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June 3, 2008 Meeting Minutes

I.      TIME AND PLACE OF MEETING  Ms. Menard called the meeting to order on Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. at the East Windsor Town Hall


Denise Menard, First Selectman
Gilbert Hayes, Deputy First Selectman
Dale Nelson, Selectman
Mark Simmons, Selectman
Edward Farrell, Selectmen

         A.  Approval of Special Meeting Minutes of May 28, 2008
MOTION:  To approve the special meeting minutes of May 28, 2008 with the following correction – in the Motion regarding added appropriation to the treasurer’s budget, the amount should read  $636.01.
Made by Ms. Nelson, Seconded by Mr. Hayes

MEMBERS IN FAVOR, Nelson, Hayes, Farrell
Abstained Simmons abstained due to absence


         A.  Denise Menard, First Selectman – No report
         B.  Gilbert Hayes, Deputy First Selectman – No report
         C.  Edward P. Farrell, Selectman – No report
          D.  Dale Nelson, Selectman – No report
         E.  Mark Simmons, Selectman

Veterans Commission - The Memorial Day Event was a good success and had good weather.  The next event is the Race in November.  June 4 is the award night for scholarships.

MOTION: To go out of order to Item 8 A Girl Scout Community Service Project Presentation
Made by Mr. Hayes, seconded by Mr. Simmons

Ms. Menard introduced scout leader Tracy Moran and her girl scouts.   They presented a shelf that would be in front of the town hall, as opposed to the table that is in the hallway currently.   It is going to be under the glass case in the hallway and all town hall flyers and newsletters will be there.  Ms. Menard felt it was important that the Girl Scouts came before the Selectmen to present their community service gift.   Each young lady from the Troop read a note with information to the Board.  This is their project to improve their community and they earned money for it from the proceeds from girl scout cookie sale.  They wanted to publicly thank James Monroe (a/k/a Grampy) for his efforts with this project.  Ms. Menard suggested putting something on this shelf to acknowledge it was presented to the town from Troop 133.

Made by Mr. Hayes, seconded by Ms. Nelson

         A.    Resignations:  None

         B.  Re-Appointments:  None    

         C.  New Appointments:
        Water Pollution Control Authority
        Elizabeth Burns, (D) as an alternate member to fill a 4-yr. vacancy to
        expire 1/1/2009

Ms. Menard referenced the Ordinance - the highlighted section was read which (Item 2).  She indicated the nominee was not getting compensation for serving on the WPCA, therefore there is no issue with Ms. Burns serving on it as she is not getting compensated to serve on Board.  Mr. Farrell disagreed and felt that the perception of town employee in tax authority is wrong.  He stressed it is not about qualifications, it should not be a town employee. He stated if you take taxpayer dollars as part of your salary he did not think you can be a reasonable person on a board to establish taxes for sewer service.  Mr. Simmons felt the same referencing that there was an opening on the board of Selectmen where it was a town paid employee and same argument was made – again it is nothing against Ms. Burns she is well qualified.

Ms. Burns spoke from the audience and withdrew her application.  

No action.

          D.  Board and Commission Current Vacancies (See Attached)

         A.    Budget

This portion of the meeting was held jointly with the board of Finance to discuss what options looking at and what options are available for addressing the referendum that did not pass for the budget.  The Board of Finance members were invited to the table and the discussion also included Mary Szabo and Tim Howes, Board of Education

Ms. DeSousa called the joint portion to order at 7:44 p.m. at the East Windsor Town Hall

Board of Finance members present:
Marie DeSousa, Acting Chairman
Robert Little
Jack Mannette
JoAnn Kubick – excused
Jason Bowsza
Kathy Pippin, Alternate
Al Floyd arrived 8:20
Leo Szymanski, alternate (excused  

Motion: To make Kathy Pippin a voting member at this meeting
Made by Mr. Bowsza, seconded by Mr. Mannette

Ms. Menard called the supervisory staff in to a meeting the day after referendum failed to start thinking ways to address cuts in the budget.  She wanted to stress that this had nothing to do with trying to step on the Board of Finance toes, she did not even realize it had never done before.  She emailed all senior staff members to think of options and contacted Tim Howes to think of possible recommendations as well.  This is not a meeting to tell the Board of Finance what to do, it is to be helpful to the Board.   Mary Szabo met with Ms. Menard and other staff with calculations as well and has copies for all if needed, as it clarifies what was discussed in staff meetings recently.

