NEWTOWN — The Legislative Council, meeting Wednesday, March 31, had three items of business to complete: a review of the overall proposed 2021-22 budget, approval of an incentive program for a possible new business and approval of a transfer of funds from contingency to Public Works.
According to Country Camper owner Logan Gregoire, the company is looking to expand its Vermont and New Hampshire operations to Connecticut, planning to be open for sales of campers to retail customers by next summer.
The 201 South Main St. property is just one of several the company is considering in the state, and a final decision will be made based in large part on how good a fit the location is, as well as the cost of developing and operating the new location.
The tax incentive approved for Country Camper is a seven-year reduction on real estate taxes above the parcel’s current $1.2 million assessment and a reduction on personal property.
How much the company could potentially save depends on how much the parcel would be worth after the new facility is built and opened to the public.
According to its website, “Country Camper is a high-volume, family-owned and family-operated RV dealership with full-service facilities in East Montpelier, Vt., and in Epsom, N.H. Country Camper was established in 1996 by Layne and Cindy Gregoire with the mission to provide guests with meaningful savings, quality campers, and excellent customer service.
“In 2017, Logan Gregoire joined his family’s RV dealership with the mission to bolster the founding principles that have guided Country Camper’s continued growth. Country Camper is a must shop destination for any camper who is serious about saving money and purchasing a top-quality camper.
“As a trusted family-owned and family operated-dealership for 25 years, we stand by our statement that if you did not buy from Country Camper, you paid too much.”
First Selectman Daniel Rosenthal promised to let the council know as soon as he hears of a decision by the company as to whether or not it will choose Newtown for its new location.
The transfer of $47,500 from contingency to Public Works will fund $7,500 for expenses in construction supplies (example given as barricades, shovels, and chains), $30,000 for contractual expenses (related to building pest control, fire protection and the like) and $10,000 for water and sewer.
It was explained that the costs for these items increased because of undetected leaks at the Police Department and in the parks. Those leaks have since been found and repaired. Approximately $88,000 will be left in contingency following the transfer.
The Board of Education budget has been adjusted downward by $495,281 to make a new budget total of $79,697,698. Most of the reduction is the result of items that may now be funded through grants, including items related to Covid and some items that may be applied toward a diversity grant. The Board of Education was in agreement with the adjustments.
A discussion on a possible savings of $220,000 on the municipal side created confusion among council members until it was explained that the source of funding for this amount would come from the fund balance and not from taxes as part of the capital/non-recurring funds.
Under the first selectman’s report, Mr. Rosenthal announced PURA has issued a draft decision on its investigation of the utility companies’ response to Tropical Storm Isaias.
While the town is not likely to see any reimbursement of costs, ratepayers may see some relief, perhaps in the form of the amount of money Eversource will be allowed to recoup from ratepayers.