First Selectwoman’s Corner
Here’s a reminder that brighter days are ahead!
STAFFORD — Even though we remain in the clutches of cold and ice, February symbolizes a forward momentum to (literally) brighter days and offers a reminder that spring is not far away.
This is a time when the dust has settled on the excitement of a new year and we look forward to all we can accomplish in 2021.
At Town Hall, it’s also a time when municipal financials are in review and the budget planning is underway for the next fiscal year.
Our budget sets forth a strategic resource allocation plan that is distinctly aligned with municipal services, community goals, priorities, and needs.
The Board of Selectmen, Board of Education, Stafford Library Board, and Water Pollution Control Authority comprise the Town of Stafford General Government budget.
Next, financials are discussed at a series of Board of Selectmen meetings (every other Tuesday evening) and then presented to the Board of Finance for further review, approval, and public dissemination. All anticipated revenues and expenditures are included.
We strive to make the process and budget details transparent and provide numerous opportunities for you to share your input. The BOF meets the first Monday each month, with subsequent meetings as needed.
Tentative 2021 budget schedule: First public hearing, March 24; second public hearing,April 28; budget referendum (vote), May 19. A hybrid model (virtual and in-person) is anticipated for each respective event mentioned above. For dates/details/documents, visit the town meeting calendar online at staffordct.org.
In Stafford Hollow, final design for the Leonard Road Bridge is complete. As of Jan. 20, the Department of Public Works had been anxiously awaiting a dam safety permit approval from state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Permit application approval (submitted to DEEP in October 2020) is required prior to submission to state Department of Transportation for final review and approval to advertise.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse effect on turnaround time, and subsequent backlog of permits from many state agencies. Hopefully, by the time of this publication, we will have received the permit approval from DEEP and submitted the final design to DOT.
Once this submission happens, approval to advertise should occur in about 30 days. The Department of Public Works plans to begin construction on this project in the spring.
As always, we work to recuperate costs and seek grant funds whenever possible. We secured reimbursements for costs related to emergency protective measures conducted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic: 75% FEMA reimbursement for $25,920.02, and $118,398.94 from the sate Municipal CRF Program.
Additionally, the town was recently awarded $128,000 from the Small Town Economic Assistance Program for renovations at Olympic Field and $5,000 from the Center for Tech Civic Life that supported unbudgeted expenses to conduct the 2020 elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, we refunded a USDA loan, saving over $550,000 on the WPCF upgrade and received bond rating upgrade from A1 to AA-.
While Town Hall remains closed to foot traffic, each department is available to assist residents with municipal services. For a complete departmental listing, please visit staffordct.org/contact.php. If you find yourself in economic strain, a variety of resources are available through Stafford Social Services; please call (860) 684-7752 for help.
Be well, Stafford. I look forward to the year ahead with cautious optimism and remain constant in belief a better future is ahead.