The opinions and observations expressed here are those of "About Town" and should not be considered official in any way.

             
 

CENTRAL WESTON BASE MAP...AND ONE FOR THE ENTIRE TOWN

AT THE LEFT ABOVE...GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE BASE MAP WE'VE BEEN WAITING TO USE SINCE...2005!  AND AT THE RIGHT, FIRST SELECTMAN'S REPORT ON GFC/HER OWN PLAN

CONTENTS:  LATEST - Link to First Selectman's report of her version of what has been going on with "Global Facilities" planning and where we are now.  To be online at Town website (text only - not sources) - or perhaps Selectman who scanned the entire document into a PDF will provide that? 

OUR MINUTES OF WHAT WE OBSERVED AT GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE:
"Picture stories" and meeting dates
August 6, 2015MAY 4, 2015March 30, 2015 November 4, 2014; October 30, 2014June 20, 2014March 20, 2014October 25, 2013June 21, 2013June 10, 2013.







H O W    M A N Y    M E E T I N G S    G O I N G    O N    H E R E   A T    O N E    T I M E ?
GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE expected to produce a report on their recommendations...NOT THERE YET AS OF AUGUST 2015.


SELECTMEN'S MEETING MAY 7, 2015
The crowd filtered in and out, as public hearings ended and the Board of Selectmen got underway late...And two power points began after two appointments and acceptance of a gift!


                 

A very long discussion.
About Town asked for a copy for the FORUM of the document being held aloft by the First Selectman.  A member of the Board of Finance (below, left in the center) gave me his...Town Administrator then made copies.


       
FINANCE BOARD
Not so sure about Global Facilities' committee decision to plunge ahead...so it seemed to me.



  
"SHELL GAME" ABOUT SPACE NEEDS DID IN THE SCHOOL BUDGET BY DISTRACTING ATTENTION AND TIME OF STAFF, AS WELL AS PTO (JMO)
New member of the Board of Finance spoke strongly and frankly.  Did the Public Safety Complex roll out confuse voters ahead of ATBM and Referendum?  I have to say the "plan" to move ahead had a shallow look to it, but perhaps it was because there was discussion around a document I couldn't see until the topic was almost exhausted..






SOME HISTORY AND REPORTS


AT THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN MARCH 19, 2015


MANDATE FOR OPEN DISCUSSION AND STRATEGIC THINKING.  CAN AN UNAFFILIATED VOTER BE APPOINTED TO AN ELECTED COMMISSION...NO.  AT LEAST NOT UNTIL THE CHARTER IS CHANGED... AGAIN.
If we recall correctly, it was our brave Superintendent in conjunction with Rep. Lavielle, who co-chaired a Commission to call for lessening impact of mandates on high performing districts!!!

Board of Selectmen do a double.  That is, frame their meeting between 2 executive sessions.  We stayed home.

We are awaiting the latest version of the Board of Selectmen's options for developing an expanded Police Station/Emergency Services structure in coordination of the space available on the ground.  News of study of available land:





  

WHAT DID THE BOARD OF FINANCE DO AT ITS FEB. 12, 2015 MEETING?  NOTHING ON THE AGENDA TO INDICATED THIS MATTER WAS RE-ADDRESSED.  WE DID NOT ATTEND.

A rescheduled TRI-BOARD (SEL, FIN, ED.)meeting - including an Executive Session regarding school security:  http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/REVISEDTriBoardAgenda2-3-15.pdf

The shell game came to an abrupt end, we hope, at LWV of Weston's "Speak Up 2015."  The Tri-Board meeting included voting by the Board of Selectmen to approve the whole consultant proposal, which was then passed down the table to the Board of Finance, which asked for modifications, Selectmen then got it back, approved only "Part One" and passed it back to the Board of Finance, who then approved it 3-1.

QUESTION:  Was this legal?  We know the School Security matter is legal.  Was there proper notice for the Selectmen and Finance Boards to discuss and change consultant recommendation?  In the end, this is not a big deal, but actually one member of the Finance Board, not the "no" vote, mentioned it.





BALL NOW IN SELECTMEN'S COURT

At LWV of Weston "Speak Up" the public let the town and school establishment know that they were confused.  The Weston FORUM editorial after "Speak Up" states its opinion, which is ours as well, that it is time to let everybody in on the process and take action:  Editorial in full - http://www.thewestonforum.com/25449/editorial-space/





TRI-BOARD MEETINGS CAN LOOK LIKE THIS ABOVE.
Special Meeting to re- appoint Commission on Aging, begin merging School-Town web presence and...buildings at Hurlbutt dates built.

NORTH HOUSE TO BE CLOSED IN 5 YEARS?  Selectmen pursue clarity on what they must do to meet town needs.  Hurlbutt second project (r).


