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Officials investigate contaminated soils at garage site, consider modified plan for facility

June 21, 2017 Government No Comments

By John Fitts

CANTON – On Wednesday, the Board of Selectmen voted to have the town work with Fuss & O’Neill to further investigate contaminated soils found at the Public Works site near the Farmington River.

Officials said the discovery of the issue came about during test borings and underground radar at the site in preparation to build a new public works facility.

The contamination is believed to have resulted from two fuel storage tanks – an underground one that was abandoned in the 1950s and an above-ground structure that was on site in the 1930s.

Selectmen voted to have Fuss & O’Neill investigate the issue further and determine what course of action will be needed. Cost of the consulting work is estimated at $29,500, although the firm states it could be as low as $21,500.

Work for the new public works facility is expected to go out to bid soon. While the discovery of some contaminated soils will add some cost to the project, selectmen were adamant that the cost not only needs to stay within the $3.825 million approved by voters in November of 2016 but should also be done as efficiently as possible.

The discovery, however, could result in a change to the concept plan at the time of the vote. Then the idea was to build the facility near the current building on Old River Road. However, officials are now investigating the possibility of building it next to the sewage treatment plant and relocating the existing ballfield to the site of the current building, essentially flipping the two. The idea needs further vetting but could allow for additional parking and better direct access off Route 179, officials said. It would also facilitate a better transitions since the department could use the old facility while the new one was being built, town officials said.

See more in a future issue of the Valley Press.

Canton Electors Approve 2017-18 Budget

May 22, 2017 Budget, Government No Comments

CANTON – At the annual budget meeting May 22, electors passed, by a vote of 150-14, the town’s proposed 2017-18 spending plan of $37,767,987.

The budget represents a 0.58 percent increase in spending, and a 2.45 percent increase in taxes, costing the “average” taxpayer with a home assessed at $238,832, an extra $174. The new mill rate would be 30.49, up from 29.76.

See more in this week’s Valley Press.

Town Looks to Grant in Hopes of Improving Greater Dowd Avenue, Route 44 Corridor

By John Fitts

CANTON – The town is hoping a state grant could help it complete some long-overdue improvements in the greater Dowd Avenue, Route 44 area.

The funding provides up to $2 million under the Responsible Growth and Transit-Oriented Development Program, facilitated by the state Office of Policy and Management. At a recent meeting, selectmen opted to have town staff development a grant application, which would be due in June.

In broad terms, the town will now look at several areas – including Route 44 in the vicinity of Canton Village, Dowd Avenue from Route 44 to Commerce Drive and portions of Canton Springs Road and Commerce – and look improve the area for motorists, trail users, business visitors and area residents. Safety and connectivity are major concerns.

Guiding town officials will be a Route 44 corridor study, sponsored by the Capital Region Council of Governments, and a 2016 Road Safety Audit, funded by the state Department of Transportation, at a cost of approximately $6,000.

Even $2 million would not cover all the work that could be done in the area, officials said, but the hope is to also have design work done for future improvements.

At a recent meeting selectmen did acknowledge the state’s financial crisis but most members felt the application would be appropriate.

“When you’re talking about safety issues that we deal with here in town on state roads, I’m fine with having the state pay to help us solve that problem,” said First Selectman Leslee Hill.

See more in a future issue of the Valley Press. 

 

Budget Plan Goes to electors at May 22 meeting

May 8, 2017 Budget, Government 1 Comment

CANTON – While the town’s proposed $37,767,987 million budget represents a 0.58 percent increase in spending, taxes would increase 2.45 percent under the plan.

The new mill rate would be 30.49. Each mil represents $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property. In this case, homeowners pay $3,049 for every $100,000 of assessed property. The “average” taxpayer, with a home assessed at $238,832, would receive an annual tax bill of $7,282, or $174 more than in fiscal year 2016-17.

If there’s no petition for a referendum, town electors will vote on the plan during the annual budget meeting at 7 p.m. May 22 in the Canton High School auditorium.

At least 150 need to be present for the budget to be validated. The reason the tax increase is greater than the rise in spending is due to Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed cuts in town aid. See more in the May 4 edition of The Valley Press.