Ms. DeSousa indicated that early on this was a joint effort to work with the Board of Selectmen and, as acting Chairperson, she commended all who are coming together  to help in this process and she thanked all involved.  Ms. DeSousa outlined that she was able to sit down with Tim Howes, the police chief and Ms. Menard.  Ms. DeSousa outlined what she did in anticipation of tonight’s meeting, including researching to see if any updated revenue figures, the figures are the same.  Another concern Ms. DeSousa had was the conveyance tax, as of now the legislature meets on June 11.  Prior to tonight Ms. DeSousa met with a legislator to ask his opinion on the conveyance tax and the comment was that it was a temporary tax and it has been renewed and there is mixed feeling as to whether renew, permanent tax or abolished.  The legislator’s suggestion was for people to use figures that have used in the past.  Those are preliminary things she worked on leading up to tonight’s meeting.

After discussions with Ms. Menard and Ms. DeSousa, Mary Szabo created documents for the budget discussion, all of which were distributed and discussed.

One of things when Ms. Menard did regarding the BOE was the special education costs.   Also on the revenue side received back more dollars than anticipated, so $100K was added.

Ms. Menard discussed recommended changes including revenue increase $100K; reduction to pension – $20K; reduction in assessor account $50K took from assessment line and made purchase service person as the Assessor indicated she could do with half salary for this year.  That is another $25K. Those reductions of $245,000 as well as the increase in revenue of $100K equals a change of $345,000.

A Revenue comparison of last year to this year showed an increase in state revenue and local revenue almost equal amount, which was explained in material distributed.

Mr. Farrell questioned the fundamentals.  1.  What makes increase of 5.23% sell?
2. There were no exit polls from voting.  There needs someone to say specifically something in error or not ready to be done.  For example, he cannot imagine damage to special education.  The Boards need to think about what it is specifically they want to do – fundamental premises not ready to take out anything and he is not sure what to take out. And when it does get removed, you need to ask yourself why not do in first place?

Ms. DeSousa 5% figures discussed at the start of this meeting are in not concrete, but just a thought to put forward, after original information submitted and new figures received from Mr. Howe.   She stated Mr. Farrell is correct no exit polls which explain why the budget did not pass – he is absolutely right.  But the Boards have to make assumption that cost of everything is increasing and a large  percentage of people interpret an increase in tax base increase to their personal tax, which is not necessary true, when look at overall figure – could actually have personal tax less today than last year  and she was not sure that information got out as should have.  Nonetheless, this goes beyond letters to editor, mail box flyers because in general people today have a problem upset with personal property taxes.  Ms. DeSousa did ask some who were in NO vote to come forward with something in writing so the Board has guidance where to go.  She stated that a half and hour before she came here she still had not received anything..  All she has received is generalized comments which the Board cannot act on that. The only thing the Board of Finance can act on is budget failed 2 to 1 need to do something.   Ms. DeSousa also indicated the pension liability is underfunded – healthy fund balance, in order to try to catch up where behind, put $1 million in the account to try to catch up.  If reduce $200K then only putting off paying down pension in two years.  Her job on the Board of Finance, like it or not, is to pass a budget this year.  The pension reduction was a suggestion.   

Farrell general conversation need to discuss issues in front of us – not to make cuts.   Ms. DeSousa and Ms. Menard indicated these are not willy nilly cuts – that’s why meetings have taken place and the joint meeting tonight.

Extensive discussion took place with several Board of Finance members, the Treasurer as well as Mr. Howes regarding differences of opinion on the reval and how it effects taxpayers tax liability, including specific examples of how to calculate the effect.  There was discussion among all of the members regarding the different approaches to reach different figures, as well as different documentation that has been distributed and is available to review.  

The recent letter to the Editor was discussed, as well as the numbers which reflect the increase to the Grand List and residential property.  Ms. Szabo went over the figures that she and the assessor came up with as distributed to the members present.

Mr. Little indicated  all surrounding towns 1.2% increase in spending and they want down to zero because fuel is up which effects everything.  Ms. Menard interjected that includes the town.  Mr. Little further referenced if you go to grocery store and see increased cost on all items.  Ms. Menard stated again that rationale includes the town.

