SEYMOUR — The Board of Selectmen, meeting Tuesday, July 21, reviewed the town’s current fiscal status and discussed local projects.
In his report to the board, First Selectman W. Kurt Miller reported that the fiscal year could end with a deficit of approximately $350,000.
He noted a delay in receiving a $300,000 closeout grant for Chatfield-LoPresti Elementary School, anticipating that the money will be received in the fall.
He also noted that the Board of Education expects a surplus of between $290,000 and $440,000 and said that the amount will impact the final numbers for the town’s fiscal year.
In the lower number scenario, the town will end the year with a $60,000 deficit and, if the education board confirms the higher number as savings, the town will be able to allow the school district to place $90,000 into a reserve fund.
Mr. Miller reminded the selectmen that, a few years ago, the state legislature gave Boards of Education the ability to build a small fund balance.
The Board of Selectmen will address any request for deposit into that reserve fund at a future meeting.
There is no noticeable decrease in tax collections.
The tax collector had received $4,687,149 of the $43,125,104 anticipated revenue on July 15, 2019; as of July 15, 2020, $4,987,091 of the $43,358,647 had been collected.
That represents a comparison of 10.87 percent last year to 11.5 percent this year.
Mr. Miller described the situation as a positive trend with an increase in online payments. “I think we’re in very good shape.”
However, in order to avoid issues later in the fiscal year 2020-21, he will keep the spending freeze in place and revisit the idea of lifting it later in the summer.
In other business, the selectmen unanimously awarded a bid for the Cogwheel Lane, Progress Lane and Silvermine Road reconstruction project to the low bidder, B&W Construction, as recommended by the town engineer, who has confidence in the company’s ability to complete the work
The bidding process was delayed by the pandemic, resulting in five bids ranging from $1.4 million to $1.8 million.
The town has not worked with this company before, although the project manager has experience with a company that Seymour has hired in the past.
As the board discussed the specifications of the project, members learned that improvements such as signage, striping and islands will restrict truck movement in order to improve the flow of traffic at the intersection of Route 67 and Silvermine Road.
From Woodbridge, trucks will not be able to turn in and therefore will not get stuck; in the opposite direction, they will be discouraged from turning up the road.
The alternative of gating the road was not approved by the state Department of Transportation.
Work is expected to be completed by October.
The selectmen also unanimously approved an agreement regarding the town planner, renewing the contract with the planner who has been with Seymour for a little over a year.
The town has been sharing the services of one town planner with the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments and Oxford.
The agreement recognizes that the town of Oxford requires less of the planner’s time and increases the share for Seymour to 18 hours per week at a cost of $40,603.
Mr. Miller felt he could not say enough about the quality of work provided by the planner and endorsed the agreement.
He described the town planner’s work as vital.
Noting that he does not anticipate any layoffs of town employees, Mr. Miller said the position was not one of those listed for reduction should there be shortfalls in tax revenue.
Before adjourning, the selectmen unanimously approved a contract with Environmental Services Corporation that will provide uniform automatic controls for town buildings, which is intended to save both energy and money at a cost of $13,600 per year.
ESC already provides controls for the schools, public works and fire department as part of a project with Johnson Controls, which installed equipment including HVAC and a photovoltaic system; this contract will put the town on one system.
The Johnson Controls work did not cover all town buildings and this move by the selectmen completes the effort across the whole town.
ESC is expected to provide savings projections after an assessment and adjustment of controls.