Vanderslice Declares Local State of Emergency

During Monday evening’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Wilton’s First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice declared a local state of emergency.

By executing a Declaration of Local Civil Preparedness Emergency for the Town of Wilton, Vanderslice can now “exercise those powers, functions and duties prescribed by state law, the Town Charter, and all applicable ordinances, resolutions, special act, and the town Emergency Operations Plan in order to minimize the effects” of the current emergency.

She had been authorized to make such a declaration by an executive order issued earlier by Gov. Ned Lamont.

She made the declaration to the BOS remotely, as the meeting was conducted on speaker phone with each BOS member in separate locations. Vanderslice told GOOD Morning Wilton that the meeting was still considered public as she sat in the hallway near the rear entrance of Town Hall, and members of public were able to stand in the vestibule. (Only town employees or members of the Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) are currently allowed into the buildings because of coronavirus fears.)

[Vanderslice shared a brief clip of Monday afternoon’s EOC meeting, shot before the meeting’s start, below.]

In her nightly update to town residents and employees [ed.’s note:  which is posted on the town website and Facebook, and is sent to the public by e-alert] Vanderslice explained Lamont’s orders and how the town is executing them, as well as making additional recommendations.

  • Meetings:  Lamont’s order gave town officials the authority to postpone budget meetings, including the Annual Town Meeting. During Monday’s BOS meeting, the members voted to postpone scheduled budget meetings, with new dates to be determined.
  • Group gatherings:  Lamont’s order limits gathering to 50 people. Vanderslice said the town is echoing the federal government’s new recommendation made Monday that gatherings not exceed 10 people.
  • Curfew:  The State has not issued a statewide curfew, but Vanderslice says it may become necessary.
  • Emergency Funds:  Under her declaration, Vanderslice is authorized to expend unbudgeted funds in response to the emergency. While she can do so on her own, she did ask BOS members for their authorization; that authorization was granted.
  • Daycare Centers [recommendation]:  Saying a number of residents have asked “about the appropriateness of daycare centers remaining open,” Vanderslice noted the topic was discussed during a call with the Governor, who said many critical medical and emergency services personnel rely on daycare to enable them to work. She wrote that residents are encouraged to work from home and keep their children at home if they are able, in order to limit the number of children in daycare centers.  “Many of you have already done so and we appreciate this service to the greater community,” she wrote.
  • Social Distancing:  She reminded residents to “please continue to be vigilant in keeping yourself away from individuals outside of your immediate family.” She asked people to review restrictions the town has outlined.

Vanderslice noted that Monday was the first day that Town Hall and the Annex were closed to the public, with public business conducted solely through the use of drop off and pick up boxes. She said that there was “a larger than normal volume of activity, yet all went fine.”

In addition, the Transfer Station will remain open, but in order to help protect Transfer Station employees’ health and allow them to maintain a safe distance from residents, effective Tuesday, March 17, and until further notice, the town will no longer collect tickets from residents for disposal at the Transfer Station.