Selectmen 2pm Monday, Dec. 22, 2014.  Full house.  Reappointments grilled.
Hurlbutt "on the table" again?.  Board of Education makes its points as Selectmen discuss/decide to send letter but do not release it.  BIG crowd!

What went down?
  So glad you asked!  Town TV there.  And the FORUM has a story online explaining from the point of view of the First Selectman why the Board of Selectmen at a Special Meeting saw fit to continue discussion with a quorum present after the meeting was officially closed and the cameras had been turned off after their Special Meeting Dec. 15, 2014.

Kabuki theater with no one there but everyone there and nothing said but everything said

When will they, the Selectmen, ever learn?  Just because you hear things at a meeting or second hand doesn't mean that they are either of the following:

Some things never change department and some truisms:






The ebb and flow of school population. 
In the past, Weston was most impacted by major employers in the region moving; downturns in the U.S. economy affect birthrates five years later.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT...BACK TO THREE BUILDINGS LONG RANGE?


At a public hearing before a Town Meeting, the community may ask "why not use a Plan 'B?'" - i.e.  North House refitted for Town staff use instead of additions to Town Hall as a replacement for the Town Hall Annex.  This might reduce the immediate sticker price by $1.8 million est.

Since Hurlbutt fields are to be used, perhaps, for storm water runoff along with enlarged septic fields proposed in front of Town Hall, for the Public Safety Complex - and assuming all of that works, would not a Plan 'C' also work?  Maybe some nice senior housi
ng some day, as the Town Engineer drew up and former First Selectman proposed in the 1990's?


Background history of Town/School Referendum 2001:  New Ideas?

Second, although the Board of Selectmen will most likely not be where this discussion is held, it is obvious to us it will come up...in 1991-1992 when Weston total enrollment was 1393 and at that time, there was a cry to close...(not yet enlarged and renovated) Weston High School.  Well, this time, it might be an idea to close Hurlbutt E-S and/or put them in mothballs.  Why not include them in the Norfield Historic District which would not preclude interior renovations for more senior/affordable housing or other town use?  The Core Building (circled in red below) is not "historic" but does remind everyone of the beginning of the school expansion project - which was "historic" if for no other reason than it was an example of the power of Town Meeting and adjournment to Referendum (#1).  And two years later, Referendum #2. 

LWV of Weston Observer Corps 2001 report:
SPECIAL TOWN MEETING NOV. 7:
This meeting was very polite.  It was also videotaped and put on the screen the very next day (congratulations to Town staff working free overtime, no doubt, to make the "station" a "24-7" all news all the time 21st Century public access machine)...couldn't have happened without the Town of Weston volunteer-run GOVERNMENT ACCESS CHANNEL rising to the occasion.  BRAVO!
League Observer notes that the Weston Middle School Cafeteria was pretty full (not totally) - this means @170 persons - but maybe the number for eligible voters was considerably smaller because the real records kept are for "qualified voters" and does not include the people filling seats who are:  Education Staff or other Town Staff not residents of Weston, under-age residents sitting with parents and Weston residents who not citizens.  Both LWV Co-Presidents were present, along with other Board Members and general membership.  This was First Selectman Hal Shupack's last Town Meeting, and he introduced Woody Bliss, his successor.  Opening remarks were made by the Chair. of the Board of Education, the Superintendent (acting) of Schools, Chair. of the Parks and Recreation Commission.  Fletcher-Thompson, the architects, were present, but no one asked any questions of them.  It was noted that no one who spoke was in doubt about their position.  It was also noted that anyone who would like to take a tour of the proposed Parks and Recreation improvements was welcome to the League of Women Voters/Parks and Rec. event Friday, November 9 at 11am in Bisceglie Park.

A question about the Sheff decision vis a vis filling unused space in the public schools was discussed somewhat heatedly, with a standing ovation given to the person who had the nerve to bring up the issue of why people might be opposed to school expansion - asking if it was not a code position for not favoring an integrated society.  One after the other of some who had opposed the expansion returned to the microphine to recite reasons why they never intended to suggest that this was a racial issue.

The Town Meeting was adjourned to the machines--VOTE THURSDAY, NOV. 15, 2001, WESTON MIDDLE SCHOOL,  FROM 6am to 8pm --Schools will be open so...watch out for traffic and parking problems in the Middle School lot.
PREVIOUSLY

Turnaround off School Road for school bus drop off at Core building!  1987 photo of East House.

First school expansion
Core building and connectors running through it to East, South and North "houses".

