10, 9, 8…
The Nov. 20 Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting marked 10 days before First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice‘s final day serving in Wilton’s highest office.
Wilton now has a town administrator, Matt Knickerbocker, to smooth the transition to a new first selectman. The position was created, in part, with a goal to help ensure continuity of government during a change in leadership.
“A big benefit [of] bringing Matt in is you have somebody here for the transition,” Vanderslice said.
Status of Ongoing Projects
Vanderslice provided a long list of active projects and initiatives in various stages of completion that will soon be handed off to her successor, Toni Boucher.
The projects include:
- Resolution of a residential blight case and the implementation of a new commercial blight ordinance about to take effect
- The installation of the Merwin Meadows playground in the spring
- A possible new lease with the State for Allen’s Meadow
- A possible change to the Town’s liquor ordinance
- Construction of the new police headquarters
- And many others, impacting numerous locations (like Schenck’s Island, Town Hall, the Transfer Station and Ambler Farm, just to name a few) and issues such as affordable housing, litigation, commission appointments and more.
Perhaps the most significant work that will extend beyond Vanderslice’s tenure will pertain to the needs assessment currently underway for Wilton’s school buildings and municipal buildings.
Vanderslice informed the board in early October that a draft report from the school buildings assessment had put the total cost of building repairs and upgrades at roughly $100 million over the next 10 years.
A tri-board (BOS, Board of Education and Board of Finance) meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 27 when more specific details and greater context for the costs will be provided. (The meeting will be open to the public, in person and via Zoom. Details can be found on the calendar of the Town website.)
Focus on Athletic Fields
Athletic fields were also a theme in the BOS’ ongoing projects.
The board had recently agreed to proceed with a plan for lighting Guy Whitten Field with the intention of also providing irrigation and restoration work at the field. At the Nov. 20 meeting, the BOS voted unanimously to allocate roughly $180,000 from FY2023 budget savings within the Infrastructure Fund to pay for the irrigation and restoration.
The board also discussed potential revisions to its policy for banner sales and memo of understanding with the Wilton Athletic and Recreation Foundation (WARF) for banner sales at Wilton High School fields.
Potential changes could include expanding locations for the banners to additional fields (currently at the stadium and Kristine Lilly Field) and allowing the funds to be used for mutually agreed-upon priorities, not just turf fields.
Draft documents posted on the Town website are expected to be revised for greater clarity before the selectmen take action.
More BOS News
- Council on Ethics appointment: The BOS discussed a possible appointment of Warren Serenbetz to the Council, to fill a vacant position and add the only Republican member on the council. No action was taken. GMW will report on the discussion in a separate story.
- On Board management software for Town boards and commissions: Sarah Gioffre demonstrated the Town’s new management software for boards and commissions. The software, which could be online as soon as Dec. 1, allows residents and town political committees to easily access board/commission membership information and download reports. The public-facing portal will eventually allow residents to easily apply for open board/commission spots.
- Pumper engine contract: The selectmen reconsidered a previous decision to move forward with a vendor for a fire engine purchase, after learning of a new clause added to the proposed contract by the vendor which would make the Town responsible for certain manufacturing cost increases that could arise. The Board agreed to set aside a contingency of roughly $70,000 and periodically reevaluate the costs over the 25-month timeline for the contract.
- Vanderslice alerted the selectmen to a request from the Wilton Library Association to amend the public-private partnership agreement between the WLA and the Town. The current agreement was last revised in 2013. The topic will be discussed at the Dec. 19 BOS meeting.
- The BOS unanimously approved a grant application for a DUI enforcement program for FY2023-2024. The enforcement activities would include roving patrols and checkpoints.
- Town Administrator Matt Knickerbocker made request to carry over $32,477 in operating capital funds into FY2024 to cover the Information Technology Department’s remaining expenses for the implementation of ClearGov budget software and other software needs. The BOS approved the carry-over.
- The BOS ended two temporary committees: the Fire Station 2 Building Committee, whose work is complete, and the Planning & Zoning Amenities Subcommittee, whose work has been put on hold.