Mr. Manette had a lengthy presentation regarding his rationale regarding the No vote and the budget cuts required.  He discussed his thoughts, in great detail, as to how to get to 4% with no cut to existing positions.  He specifically stated the following could be cut to get to the goal of a lower budget and he stated he would provide the Chairman with his specifics which he had in writing:  In brief they included:
·       8 BOE positions BOS agreed $400K if do not fund
·       Superintendent of Schools – unfilled position.  Mr. Howes contributed to this concept and the money left in there for that position, including discussions with the BOF for that position.  The Board knows the what money is for. an active position, even though Mr. Howe does two jobs – Assistant Superintendent as position still out there.
Mr. Manette said have to look at hard decisions.  And the suggestion was to take $100K out.
At this point heated discussion took place among the Board members regarding Mr. Mannette’s letter to the Editor.
After which he continued his suggestions for budget cuts.
·       Two police officer scheduled for retirement – do not fill one (Discussion took place on trends of surrounding towns and their public safety budgets)
·       Public works employee resigned - $67,800 K position (with fringe benefits) do not fill that position.
·       Building department – two put ons – out of planners budget $51K
·       No increase for Conferences on every account  $21,000
·       Travel $6900 (there is essential and non essential)
·       Electricity town property and park and rec – compared to what spent and request, was high compared to others – took some out took $19K out of two accounts.
·       Hazardous waste removal – took $18K out
·       Office equipment went thru each department and made cuts
·       Site improvement park and rec $21K – cut in half another -12K
·       Dues and subscriptions – take out 3400 from there
·       Cemetery association – half of what original got down $5k
·       CIP one issue two p.d. cruisers – cut to one.  24K
·       CIP reserves things that put money away for future – new Senior center study $50K removed
·       Park and rec office and warehouse $85K removed
·       Town Hall windows removed $49K
·       Sidewalks in half
·       Drainage in half
        This leads to approximately $219K in cuts
He also reviewed the BOE budget detail suggesting the following:
·       Printing and postage $8K out
·       Conferences remove $40K
·       Capital account (separate from cip) two categories of capital, instructional, non instructional $35K remove non instructional
·       Dues and fees cut by $3,000
The net result of what Mr. Manette did in order to get to 4% reduce to $1,173,214 – what he just presented was $1,163,135 – these are management decisions that can be made and did not lay anyone off.

Mr. Bowsza indicated his thoughts.  He suggested doing the sign replace, instead of all in one year, he felt the town could spread that project out over two or three years – save $20K
He suggested reduction to the CIP – the study for new sr. center remove that $50K and the
Town clerk vault dehumidifier $22K removed  (Ms. Menard indicated that the documents are threatened – discussed grants)
Regarding the $20K from police budget SRO he suggested all present make sure the money was budgeted in two separate areas.   Ms. DeSousa indicated there was a mistake, that was in two places – Chief noticed it in two spots.
Mr. Bowsza further stated that 7.84 down to 4% is dramatic, he thinks the Town should try progressive step forward without immediately going to “nuclear option” while with reval and economy and all costs up – consider what about  next year and year after – come a point have to have huge tax increase to get where supposed to be for town facilities and services.

Ms. Kathy Pippin feels the  Town can neglect signs also.  The budget was done through one heck of a job.  The Board should not touch special education and the Town cannot go reverse.  Currently everyone is down to skeleton crews and she felt the taxpayers needed to be more informed.

Mr. Floyd indicated he was not involved a lot in process but had questions as to what contractual obligations.   Ms. DeSousa as contracts in process renewed – contingency two account has dollars best guess estimate of average increase.   Ms. DeSousa felt it is not BOF job to say position not back filled – that is why you have police commission and Board of Selectmen – that is her opinion.  If an agency has an employee contemplating retirement,  the Town still needs to budget for position and binding contracts – contingency two for best guess estimate.  Mr. Floyd also had inquiries regarding fuel costs and Mr. Howe contributed to the conversation providing information regarding locking in fuel prices

Tim Howes offered what did last year – take look at revenue ECS – doing again.  Also throughout year turn back in excess money not used.  Last year doubled what government gave town.  ECS is one time benefit.   Mr. Howe contributed that the conferences increase is for initiative to train staff on PLC initiatives – test scores and change instruction.   There is a need to train staff how to do as changing how do business – that is what that is and what was explained.

Mr. Little indicated that  8% to 6% - the Board is set to fool ourselves think it pass.  Ms. DeSousa again stated that figure is an offering of a starting point.  Mr. Little felt  the Board should shoot for a budget town will accept as painful as it may be and they need to pull it in.

Al Floyd education side accountability – are there performance portion of teacher contracts.  Mr. Howes stated if he could do he would – California and Colorado – but not in Connecticut.

Dale Nelson indicated she heard a lot of talk among town side and the biggest thing was cut budgets and cannot ask to cut again as there is no place to cut.  The town side is working with bare minimums and we all want the town to move forward and say only afford 1% - next year in the same shoes, same as previous board.  Ms. Nelson thinks there is a need to educate townspeople as to what towns needs are.  Infrastructure needs – if keep going not going to put the school to put teachers in let alone town hall to house people.  Windows may not be in important, but it effects heating.  

Mark Simmons the budget shot down and here make major cuts.  What will the reaction of  public be with referendum at 0%.  They are going to say why you do first time?  The Boards will need to explain clearly at public hearing as to what was done as there is a need to justify everything to the public.  