Why do we suggest these alternative thoughts?  Because we might want to begin thinking of a "Centrality: Town Campus Plan" for sharing buildings and technology with the Schools.  With the Hurlbutt campus eventually no longer in school use (perhaps), walk paths directly connecting North House to Town Hall might be possible.  Also, if demographics will also support it, an enhanced Senior Transit service might be able to locate in the newest structure at the turnaround at Hurlbutt  


History of enrollment changes:

By 1994 birth rates were up to 108, so NESDEC advised that growth would come, especially if in-migration increased.  The results of a local census of children (that got a 75% return from the entire community) was sent to the State Department of Education demographer from the Superintendent of Schools on Sept. 18, 1995.  Where the SDE official numbers of children under the age of 5 yrs was 475, the local census just referred to, showed 808 in that same cohort.  Eventually came the Referendum of 2001 and the redo of Question 2 in 2003; completion of work at WHS by 2006;  @3000 student maximum planned for never came to pass.


1995 Engineer's Alert
Read what happened, blow-by-blow, unofficial source - note that some links to old data and reports by regional agency no longer working.





MAP OF TOWN LINE W/WILTON AND PROXIMITY OF SCHOOL CAMPUS...WHY SO COMPLEX?

SO WHEN WILL THE H-INTERSECTION BRIDGE REPLACEMENT GET GOING?  NEXT SUMMER?
Let us explain:  As the Town Engineer points out, the Old Mill Road section of this commuting route during rush hours is sub-standard.  In order to improve it to the point where speed humps can be installed, there must be more than one widening made, alterations to vertical curvature (which will entail determining if the Town of Weston will have to "take" some parts of property), all of this being major time and expense...BUT About Town reminds the Town of Weston that in the past the suggestion has been made to do even more damage to the neighborhood...which we won't mention specifically.



PLEASE NOTE THAT THE SECOND ITEM ON THE 3-30-15 AGENDA WAS NOT VOTED UPON AT THE SUGGESTION OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS.
I was wondering how or more correctly, who, was qualified to vote on minutes from years ago, first introduced as "drafts" at this meeting!  Pictures of who attended these meeting no longer online.



Setting the stage...for the big switch and bait or was the bait and switch?





Fall 2014


After Election Night...and now Nov. 20, and no minutes in sight...but the requested survey of space use by other Police Departments IS DONE:

LINK TO PDF OF COMPARISON OF SPACE USE AT POLICE DEPARTMENTS

The joint meeting election night, after all, WAS NOT televised on Channel 79.  But...the Board of Finance meeting prior to it was!  Here is a secondary source report from the FORUM:



THE FIVE YEAR PLAN:  No video of Joint Meeting. 
Above left, the upper floor of new Police Station...part of the bigger picture.  New septic field under here...softball fields at Hurlbutt to get redo to allow parking, next. Onion Barn safe for now.

Not ready for prime time...yet.  But doing very nicely!
Weston finance board reviews police building project
Weston FORUM
By Kimberly Donnelly on November 12, 2014

The town will likely pursue a combination of bonding and appropriations from its reserve fund to finance a new public safety building and renovation of Weston Town Hall.  That was the consensus of the finance board and the Board of Selectmen after meeting in a joint session on Tuesday, Nov. 4, to discuss plans to build a new police station and to relocate several town offices...

Town hall renovation

The town is also looking at renovating the town hall once the police and communications center vacate it to move in to the new building. Cost estimates based on preliminary designs are about $1.8 million...

While she would have liked to have seen the project go to voters this fall, Ms. Weinstein said, she realizes there are still questions that need to be answered and details that need to be worked out.

“We want to make sure we’re doing it right, so I’m willing to take the extra time,” she said...story from the FORUM in full:  http://www.thewestonforum.com/23049/weston-finance-board-reviews-police-building-project/



Before...

 




AND THE FOLLOW UP TO THE OCT. 30TH MEETING WILL BE...NOV. 4TH!  WHILE ABOUT TOWN IS AT THE WMS REPORTING TO AP ON ELECTION RESULTS!
Bonding to pay for the Emergency Services Complex and Expansion/Renovation of Town Hall (since the Annex is being phased out) will have to be the subject of a Town Meeting/Referendum.  Unless the powers that be would prefer to add it to the ATBM and never have discussion at town meeting at all!  Just a yes-no Referendum!  Would or should Weston be eligible for any funding from the State of CT?  As commented by the parties at the table discussing these matter, since it was reported that D.E.E.P. has a file on us from the town hall/school first expansion and also the second, I would think that we might well be back to moving or merging expansion to the schools complex and not changing the foot print of any structure.  Of course, some members of the Board of Finance have suggested similar things and been swept aside with the certainty that D.E.E.P. can be talked out of tgheir mission...below, the early plans presented for Town Hall part of the project.
 
Please note that the Town of Weston provided copies after the meeting of all items discussed.


PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY
GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE OCT. 30TH DISCUSSED WAYS TO REVISE PLAN.  DRAWINGS OF
FIRST FLOOR OF POLICE STATION AND ITS SECOND FLOOR.