Spring Book Sale

Submitted Release 

The Friends of the Canton Public Library will hold a Spring Book Sale in the lobby of the library at 40 Dyer Ave. in Canton through April 22. The Sale will be held during normal library hours. Gardening books, cookbooks, sport-themed books, trade paperbacks and children’s books are among the categories featured at the sale. All books are in pristine condition and make wonderful gifts for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. The books are reasonably priced and all profits are used by the Friends to help provide resources and programming for the library.

The Friends of the Canton Public Library is a volunteer organization that has contributed to the library for over 50 years. It is a group of dedicated community members who have  worked to run fundraisers to raise monies to help our local library.

New members are always welcome. For more information, call 860-693-5800 or www.cantonpubliclibrary.org

Legislative Briefing Set for Morning of April 27

Submitted Release 

The Canton Chamber of Commerce has arranged for State Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-8) and state Rep. Tim LeGeyt (R-17) to provide an update on the state budget on the morning of Thursday, April 27, at the Canton Community Center in Room D. The Canton Community Center is located at 40 Dyer Avenue in Canton, CT. Chamber members, local citizens, and town officials are invited to attend. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. with a light breakfast available. The informal briefing will start at 8 a.m. Attendees are invited to ask questions or comment on issues affecting the town and local businesses. Register for the event at www.cantonchamberofcommerce.com under Upcoming Events.

Canton to apply for STEAP funding

By John Fitts 

Assistant Editor 

CANTON – The town of Canton is hoping the state’s Small Town Economic Assistance Grant could help it with some proposed energy savings.

Recently, Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner informed the Board of Selectmen that the state, somewhat to his surprise, was taking applications for the 2017 grant cycle under a program that gives municipalities as much as $500,000 for economic development, community conservation or capital projects.

This year, the town hopes to receive funds for numerous energy-saving measures at seven municipal buildings and three schools.

Recently, New England Energy Controls of East Haddam finished an audit for the town, recommending numerous improvements that, after some energy credits, would cost $1.3 million in upgrades. A few of those recommendations have been siphoned into separate projects, leaving approximately $1.1 million in upgrades that could be done in seven town buildings and three schools,  estimated at $1.1 million. The improvements could save the town some $263,000 per year. With potential credits and grants, the payback could be as little as 5.1 years.

See more in this week’s Valley Press.

Canton Shines Spotlight on Opioid Crisis

The town of Canton Mental Health Task Force officially kicked off its Year of Mental Wellness programming on March 9 with a special presentation on the opioid crisis.

The event featured remarks from recovering addict Laura Shafer as well as a presentation from Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of the state department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and remarks from Canton resident Maria Coutant Skinner, executive director at the McCall Center for Behavioral Health.

See more on the program in this week’s Valley Press. Additionally the presentations from the meeting can be seen below and the program can be viewed on Nutmeg Television via http://nutmegtv.org/video-on-demand/single/?id=34342. … Continue Reading

First Selectman’s Corner: A Budget Update

Leslee Hill

Dear Canton Residents,

I am sure many of you have been following the news from Hartford regarding Governor Malloy’s state budget proposal and its potential impact on town budgets. There is still great uncertainty about what the final state budget will entail, and it is likely the state will not adopt a budget before June. However, given the Governor’s proposal, we are concerned about the impact of anticipated significant reductions in state funding for education, and a potential liability for one-third of the cost of the teacher pensions. The Board of Selectmen and Board of Education have worked diligently to prepare their budgets, which have been approved by each Board and delivered to the Board of Finance for their consideration. I want to explain how we considered the state budget issues as we formulated the BOS budget. … Continue Reading

Town to Relinquish Ownership of Grange Building

The grange building in North Canton.

By John Fitts 

CANTON – Calling it unfortunate, Canton selectmen nonetheless have decided to let go of the North Canton Grange building.

The board recently voted to authorize Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner to make arrangements to give the building to the state grange association.

In September of 2013, the town accepted the building as a gift from members of the dissolved Cherry Brook Patrons of Husbandry Grange #210.

In the fall of 2016, Boy Scout Troop 177 came forward with an offer to perform some of the necessary repairs, which town officials estimate to be nearly $145,000, a much higher figure than repair estimates a few years ago.

Even with the Scouts’ offer, officials said the town would still be responsible for approximately $100,000 in upgrades. Additionally the $4,500 in annual costs would rise to $11,600 once the building was refurbished, officials said.

Selectmen said it was unfortunate but felt the town could not take on the project, particularly in this economic climate.

See more in this week’s Valley Press.

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