celebration this year,” said Tompkins. “It was incorporated in July of 1869, and we have gotten together a celebration committee that has planned various events.”

The 150th celebrations will commence on Saturday, July 20, when a walking tour of historic town sites will run from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m. There will be a shuttle service available for those who have difficulty walking. The tour was arranged by the Plainville Historic Center.

On Sunday, July 21, there will be a family style picnic held from noon to 4 p.m., at Norton Park. Families are invited to bring their own picnic, or to enjoy a selection of burgers, hot dogs, pizza, ice cream, and food trucks, as they “play historic games and learn about the town of Plainville throughout the years.”

Plainville is working diligently on the town’s portion of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, also known as “rails-to-trails.” The town received a $3.8 million state grant, which she noted is “only considered 20% of the cost,” and the town is still waiting on a federal grant. The trail will stretch four miles through Plainville, closing the gap between Farmington and Southington.

Tompkins noted that the Plainville gap is the largest missing piece of the Connecticut portion of the 84-mile greenway that links New Haven, Connecticut, with North Hampton, Mass. that is currently 60% completed.

The Wheeler Elementary School renovation project began two years ago, once the $23.5 million renovate-like-new project was approved. Tompkins reported that the project is currently under budget and on schedule, with a completion date of March 2020.

Plainville’s Water Pollution Control Plant is currently undergoing a phosphorus removal upgrade. The state and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) required the town to upgrade the “treatment plan to reduce phosphorus levels from the outflow of the Pequabuck River.”

The project is 60% completed, slightly ahead of schedule, and on budget, which was projected to cost $50 million.

Plainville is in the beginning stages of purchasing and installing a town-wide fiber optic network, with a projected cost of $711,000, funded through various sources including the town’s capital improvement budget.

“This enhancement to our infrastructure will be performed by Certex out of Plainfield,” said Tompkins. “The project will connect all town and school buildings which will help us to continue our ability to share services and provide a more secure network to save the town money.”

Plainville is almost complete in their process of developing a new plan of conservation and development, last completed in 2009. The plans are expected to be finalized over the summer, with a public hearing held during the first September meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.