Summer 2014

Will D.E.E.P. allow a septic solution or will they insist on another tertiary treatment plant or enlarging the one on school road and requiring pumping effluent all the way to that location???
A SOLUTION WAS FOUND THAT ACCOUNTS FOR STORMWATER RUNOFF - BUT WHAT ABOUT SEPTIC SYSTEMS?  Check here for 2015 latest.


"Bad soils" for perc?  Stone wall - runoff exit spot.  Historic District property on east side of highway includes Onion Barn and Main Fire House.
Previously we had opined that the natural solution used for Town Hall-Fire Dept. roof run off, apparently the only one in place for the past 25 years (green area behind bollards on left), was to be covered over in new Plan...or so it seems to us.  Now the Plans proudly announce that the Onion Barn will remain and be enhanced as it deserves to be - although there was no map showing that on the Plan that I saw...





HOW ABOUT ENCOURAGING MICROGRID?

At Special Board of Selectmen's meeting Aug. 18, 2014
C-PACE program explained.  The Town fits in as a "pass-thru" for funds from CT "Green Bank."  Lights Committee or whatever it is called, to meet soon.

What was item #3 all about?  Would nice new windows at Weston Middle School have been qualified for this program?  NOPE.  The Shopping Center, St. Francis, the Lyon's Plains Fire House - all privately owned buildings - would qualify.  For those interested, this is how the agenda reads:  "3.Discussion/decision regarding approving a resolution for the Commercial & Industrial Property Assessed Clean Energy (CPACE) program"

--------------------


C-PACE Financing High Performance Building Upgrades

Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) is an innovative program that is helping commercial, industrial and multi-family property owners access affordable, long-term financing for smart energy upgrades to their buildings.

C-PACE allows building owners to finance qualifying energy efficiency and clean energy improvements through placing a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill. Property owners pay for the improvements over time through this additional charge on their property tax bill and the repayment obligation transfers automatically to the next owner if the property is sold. Similar to a sewer tax assessment, capital provided under the C-PACE program is secured by a lien on the property, so low-interest, long-term capital can be raised from the private sector with no government financing required. This arrangement spreads the cost of clean energy improvements – such as energy efficient boilers, upgraded insulation, new windows, or solar installations – over the expected life of the measure.

http://www.c-pace.com/projects/





SPORTS PERSON OF THE YEAR IN WESTON;  WESTON SPORTS COMMISSION MEMBERS
Which actors may be missing from The Weston Sports Commission?  Are they as a group subject to F.O.I.?  If not, why not?  First meeting of lights management committee coming soon - Second Selectman representing the Board of Selectmen - will there be posted notices shown online?

A BLAST FROM THE PAST:

As we wrote some many years ago it isn't funny..."Following up on front page article in the FORUM"...some early words about SPORTS COMPLEX:

At the Wednesday, January 2, 2002 School Building Committee meeting, a brief presentation was made by W.H.S. Athletic Director, community Sports Complex 2003 steering group...
Vision Statement:
"Support the athletic energy of Weston's youth by providing leadership in upgrading and enhancing athletic facilities which benefit all participants."
Mission Statement:
"Create, and sustain, a 'Best in Class' Multi-functional athletic environment/facilities" is the idea!  "...Weston High School's medium longer term total land use, athletic infrastructure and development strategies" are on the line here.  Through mutual partnerships (individuals, families, public enterprises), the Committee states, "...we will focus our development efforts towards providing a multi-sports surfaced stadium and supporting equipment to enhance overall athletic excellence."
This has been done successfully "across the pond"... in Lancashire...JOINT DEVELOPMENT is one way to go in times of limited resources...meaning getting end users to pony up $$.




"FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS" (FOR ALMOST HALF THE CALENDAR YEAR) GOING UP...PHOTO ON RIGHT JULY 30th...

Summertime in Weston 2014 means School Road construction - "Hold that line" football cheer = watch those electric bills!  Read FORUM report here!  Did the M.O.U. include permission from the crows?


LET THERE BE LIGHTS AND THERE WERE LIGHTS - VISITOR'S SIDE HERE
And now we know what the problem is going to be - the fourteen separate lights on each "stalk" have to be perfectly calibrated in order to not have "spillage."  How will we know for sure what needs to be re calibrated  - did the new Director of Facilities get training?


PRIMARY DAY AUGUST 12...ON FRIDAY AUGUST 15 (at right)
We took a trip to the access road on Tuesday to the tennis courts, parked, and took this camera phone picture...click pix above to see Saturday views!

