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This Week in Windham

First Selectman's Report

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Thank you to: ECSU for sending people to help w/ data entry in the Zoning Enforcement Office and to UConn for sending two interns, who will be working with 4 of our subcommittees, as well as in the First Selectman's office.

Everyone who paid their taxes last month. I know we all struggle with them. We did try to keep them low, and are looking at making improvements towards next year.

I've gotten so many letters of thanks to the Public Works department for their attention to detail and courtesy. I'll add to that a very large thank you for the fantastic job they do cleaning up after the 3rd Thursday Street Fests.


Facilities Improvements: Public Works will be helping to make a few improvements to Julia de Burgos Park in preparation for their anniversary celebration in memory of Sandy Taylor on September 27th. And they continue to help with odd jobs at Town Hall.

The bulky waste collection will be held the first week in November.

Budget: We will need to postpone the audit until after January, but we did that last year, too. People are working overtime to bring the accounts up to date. Chuck Pennewill, a retired officer with Liberty Bank, is volunteering to help us put together an RFP for our banking services.

We received a letter from OPM Secretary Genuario stating, in the strongest possible terms, the intention of the administration and the legislature to restore the Housing Authority PILOT funds for the current fiscal year, which should bring in about $60,000.

Miscellaneous: Neida's organizing an Excel Class and a Wellness Group for town employees. A newsletter is ready to go to print, thanks to Maria Benitez in Recreation.


Outside Organizations

Magnet School Committee: Interviewed 6 architects, interviewing 6 more tomorrow, will narrow it down to 4, then bids will go out. We appropriated the whole $40 mil for the school, but we will only bond for $2 mil. The State pays the rest, and we drawn it down as we need it—we do not have to put the money out, then get reimbursed, which can take a long time. We could be responsible for more than $2 mil if we break contracts during this construction phase, as that would make us responsible for paying the State back.

Weed and Seed: We just got word Friday that we were awarded a 2008-09 Weed and Seed Grant for $150,000. Last week we learned that we were awarded a Drug Free Community grant for $125,000.

Windham Youth Football and Cheerleading: They are celebrating their 51st anniversary on September 6th. There have been parking problems around Guild Field, but the parents are cooperating to keep the driveways clear.

Willimantic Housing Authority: Held their 61st anniversary annual meeting. Jack Sullivan, the fee accountant gave a glowing report emphasizing that Willimantic is more fiscally sound than most other housing authorities in New England. They are reshingling the roofs on West Ave.

Thread City Development and Community Economic Development Fund: CEDF has $150,000 in CT Neighborhood Assistance Act tax credits available. If large corporations in this area make charitable contributions to CEDF, about 60% of the contribution will go to TCDC to invest in small business initiatives and other economic improvements like the facade improvements or visitors center. I've approached the Savings Institute and Northeast Utilities, and will be mailing letters to other businesses on Wednesday, and Ted will follow up with phone calls.

ECSU: Michael Thomas, of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, was awarded an honorary Doctorate for his work supporting the Early Childhood Learning Center. It was a inspiring convocation, and I spoke to welcome the students into our community.

Old Business

Drag Racing: I called the State Troopers about the drag racing, and they returned the call, but apparently the situation has not improved. I will follow up again.

Mills: Received a fax from DEP suggesting that we apply for Brownfields money for an additional assessment of the Mill #4, and that we seek the opinion of an environmental attorney to determine the potential liability issues to acquiring the site. The Brownfields training to apply for a grant is September 12 in Hartford. I cannot go, so we need a volunteer who can write a grant.

Mr. Briggs is hoping to close on the Mills very soon. We will be meeting on Thursday morning to work on some details.

Correspondence: Letter from RTC. The Magnet School Committee is preparing a letter to answer the questions that can be answered right now.

Openings on Commissions/Boards/Committees: Are listed on the front page of the website. In addition, we have openings on the Noise Pollution and we will have openings on the Senior Center Building Committee.

Home Connecticut Application: will go in with the addition of this resolution. Many thanks to Jana Butts, Senior Planner at WINCOG. They will also be doing the bulk of the work on the grant. The information we receive will be very helpful to any future developer. I get calls from developers asking if we have done housing needs assessments or market analysis. The availability of this kind of information is an indicator of a community's interest and commitment to economic development.

Façade Grant: Gov. Rell's Office called and requested that I make an appointment with OPM Secretary Genuario to talk about the façade grant.

CL&P: Will probably be making a presentation at the next BOS meeting on the Interstate Reliability Project and it's affect on Windham. The Informational Session will be September 30 from 5:30-7:70 at ECSU.

New Business

Send to committee: Six Merchant Marines from Willimantic served in WWII. They would like to mount a memorial plaque in Memorial Park. They received permission from the Vets to put a stone in the park, Russ Inzinger purchased a plaque, and Public Works will find a stone. We hope to have a ceremony with Secretary of State Bysiewicz commemorating all WWII Veterans, and unveil the new memorial at the same time. The Merchant Marines need help with the expenses and coordination.

Good News: Willimantic was rated an overall score of 88 in “walk ability”. We beat out San Francisco! Walkscore “calculates the walk ability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools and parks.” Walkscore.com As reported in Saturday August 30 Chronicle.

Lots & More Grand Opening: Was well attended and I hope it is very successful.

Willimantic Traffic Authority: The Police are studying designating permit parking on some roads, to alleviate the parking around ECSU. I keep advocating for “pedestrian Crossing” signs in intersections, and some speed aprons, which just slow traffic and enhance pedestrian visibility.

Caisse Park Concert: The last concert in the series is Sept 7 at 2:00. Harp Breakers.

CHFA Housing Fair: Sept. 20, at the Windham Middle School, CHFA, other agencies, lenders and other businesses will be available to consult with people having difficulty with their mortgages and needing assistance or advice. There will be 2 sessions: 9 & 11.