Council wraps up 2019 business

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TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The town council wrapped up business for 2019 at their last meeting of the year on Monday, Dec. 16, and they had a lot on the agenda. The council discussed the Sparks Street property, procedures for the town’s unassigned fund balance (similar to a rainy day account), upcoming budget talks, Christmas tree disposals, expansion of the regional health district, and even found time to recognize several young artists.

Sparks St. Property

During his report, Town Manager Robert Lee updated the plan on the abandoned manufacturing facility at 10 Sparks St.

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Lee presented a recommendation by the economic development agency regarding an agreement which proposes a three year, 30% tax abatement for building renovation and implementation on the property.

The parcel is owned by SMA Realty LLC, and the agreement was unanimously approved by the council.

Fund balance procedures

The council discussed establishing an “unassigned fund balance policy,” to set the goals for maintaining the fund balance and a strategy for handling the funds should there be an excess.

Council chairwoman Kathy Pugliese asked about enforcing the policy and any problems that could arise from the policy.

Lee explained that, while the policy is not required, Plainville’s financial advisors believe it would “help to codify what I think the town council has kind of done in practice informally over the last seven or eight years.”

Council members agreed that the policy would be helpful; with councilor Ty Cox saying it would also help citizens to understand how the fund balance works.

“My goal would be to have something in place if the council was to adopt something, to have it in place in anticipation of our next rating which will be in the spring, so sometime between now and then, hopefully have something that is acceptable to the council,” said Lee.

Budget joint meeting

Residents who are interested in learning more about Plainville’s budget process are invited to attend the joint meeting of the town council and Board of Education to be held on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, at 6 p.m. in the Plainville Public Library conference room at 56 E Main St.

Christmas trees

Lee announced that the Plainville Roadways Department will be collecting Christmas trees during the week of Monday, Jan. 13, through Friday, Jan. 17, 2020.

Residents are asked to leave their trees at the curb before January 13, and to make sure the trees are free of ice or snow, and are not placed in the road or blocking driveways.

The roadways department will only be making one pass through town to collect the trees, but residents are also able to drop their trees at the transfer station on Granger Lane, beginning on Thursday, Dec. 26.

Regional health district

Plainville and the Town of Southington formed a regional health district in 2010, and as of last year, the regional Board of Health accepted the town of Middlefield as the third member of the district.

The health district met earlier in the month, and voted to lower the per capita fee, the charge used to determine the amount each town would pay for services. The fee was set at $6.75 per resident in 2011, and was lowered to $6.65 per resident. Lee explained that due to the decrease, and a slight decrease in population, the reduction in the assessment for next year’s budget is $1,762.

“This reduction in the assessment of next year’s budget is somewhere around $1,800,” said Lee. “While this is a relatively small amount, the overall budget stability with the health district, in my opinion, is commendable. They’ve held the line since 2011 with a slight decrease going into next year.”

Fire poster contest

Larry Sutherland, Plainville Fire Marshal, and Kevin Toner, Plainville Fire Chief, presented the winners of the 36th annual Fire Prevention Poster Contest. Each winner was presented with a smoke detector to bring home, and a gift card to AMC Movie Theater at 220 New Britain Ave.

“We take the fourth and fifth grade posters from all the students, and what they do is promote fire safety,” said Sutherland. “Hopefully what they do is they take this experience and they learn from it and take it to real life to hopefully prevent fires and injuries.”

The two first prize winners were Brooke Mehler, a fourth grader at Linden Street School, and Chase Beausoliel, a fifth grader at Frank T. Wheeler Elementary School.

Louis Toffolon Elementary School had three fourth grade finalists – Annina Consalvo, Matthew Fantozzi, and Nolan Meehan – and three fifth grade winners – Hayden Cooney, Brianne Goulet, and Anela Keranovic. Wheeler School had three fourth grade winners – Courtney Thorpe, Madison Anita, and Nick Ruffini – and Kaitlyn Landry was the sole fifth grade winner. Linden Street had two fifth grade winners – Harley Danton and Tessa Monte.

The Council acknowledged and unanimously approved the Plainville Fire Company’s elected officers for 2020 – Captain David Massey, Lt. William Gammon, Lt. John Myska, Lt. Thomas Maschini Jr., and Lt. Douglas Macarelli

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