First Selectman's Column from March 2023
Spring, and warmer weather is just around the corner! With that comes another baseball season in Woodbridge. “Opening Day” is scheduled for Saturday April 29th. Many thanks to the Beth-Wood Baseball League and its president Dwight Rowland for another generous donation this year to offset expenditures by the Parks Department. The $3,000 donation will assist the Town’s efforts to perform miscellaneous safety improvements at our Town ballfields, cover certain expenses for overtime incurred by the Parks Department employees related to use of the fields, and cover the additional costs of portable restrooms during baseball tournaments.
The month of March is National Disabilities Awareness month, a wonderful opportunity to remind residents that our website at www.woodbridgect.org aims to be user friendly with assistive technology and compatibility with many screen readers. Please contact Karen Crosby, Assistant Administrative Officer, at email@example.com with any accessibility issues related to the Town’s website. As you know, our website is an invaluable tool for any Town information you might need.
This past month the Board of Selectmen finalized its proposed operating and capital budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2024 and sent them to the Board of Finance. The Board of Finance has met once and will meet again on March 16 to prepare the budget proposal for the Preliminary Budget Hearing. Budget meetings may be watched live on Channel 79, and the WGATV YouTube page - please see the homepage of the Town’s website.
The best way for residents to share their thoughts and/or make suggestions on the proposed budget is to attend the Monday, April 24 Preliminary Budget Hearing when the Board of Finance will present its proposed spending plan. This meeting will take place at 7:30 pm at the Amity High School Auditorium. Following this hearing the Board of Finance may make changes to its proposed budget which will then be presented at the Annual Town Meeting on May 15 at the Amity High School Auditorium at 7:30 pm. I continue to stress the importance of resident involvement in our budget process – please make every effort to be informed and participate. We need your voice!
At its February meeting, the Board of Selectmen approved the updated Strategic Plan document as presented by Selectmen McCreven and Vogel. This plan has identified priorities among the most important and pressing issues facing the Town of Woodbridge. You may view the plan in its entirety at the Town’s website. The federal ARPA monies, distributed nationally as part of the American Rescue Plan Act “Build Back Better” funds, were also proposed for use in four important areas which have been identified. Woodbridge has received close to $2.6 million, and there are specific guidelines in which they may be used. The Board of Selectmen voted to distribute $1,314, 568 to our Business District revitalization, $334,000 toward renovation of the former Firehouse, $333,000 toward improvements at the Center Grove, and $333,000 to complete renovation of the Center Gymnasium (including HVAC improvements for this most important indoor town meeting/gathering space). Additionally, last spring $275,000 was provided for the Senior Center HVAC renovation.
At our February Board of Selectmen meeting, I appointed a small subcommittee to interview potential planner/consultant candidates, one of whom will be chosen to assist the full Board in developing an RFP (Request for Proposal) for the former Country Club of Woodbridge (CCW) property. This committee will consist of Selectmen Paul Kuriakose and David Vogel, myself, and Administrative Officer/ Director of Finance Tony Genovese.
I am pleased to share with you that a 55+ housing proposal has been approved by both the Town Plan and Zoning Commission and the Inland Wetlands Agency. This project, located at Litchfield Turnpike and Bradley Road, will move forward with construction set to begin this month. The design features attached townhouses with 2-3 bedrooms set on private roads with a community center and pool on the premises. Toll Brothers estimates construction will be completed in 3 years. This development will grow our Grand List, but not add to the enrollment of our schools.
The Ad Hoc 2030 Task Force continues to work on taking a big picture look at the changes the town should consider for diversifying and broadening our Grand List. The bipartisan Task Force, with co-chairs Chris Dickerson and Susan Jacobs, has previously concentrated on connectivity in the business district to maximize potential grant dollars to offset expenditures. The Board of Selectmen moved ahead at the February 8 Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting, unanimously accepting the Ad Hoc Committee's recommendations, and authorizing our Administrative Officer/ Director of Finance Tony Genovese to seek State and Federal grants. Federal grants may be available through President Biden's bipartisan Build Back Better Infrastructure Program. The Task Force will present strategies on placemaking and other ideas for the Business District at the April 12th Board of Selectmen meeting.
Our Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance have unanimously approved the request for replacement of pool filters and associated equipment as well as the transfer of current Recreation Department funds to cover this cost. I continue to believe that the Beecher Road School pool is an asset to our community. It provides a vast range of programs for development of community swimmers - a vital life skill for our children - including the “Learn to Swim” programming through the school and lessons through the Recreation Department. These programs also act as a feeder system for the Amity High School Swim Team and the Woodbridge Aquatic Club. The pool provides a recreational outlet and opportunity for the continued health and well-being for all community members.
Finally, I am delighted to let you know that our wonderful Town Library staff has stepped up to coordinate Town-wide events such as Earth Day 2024, Woodbridge Like Me Day, and this year’s Rid Litter Day to be held on Saturday, April 22. As we have had several staff changes over the past few months, we have taken the opportunity to examine resources and reallocate department assignments related to Town events.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 203-389-3401.
This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.