FOOTBALL FIELD LIGHTING WATCH...
Lights will be going up on Primary Day Tuesday, August 12;  when we checked this morning, an individual working on the installation passed by, so we asked what's up - there appeared to be work going on.  He very politely responded that they (we presume Musco Corp.) were assembling the light poles on the ground Monday and would erect them tomorrow, Tuesday.  By the weekend the fields were in full use during the day, 4 new light poles in place with 14 lights each.





OBSERVATIONS BY ABOUT TOWN - NOT OFFICIAL - ABOUT WHERE WE ARE IN THE SUMMER OF 2014...


SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUMMER...Onion Barn still busy!  Stadium Lights coming; tertiary treatment plant repairs in full force now that schools are closed.  East House parking - more impervious surfaces?
Will it be like the circus on School Road this summer? (See projects ongoing)  Special Meeting of the Board of Selectmen at 7pm Monday, prior to the regularly scheduled  one.





UNOFFICIAL "MINUTES" TAKEN BY ABOUT TOWN OF GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE MEETINGS ATTENDED



LINK TO ITEMS DISTRIBUTED BELOW
GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE
Town Hall Meeting Room
August 6, 2015 - 7:45am to 9:30am approx.

This meeting was not recorded nor was the Weston FORUM present.  Nothing was decided except approval of previous meeting minutes. 



PRESENT:  Gayle Weinstein, First Selectman;  Brian Humes, architect;  Jerry Sargent, Board of Finance;  Allen Swerdlowe, Bob Soloff, Building Committee;  Elise Major, Bd of Ed (Facilities Committee);  Dr. Palmer;  Beth Gralnick, Police Commission;  Ellen Uzenoff, Bd of Ed;  IN THE AUDIENCE IN SUPPORT were Communications Center Director, Fire Department, EMS, Bd of Ed Facilities Director.



PUBLIC SAFETY COMPLEX
Materials distributed included latest architect's report, letters re:  possible use of Onion Barn Field (Hurlbutt) letter from engineer and DEEP;  formal estimator's numbers for hard and soft costs plus another copy of Dec. 24, 2014 review of projects for similar facilities, hard cost only, we think.  What if anything could be left out of final proposal?  Fire Department made a suggestion.  Attached also are drawings and documents distributed for the discussion of the two story Public Safety Complex.

    

DOCUMENTS
Building Committee Co-Chair makes case for not changing anything.  Board of Finance reminds those present that costs were requested to be reduced by some % - had this happened or had it actually increased?

Architect's report:  Included correspondence between Town Engineer and DEEP. 
Included also separate project cost estimate plus...

Drawings of plan:  These are scanned in and we apologize for their appearance - but all the information should be available.

Lower floor plan
Upper floor plan.

Previous review of Public Safety Complexes elsewhere:  Comparison with other projects - the table (in two parts):

Left partright part.





LINK TO ITEMS DISTRIBUTED BELOW
GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE
Town Hall Meeting Room
May 4, 2015  7:45am - @9:30am

In attendance was the Editor of the Weston FORUM.


  
TOWN ADMINISTRATOR PRESENT AND DISTRIBUTES SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS TO THE PUBLIC:

  ITEM ONE, ITEM TWO.
The three item agenda was completed in approximately the same time frame as other GFC meetings.  Present were:  Members of Board of Education both at the table and in the audience plus the Superintendent of Schools and the Director of Finance plus the Director of Buildings and Grounds;  Communications Center Director, Fire Department, in audience;  Co-Chairs. of the Building Committee Police Department representative (the Chief had to be elsewhere) plus Vice-Chair. of the Police Commission;  2 Commission on Aging members;  2 members of the public.

    
RFP DISCUSSION:  No vote taken.  Finance Chair.  points out action needs to be taken now.   A modified "Main Street" proposal for a consultant - funded by State of CT grant - if Weston can get it.

  
SO IS EVERYBODY ON BOARD WITH THE PUBLIC SAFETY-TOWN HALL PROJECT?  Is it clear what is being proposed?  Comments that you need the general support of the wider community for this, too.


The minutes of the previous meeting were approved with abstentions, we think.






GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE
Town Hall Meeting Room
March 30, 2015 7:45am - @9:30am

About Town has the record: 
SOUND FILE HERE

North is up on the Google map below.  These come from the 20 pages "report" with 21 more pp of maps, aerials and assorted material.  NO EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

      

The meeting went like this:  The First Selectman ably described the sporadic multi-year effort to take a "global" look at the Town's space needs to see if there could be joint use of structures, etc. with the schools.  Then came Sandy Hook School tragedy and rules for school safety all over the State of CT changed. 

Global Facilities and the Board of Selectmen have now clarified exactly what this Board of Education considers compatible uses of space - Senior Activity Center, Town departments that do not get outside visitors (and even their own business office!!!).

