Residents Learn State of Town, Budget at Annual Town Meeting

First Selectman Barbara Perkinson and Conservation Commission Chairman David Taylor (left) presented a certificate of appreciation to Jeff Sherman for his conservation work in Woodbury mine at the annual State of the Town Meeting, Monday, November 18. (Brunini photo)

WOODBURY — First Selectman Barbara Perkinson delivered the 2019 State of the Town report and Board of Finance Chairman Alex DeSorbo delivered the 2019 Annual Town Report and annual audit at the Annual Town Meeting Monday, November 18, at the Senior Community Center, 265 Main St. South. Moderator Louis DeLuca facilitated the event for the town. Mr. DeSorbo, addressing the budget report, explained that the surplus seen is a positive outcome and a portion of the surplus has been put into the upcoming budget.

He asked residents to take time and read the report and the audit, which will be available in the finance office soon. After encouraging residents to read and understand the audit and report, he noted that the Board of Finance sets the town’s mil rate after the budget is approved.

Mr. DeSorbo drew attention to the last page of the report, which includes a drawing of the late Bill Butterly, the previous first selectman. He said this year’s report is dedicated to Mr. Butterly.

The artwork was created by a recent graduate of Nonnewaug High School, Mary Lasley, at the suggestion of Nonnewaug’s art teacher, Leeza Desjardins.

Ms. Perkinson thanked all town employees for their hard work and commitment to the town.

She thanked them for their due diligence in making sure that things continued to run as smoothly as possible after the passing of Mr. Butterly.

Ms. Perkinson cited several points within the report and urged residents to read it closely so as to understand what each department is doing to keep Woodbury going.

Ms. Perkinson said the “Board of Finance has been conservative and placed the town in a very good fiscal position. So I thank each of the Board of Finance members.”

She said she has instructed Tax Collector Jamie Monckton to go through and work on collecting unpaid taxes.

Ms. Perkinson talked about the progress and work being done on the Plan of Conservation and Development.

Ms. Perkinson said, “In a couple of weeks, we have the tree lighting ceremony and I expect everyone of you to be over there to welcome Santa,” earning a couple chuckles from the audience.

She mentioned issues with building infrastructure that she and her office would be addressing in the upcoming term.

She talked about the work done to the Shove Building and the windows that had been replaced. Ms. Perkinson said all options were being considered regarding the Parks and Recreation building.

Attorney Paul Jessell presented the Three Rivers Parcel, 58 Westwood Rd., to be leased by the Logue family for five years to the town for approval.

Dave Shepard, 44 Westwood Rd., started the conversation by saying he believes the address of the lot to be farmed is wrong.

Mr. Jessell replied citing the assessor’s website as the location he received the address as it describes the whole 71 acres, not just the lot to be farmed.

Martha Sherman, 41 East Hill Rd., requested that the use of pesticides and herbicides and other limitations, “be stricter than the state” permits.

Ms. Sherman was informed that this decision would be up to the Public Works Department and the first selectman.

Mary Tyrrell, chairman of the Inland Wetlands Agency,  asked who would determine the crop to be farmed on the land and how the machinery would access it since the only way into those fields is a small access lane across a pond.

She mentioned that she and the Inland Wetlands Agency had previously been unable to decide an entry path for the large machinery needed for farming.

She asked how the town would restrict residents from entering the farmed property and how the town would assure residents the rest of the property can still be used at the residents’ will, since it is public property.

Attorney Jessell told Ms. Tyrrell that both decisions would be up to the Board of Selectmen.

Kathy Doyle, 35 Washington Rd., reported the town is required to put a portion of the leaser’s rent into the open space fund. She asked how much of the Three River’s parcel would be funnelled into the open space fund.

Attorney Jessell told Ms. Doyle that would be up to the first selectman or the Board of Selectmen.

Andrew Sherman, 41 East Hill Rd., said he felt everything that had been asked by residents about the Three Rivers parcel had been answered “that remains to be determined” by the first selectman or the Board of Selectmen and thought that the town should review the lease and make information more clear and available to the residents.

Mr. Shepard, hearing others echoing his sentiment that the attorney should review the lease and return to another town meeting with more complete information, asked for a postponement in voting.

A two-thirds vote, needed to table the vote for approval, was unsuccessful by only two votes. There were 40 votes in favor of a postponement and 26 in favor of continuing.

Moderator DeLuca called for the vote. The lease was passed in a 36 in favor and 27 against vote.

The Nonnewaug Falls parcel, Nonnewaug Road, to be leased to Richard Butkus passed with 63 votes in favor and none against.

Mr. Jessell explained the granting of a small portion of property back to K&N Properties, the developer of the Grey Fox Woods subdivision.

The town approved this motion with all in favor and none against.

The town approved the appointment of Andrew Sherman as the trustee for the Frank Ward Strong School Fund and the Roger B. Sherman Fund to serve from Tuesday, November 19, 2019, to Monday, November 16, 2020.

Maureen K. Donnarumma presented the annual Historic Preservation Award to Andrew and Debbie Smith for The Hidden Acorn, 385 Washington Rd.

Dave Taylor, chairman of the Conservation Commission, and Ms. Perkinson awarded Jeff Sherman, White Deer Rocks Road, a certificate of appreciation.

Ms. Perkinson said, “[He] has given so much in the conservation area to this town, including his recent exploration of the mine ... in town.”

At the end of the meeting, Ms. Perkinson thanked Selectman Michael Gransky for all of his service. She thanked him for 60 years of friendship as well.

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