Mr. Hayes indicated several of Mr. Manette's points were good, but to stay exactly where we are is like going backwards.  The Senior Center study is important as you need to have a plan to submit for grants.  The Public Works is already four understaff and they do a heck of a job, to not replace on open position would not work.   Superintendent of Schools should have an Assistant and there should be no question of where money going – Mr. Howes should not be doing all himself which is a sacrifice to himself and his family.

Ms. Menard had some ideas in anticipation of the CIP being a target.  Mr. Norton projection road improvements for this year - estimated costs based 55.50 ton to 62.50 ton, increase of 12%.  By putting off today’s dollars what have to pay in bigger dollars in later years at higher costs and bigger projects.   This is a point of comparison of put things off windows this year, if done three years ago, different project, less money. Senior Center study needs to be done before can apply for a grant.  Whole big process – senior center for less dollars, put off now. Heard zero budget conversation year after year – most received Bill Schultz email last year increase average out with this years – do for two or three years town is going backwards and need to be careful what cutting

Ms. Szabo indicated they Town went thru this three years ago, when everyone sat around table and gave back – now just trying to catch up to where they were then.  It is the same scenario every year and have not even caught up to where they were then.  

Made by Mr. Bowsza, seconded by Pippin
Discussion:  Mr. Manette all of Mr. Howe offsets put into revenue side.  Ms. Szabo indicated yes it will be at end of the year – all on revenue side – the answer was yes.  

There was a brief break and the Board of Finance continued their meeting after the meeting room was split.   The Board of Selectmen were back in session at 9:20 p.m.

         B.    *American Heritage River/Proposed Program
        C.  *Petition for Proposed Ordinance/Cemetery
        D.  *Discussion of Board/Commission Volunteer Recognition Program
        E.  *Discussion of Personnel Policies

MOTION: To go out of agenda order to address New Business, Item D.  Approval of Pavilion Project at Scout Hall
Made by Mr. Hayes, seconded by Mr. Simmons

Mr. Burnham came before the Board to present the idea of a Pavilion, which as been approved by the Planning and Zoning and Wetlands agencies.  It will be in memory of East Windsor Citizens.  It has no electricity, no water and the pavilion rests on a cement slab.

MOTION:  To approve the Pavilion Project on the Scout Hall property.
        Made by Ms. Nelson, seconded by Mr. Hayes

It was a consensus to remain out of order to address the Executive Session.

                Pursuant to C.G.S. Section 1-200 (6) (a)
                Personnel Matters                               
        MOTION: To enter into Executive Session at 9:25 p.m. pursuant to Connecticut General Statute Section 1-200 (6)(a) Personnel Matters to include the Board of Selectmen and Superintendent of Schools Tim Howes.
Made by Mr. Hayes, seconded by Ms. Nelson

Motion to come out of executive session AT 10:10 P.M.  
made by Dale Nelson, seconded by Ed Farrell

It was the consensus to return to agenda order.

        A.  Girl Scout Community Service Project Presentation – addressed out of order
        B.  Discussion of Town Vehicles without Town seals

MOTION:  ~To put the town seal on municipal vehicles presently in the town inventory, that are presently without.~ The decal is to be affixed to each side of the vehicle and to be completed by July 31, 2008.
Motion made by Ed Farrell, seconded by Dale Nelson
C.      Janet Regina, Tax Collector/Request to Transfer Funds
MOTION:  To recommend to the BOF the request from Janet Regina permission to transfer $450.00 from the part time salary line to office supplies.
Made by Dale Nelson, seconded by Ed Farrell
        Vote:  In Favor:  Nelson, Farrell, Hayes
~~~~~~~ Mark Simmons abstained
        D.  Approval of Pavilion Project at Scout Hall – addressed out of order

        E.      Historical Commission’s request to change Commission
                name/Town Meeting

MOTION: Recommend to town meeting~ a name change for the East Windsor Historical Commission to "East Windsor Historical Preservation Commission"
Made by Ed Farrell, seconded by Gil Hayes

~       F.  Discussion/Action Re: Ordinance 77-1/Ordinance for Parks and Cemeteries

~~~~~~MOTION:  Recommend to town meeting to repeal Ordinance 77-1 for Parks and Cemeteries.
Made by Ed Farrell, seconded by Mark Simmons


Motion: To adjourn at 10:26 p.m.
Made by Ms. Nelson, seconded by Mr. Hayes

Respectfully Submitted

Cynthia D. Croxford

Please note minutes from 9:20 p.m. to adjournment were taken by Selectman Dale Nelson as the recording secretary had to get meeting notes to the Board of Finance for the remainder of their meeting during the brief break and also was required to leave at 10:00 p.m. which was in the middle of executive session.

*Starred items will not be discussed, but will remain on agenda pending receipt of additional information.