Who was there?  Representation from those parties with "skin in the game."  That would be Town, Education, Police,  Building Committee, Board of Finance.  Library not present and Commission on Aging in the audience as were Fire Department and EMS and Communication Center.   Global Facilities Committee members and those attending the meeting on Monday, 7:45am, Town Hall Meeting Room received (shared copies) presentation by administration of summary of 20 pp of text and 21 pages with tables, charts, Google aerial views. and explanation of what was "on the table" (we note that we found listening again to the Town Administrator in 3 minutes explained what had to be done [at @1hr15min into the sound file] was very helpful) - SOUND FILE HERE


 
       
It was a lot to absorb: By this time, speaking for myself, nothing was new - just clarified in print and in the verbal report.  Space planner from Massachusetts explained it took years to convince North Hampton, MASS. to approve a Police Station (we may have the name of the town wrong - it has 55,000 people and sidewalks everywhere (and sewers and public water, I'll bet!).


        
MAIN CONCERN OF THOSE AROUND THE TABLE IS NOT HAVING TOWN MEETING VOTE DOWN THEIR PROJECT - JMO.
(R) Town Administrator, near the end - one-hour and 15 minutes in for three minutes - explains why you have to start with the Public Safety Complex. 

Next best part of the meeting was when Police Commissioner and Boards of Finance and Education members all agreed what was needed was to hire a planning consultant like Westport has done for their downtown planning - which is earlier on the sound file. 

Which is always nice to do but...putting off what is really not a complicated decision, IMHO.

It is a political decision to be made, yes.  But why should it be considered just a local one?  Forces in Hartford beyond our control are changing and shifting the ground under our feet in the 169 towns in CT as we write this... 






Meeting of the Global Facilities Committee, 7:45-9am, 10-30-14.  Held prior to meeting election night of Joint Committe of Finance/Selectmen to discuss bonding...we won't be there...

In the Town Hall Meeting Room not televised:  Who wasn't there?  All hands on deck!  Reference to EMS made by First Selectman to Oct. 22nd Special Meeting...
OK, the meeting started with all hands on deck, almost.  Some expected to be present were not there.  It was pointed out that prior to going to the Joint Meeting of the Boards of Finance and Selectmen at 7:30pm election night, there should be an attempt to get their ducks in a row to the extent everyone was informed that studies had been complete of storm water retention as well as septic feasibility, and the DEEP had made suggestions although no final word was available about whether or not a new septic field on town/school property would be allowed.


The new proposed project (blow up) will also include expanded and renovated Town Hall Offices to accommodate those departments now in the Annex, except for Parks&Rec.
Parks & Rec will remain at Jarvis.  Why was the Communications Center Director looking concerned?  Perhaps because in the hunt to cut 1500 sq ft off the latest proposed draft alternatives might reduce changing room space or a corridor that may compromise the activity of the Fire Department?  See below right as this corridor is discussed on drawing, indicating why, to avoid having to either go from the second floor to the ground floor for Fire Department might mean slowing down response time.
 

EMERGENCY SERVICES COMPLEX:  Why cut anything?  Can't it be spread out in a two-step bonding effort and go out for bonding while interest rates are favorable?
Those who remember the school construction project you also remember how the $124 million project became, after another summer of study, a $79 million call to Referendum.  And we've been building the rest of what was needed in smaller chunks ever since.  Some points made at this meeting:


EMERGENCY:  EVERYONE TO GET FROM STREET DEPARTMENT ("THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING" QUOTE) MEETS HAL FROM 2001

THE VISION THING...
Originally thought these things May 14, 2014 at the Building Committee  - sometimes we'd rather be wrong...a "eureka" moment!  Remember Halloween 2011 - Hal from "2001" the movie?

IS THIS ENOUGH TO KEEP ROOF DRAINAGE FROM CROSSING WESTON ROAD?  WE"LL SEE...

This morning, June 20, 2014 (the date we wrote this entry) the Global Facilities Committee met.  Nothing yet from the soil testing consultant. 

We were enlightened by the discussion among Board of Education, Board of Finance, Building Committee and the First Selectman.  Other matters include:  Questions such as the new Police Station being moved should drainage system installation require this, is in the hands of the soil testing consultant for now. 

Whither "Global Facilities?"

Eureka!  I finally get it!  Why is the "Global Facilities Committee" called by this name?  Because they are planning for 10 years out, positioning Weston to transition fully into the new generation of public service, a new paradigm.

And so it came to pass that we finally heard from the Global Facilities Committee, on Friday, June 20, 2014, something that we hadn't heard anywhere at a public meeting before.  Bravo!  Thank you Board of Finance for brilliantly capturing "the vision thing."  Always a good thing when the Board of Finance is in the lead.

