Re-organization of laws and Membership in Sustainable CT Top Selectman’s Agenda in Deep River
At its March 10 meeting, the Board of Selectman (BOS) discussed a project to re-organize the town’s ordinances, adopted a resolution to join Sustainable CT (a voluntary environmental certification program), and discussed possible modifications to its pension plans.
The project to codify, or re-organize, existing town ordinances is currently underway in the town clerk’s office.
“This is something that almost every other town in the State of Connecticut has done years ago,” said Town Clerk Amy Macmillan Winchell, in an interview with the Courier. “It reorganizes them, weeds out statutes that have been obsolete...[creating] a well-organized, succinct list of our laws.”
As an example, Winchell uses the ordinance for the annual town meeting, which, when the extraneous information is removed, is reduced to one sentence detailing its timing.
“That is all it needs to say,” said Winchell. “The rest of the stuff is confusing.”
She also points to an ordinance about the town’s visiting nurses’ program.
“You read it and at the very bottom it says in small print that it was dissolved in 2010,” said Winchell. “That is the kind of thing that I want to make clear. [Townspeople] need to know what the law is today.”
The project is being funded using two years’ worth of state grants awarded to town clerks for historic preservation. Municode, one of three state-approved codification companies, was hired to complete the undertaking.
Next steps for the project include passing a new ordinance to accept the codification, and then sending the matter to the town meeting, where voters would approve it.
In the meantime, “we are trying to allow plenty of time for people to look at this,” said Winchell. “At first there was a lot of concern…People are realizing this is actually a good thing.”
The reorganized book of town ordinances is available in the Town Clerk’s Office and on the town’s website www.deepriverct.us.
At the meeting, the BOS also unanimously adopted a resolution to become a member of Sustainable CT. The resolution grants First Selectman Angus McDonald authority to officially register the town with the program.
“There are two goals,” said McDonald. “One is efficiency and financial energy savings and the other is grant possibilities.”
By registering, the town earns points toward sustainable certification through completion of different projects across nine environmental and cultural categories. In addition to town initiatives, projects can be community driven.
The town must form an advisory sustainability team within 90 days of adopting the Sustainable CT resolution. This team, or committee, will report to the BOS on a quarterly and annual basis, with documents on its activities made publicly available.
The head of Deep River’s Parks & Recreation, Carol Jones, has been spearheading formation of the committee, according to McDonald.
Although the group is just forming, the town “would love to have some people come out…participate…on this committee,” said McDonald.
The BOS is considering revisions to its pension plans, with several employees asking to work part-time after retiring.
“We haven’t made that decision yet, but they are all 65 and they would like to collect their pension and be able to continue to work part-time,” said McDonald.
The town’s budget for fiscal year 2020 allocates $150,000 in pension plan benefits for town employees.
“The pension service people as well as our pension attorneys have all looked at it and said it’s perfectly legal, but it’s not in our pension plan, so they are working up some language,” said McDonald.
McDonald plans to discuss the matter further once revisions to the town’s pension plans are finalized.