It was a year filled with challenge and success
EAST WINDSOR — This year has been a year filled with challenges, opportunities and successes.
While no one expected the year to be consumed with a global pandemic (and certainly everyone is ready for that chapter to close) some remarkable things have still been accomplished in the Town of East Windsor.
The town worked with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to install traffic cameras along Route 5, which will ease congestion issues along our business corridor.
We negotiated a tax stabilization agreement with Gravel Pit Solar, which will become East Windsor’s largest taxpayer when construction is complete.
The town also successfully negotiated an agreement with The Silverman Group to develop a 150,000-square foot distribution facility on Route 5, and we renegotiated an agreement with the developer of Watermill Landing.
The town’s utilization of tax incentives as an economic development tool is working, and we have several other exciting projects in process as of this writing.
Department heads, members of the Board of Selectmen and the Planning and Zoning Commission have drafted a master Developer’s Agreement to stop the past practice of residential developers absconding on unfinished projects and leaving the town with the considerable expense of finishing their work. Implementation of this agreement will save the taxpayers of East Windsor hundreds of thousands of dollars moving forward.
As a means to further save taxpayer dollars, the town converted to a new health insurance plan as of July 1.
Now enrolled in the Connecticut Prevention Partnership 2.0, the town saved more that $400,000 in premium increases last year alone — a savings that will continue to accrue. This municipal/state partnership allows municipalities to join a significantly large risk pool, which is expected to provide lower rates and rate stability.
Communication and constituent outreach are critically important, especially during public health emergencies such as the pandemic, or natural disasters like this summer’s hurricane.
With the goals of enhanced communication and transparency in mind, the town implemented a quarterly publication called “The Five Village Voice” that is sent to each household and contains local happenings within town government or the greater community.
We also have implemented a weekly community update telephone call where residents are updated on the COVID-19 response and other important community events taking place.
To support our goal of transparency, Board of Selectmen’s meeting agendas posted on the town’s website now include every open session document provided to members of the board, so anyone interested can easily following along with our discussions.
We took great steps to involve the community in significant decision-making, including adding three questions amending the Town Charter and one creating a Town Fire Department to the presidential ballot.
This ensured that more that 6,500 voters in town were given the opportunity to guide the outcome of each of those four questions, all of which passed overwhelmingly.
The town has also been vigilant about recouping money wherever possible.
Initially the town received $80,000 in COVID expense reimbursements, and just the other day we secured an additional $91,000 for the same purpose.
The town also recovered more than $40,000 in legal expenses associated with the MMCT casino project.