What everyone meant by "Global Facilities" became clear to me.  And more than that, how personnel changes, retirements, technical changes in how information is stored (and disseminated) fit in.  Discussion of population and how the 5-year plan from the schools will be coming soon to help in planning as well.

There are, at this time, four major players in the Global Facilities Committee in Weston:  The Board of Education, the Building Committee, the Board of Finance and the Board of Selectmen.  What changes must we look out for that affect the Plan?  "About Town" summarizes as we heard it:
Did we mention "Centrality" as the most important thing to seek to develop?  No?  That's because Weston is already centralized!  Weston Shopping Center (across rte. 57), municipal complex including Police/Fire/Communications/Town Hall/Library and all schools are in the center of town and adjacent to one another and walkable internally.






GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE 3-20-14 MEETING NOTES - (L-R) THE COMMITTEE, OUR LAND USE MAP FROM 2008 - COMMITTEE MEMBERS AT THE TABLE...MORE TO COME?



What happened Thursday, March 20, 2014, 7:45am Global Facilities meeting?

Plenty.   Fortunately, the Weston FORUM editor attended this 7:45am meeting and  will report it in the newspaper!  "About Town" spoke up supporting another who asked for P&Z to be in the loop if not actually on the Committee.

A meeting of the minds among Selectmen, Police Commission, Board of Education, Board of Finance, Building Committee, adviser, Commission on Aging in the audience as was the Communication Center Director. 

No one taking notes except for Weston FORUM editor and "About Town" - not being videotaped either, I assumed - or maybe it was?   It should have been, in retrospect - because it was an excellent meeting and there should be a record for review...but this was advertised as an early meeting with many more to come in a process that will stretch for years...more "About Town" comment below:



WAS I DREAMING OR DID I HEAR THE POLICE PLANNER PLAN REPRESENTED AS...MY PREFERRED PLAN?




OCT. 25, 2013 GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE:  WE STAY FOR TOWN HALL- POLICE EXPANSION OF TOWN HALL COMPLEX STRUCTURES

WHAT HAPPENED AT OCT. 25, 2013 EARLY MORNING MEETING?
Great stuff!, well run.  Police and safety issues vis a vis communications center and bringing town hall employees back to town hall.



THE PLANS AT THIS STAGE:
Below are photos of unofficial plan - developed prior to costing or even design development phase.  Three choices for new P.D. - all in the Town Hall-Fire Department-Library...access appears key to me right now - but once we get to design development, after the Schools come in with their study in January 2014, these ideas may change.  And they did.

First step, access and parking for each of the three alternatives.  Very different ideas - no change to shared parking in two, access from Weston Road addded for two, new P.D. building and separate parking an access only for P.D. emergencies for the third.  JMO.


Pictures of the meeting below, too.









June 25, 2013: Special Town Meeting 48 Norfield Rd
Says "yes" but at a lower price than agreed to...no deal, as it turned out.

What happened Friday June 21, 2013 at 10:30am, Global Facilities Committee at Town Hall Meeting Room.  Finance Board on speakerphone - our notes:  Regarding 48 Norfield Road, the Global Facilities Committee met Friday at 10:30am in the Town Hall Meeting Room and heard some strong support for purchasing the property and then engaging in a community-wide planning study of what to do in the central part of town, similar to what Simsbury did some years ago.  Agenda notes below:

GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE AGENDA ONLINE
FRIDAY JUNE 21, 2013 10:30 AM - before noon.
TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
1.  Discussion/decision regarding the potential uses of 48 Norfield Road - no voting.
2.  Discussion/decision regarding Town owned land - preliminary map displayed without legend - colors meant nother, or so it was reported.  Altho' the Fromson-Strassler property was significantly different.
3.  Discussion/decision regarding school and town facilities - part of first discussion









"NEXT MEETING" WAS TO BE IN LATE JUNE AFTER DECISION ABOUT 48 NORFIELD ROAD IS MADE...NOPE, THERE WAS A MEETING ON FRIDAY BEFORE THE SPECIAL TOWN MEETING!
Our impression, while initially positive, takes note that there was a threat to open space the Town owns if it is not permanently preserved.  "Landbanked" purchases such as Moore Property has town hall investigating the legal standing of "passive open space" conditions.  The map of town land shown at the meeting is very preliminary and not at all accurate - taking the "map block and lot" number of "town" property and putting it on a 1"=600' scale blank map with no legend explaining why Fromson Strassler was a different color and style from all the others...of course, that is because the sale to the Town came after the owner lost an affordable housing claim for the property in court.  The Special Town Meeting that purchased the F-S and the Moore Property required a standing count for Fromson Strassler, while, if memory serves, it was a "voice vote" for Maurice Moore.

GLOBAL FACILITIES' first open meeting Monday June 10, 2013 at 7:45am, Town Hall Meeting Room
What should the goals now be?  What's on the table?  What are some of the variables?
At this point there was a discussion of properties owned by the town of Weston that they might sell - Jarvis, Davis Hill open space, Lachat, Keene Park, Morehouse.Farm Park, Fromson Strassler. 

A discussion of affordable housing came up briefly. 

Strong opinions were voices regarding:  no more new buildings, move the bus garage.  Need for coordination of consultants' work mentioned. Concentrate on new revenue sources, bearing in mind that Weston will not be getting any larger - keep budgets and new projects in check. 

Also, an addition to historic building (48 Norfield) might do the trick if the drainage issue can be resolved.

Weston Library is independent of the Town - should part of the Library be considered for any future town use?



AN OPINION FROM ABOUT WESTON:  NOT OPEN GOVERNMENT.  After a Board of Selectmen's meeting, 2 Selectmen left, others who later participated in "Global Facilities" remained - it was hard to tell whether this was a Tri-Board meeting with invited guests - and About Weston was told to leave because it was not a public meeting since no majority of a Board (or Commission) was present.  Thus the door was shut (below).




GLOBAL FACILITIES COMMITTEE FORMED LATER IN 2013.  NOW HAVING OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS.
First open meeting was Monday morning June 10, 2013 at 7:45AM in Town Hall Meeting Room below - follow their efforts in full here, reverse chronological order.





 


Remember this N.Y.TIMES article?  CT has been romancing this concept, as far as our history with it goes, for twenty-two years (22). 
Hartford Courant Editorial in full: 
http://www.courant.com/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-moving-toward-regionalism-20150213-story.html





EMS PART OF FIRE DEPARTMENT HERE IN WESTON
Weston has a volunteer fire department, with two firehouses - Norfield and Lyons Plain (not shown).
  
Fire departments agree: We need more volunteers
By Greg Smith, Day Staff Writer
Article published Jul 27, 2014

The diminishing number of volunteers in the fire service over the past few decades has local departments continually looking for creative ways not only to attract, but to retain their members.

The Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association, in conjunction with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, is using a $1.2 million federal grant this year to tackle the problem. Over the coming weeks, the groups plan to develop applications and distribute funds to 15 departments with the greatest need for volunteers.

Fire Chief Association President Robert Shea, chief of the Portland Fire Department, said along with marketing campaigns, mentoring programs and leadership training, a key factor in the retention of firefighters is support for the municipalities they serve.

The municipalities can provide the key incentives, he said, in the form of tax abatements, pensions or pay-per-call stipends. Leadership is also another major factor, he said.
The more robust the volunteer service, he said, the lower the cost to the towns.

"Recruitment is one thing, but to keep a volunteer today is different because of time commitments in their everyday life. That trickles back to cities and towns," he said. "What are they going to do to keep them?"

"Each town has their own unique challenges, some are geographical," Morrissette said. "For those rural communities … a town of 3,000 people just doesn't have the populace to draw from..."

In towns where a volunteer department is also the emergency medical service provider, volunteers are stressed because the vast majority of calls are EMS related, he said.

As to a solution to the problem, Morrissette said, "I don't think there is any silver bullet per se."

Towns have responded in a number of ways. Mutual aid agreements have evolved to include automatic responses from neighboring towns to assure proper manpower. It's common to see East Lyme's Niantic and Flanders departments respond to the same call regardless of the district.

Many towns have hired paid staff to cover the times when volunteers are least available. Montville, Waterford and East Lyme are among towns staffing multiple fire departments and fire houses with paid staff.  Additionally, Waterford has hired a fire administrator to help cope with the increasingly taxing job of managing things like budgets and training schedules.

Some departments, like Old Mystic, which is funded in part through a fire district tax, offer multiple incentives. Old Mystic Fire Chief Kenneth Richards Jr. said the department employs stipends and pay-per-call incentives that are based on qualifications.

"You really have to make it attractive to volunteers with their busy lifestyles," Richards said. "You also have to have well-thought-out training. The little bit of time they have, you have to make it worthwhile. The busier the department, the lesser the problem..."


*Link to New London County chart of which Fire Departments are volunteer and which are paid.  Please search the New London DAY archives for the remainder of this story.




Soccer teams test NFA field's new lights

By Claire Bessette, Day Staff Writer
Article published Aug 30, 2014

Norwich - High school boys' soccer teams from Ledyard, Griswold and Norwich Free Academy were the first to play games under the newly installed permanent lights at the NFA athletic field Thursday evening.
NFA Athletic Director Gary Makowicki said the three teams played a series of half-game pre-season scrimmages Thursday evening after Musco Sports Lighting of Iowa tested the new lights the previous evening.

"Everyone who was there last night was impressed with how well the field was lit," Makowicki said Friday...

Please search the New London DAY archives for the remainder of this story.