Newsletter Autumn 2011
Ledyard Town Council
During the summer months the Town Council has been actively working to implement the Fiscal Year 2011/2012 budget. This has included keeping a watchful eye on the State budget situation and how it may impact projected revenues.
On June 28, 2011, a Special Town Meeting was held at which the townspeople approved the following capital improvements: (1) To appropriate $325,000 for the Replacement of Bleachers at Ledyard High School and Authorized the Issue of Bonds and Notes In the Same Amount to Finance Said Appropriation; (2) To appropriate $345,000 for the Acquisition and Implementation of Financial Software and Authorized the Issue of Bonds and Notes in the Same Amount to Finance Said Appropriation; and (3) To appropriate $200,000 for the Conversion from Oil to Natural Gas at Juliet Long School, Gales Ferry School and Ledyard Middle School and Authorized the Issue of Bonds and Notes in the Same Amount to Finance Said Appropriation.
The Town Council in its capacity as the Water Pollution Control Authority has been diligently working to draft a long term Water Operations Agreement with Groton Utilities. In addition, the WPCA has been working with the Town Engineer to calculate benefit assessments for the completed Ledyard Center water main extension projects (Route 117 to Ledyard Center, to Ledyard High School, and as far north on Route 117 as Ledyard Village) using the formula set forth in Ordinance #97 “ An Ordinance Regarding Water Main Extension Benefit Assessments”. A public hearing was held on July 28, 2011, and the average residential assessment for those eligible is $4,700.
When the Town Council took their oath of office in 2009, a number of challenges that were facing our community were identified. At this time we would like to report on the status of our work regarding these important and on-going issues:
Independent Police Department – The Finance Committee conducted a cost comparison between an independent police department and the current arrangement of the Resident State Trooper program. The financial data showed that operating an independent police department would be more costly. However, additional work is required to determine whether the benefits (grant funding, control, etc.) of an independent police department would outweigh the additional costs.
MCM proposal to lease the water tank for cellular antenna - The Town Council’s research found that the contract with MCM would provide the town with 60% of the revenue collected. At this rate, two antennas would provide the town with annual revenue of $45,000. Because the cellular industry is changing and some of the companies are merging, the Town Council agreed to ask the Economic Development Commission to market the water tower on behalf of the town rather than use an outside party to market the water tower for a fee of 40% of the revenues generated. This effort continues.
Committee to Investigate a Town Manager Form of Governmen t – The Committee to Investigate a Town Manager Form of Government was established on March 24, 2010, and will be providing its final report to the Town Council this fall.
Establishing a Pension Board - Ordinance #125 “
An Ordinance Establishing a Pension Board” was adopted on January 19, 2011. Although four members have been appointed to this five member Board ,they have not yet begun their work, as they are continuing to seek a candidate to fill the open seat on the Board. Revisions to Pension Fund Ordinance - The Finance Committee has been working with Pension Attorney Bruce Barth, LRS Financial Consultant Linda Savitsky, and Finance Director Marcia Hancock to update the town’s pension documents. Requests for Proposals for Investment Consultant services and for Actuarial services have been solicited.
Implementation of Charter revisions that were adopted November 2009 – This work was completed with the April 14, 2010 adoption of Ordinance #55 “
An Ordinance Amending an Ordinance to Promote Economic Development in the Town of Ledyard” and with the August 25, 2010 adoption of Ordinance #124 “ Ordinance to Establish a Town of Ledyard Fire Safety and Emergency Medical Services Division. In addition, Mayor Allyn appointed a Public Safety Commission. Tax Abatements - Ordinance #122
“Abatement of Property Taxes on Lands Preserved for Open Space or Public Right of Way Easements” was adopted on April 28, 2010. Ethics Commission – This work was completed. It was determined that, should the need arise, a Commission can be established for the particular case. Ledyard is fortunate that there is not enough work to establish an on-going Ethics Commission.
Improve Communication with residents – The Town applied for and received a $10,010 for a Public Educational & Governmental Programs & Educational Technology (PEGPETIA) Grant to replace the Town and Board of Education’s video cameras, tripods, encoder and related equipment to provide better broadcasting of meetings. This updated technology has enabled the Town Council and the Board of Education to begin streaming live and on-demand its meetings and other events via the internet using the following web portal through IQM2
http://ledyardct.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx Hiking/Biking Trail – This is an on-going effort as there have been some delays with Groton Utilities agreeing to provide public access to the reservoir property.
WPCA Rates – The Town Council in its capacity as the WPCA continued to work to finalize a long term agreement with Groton Utilities for water operation services. Once a contract is finalized it is very possible that the rates will be adjusted to provide a fair and equitable rate, and to also support setting funds aside for the re-capitalization of the system in the future.
Contracting – Including Personnel Services – Assistant Finance Director Sabrina Batty is acting as the Purchasing Agent and the town is working to implement a “Purchase Card” (“P Card”) program through Bank of America. This effort will reduce paperwork and the number of checks issued on a weekly basis through the accounts payable department.
Consolidation of administration functions, including regionalization – The Fiscal Year 2011/2012 budget included the following new positions: (a) Administrator of Human Resources – This position will be shared by the General Government and the Board of Education; (b) Administrator of Emergency Services – This position was established through the 2009 Town Charter revision and will provide administrative oversight of the town’s three emergency services( Ledyard Center Fire Company, Gales Ferry Fire Company and Ledyard Volunteer Emergency Services (Ambulance)). With regard to regionalization, efforts regarding the future of emergency dispatch communication services have continued as there is a financial advantage to regionalize with at least three municipalities. The Town would be eligible to receive a $250K subsidy and more money for moving and updating equipment. However, it should be noted that the Town of Montville is also actively seeking towns to join them in a regional dispatch effort.
Review Town networks and computer systems – The Information Technology Committee reviewed the town’s software and network systems. This work identified the need to have a financial software system that would meet all the needs of the General Government and Board of Education. A new financial software system will be implemented this fall. Also the Town’s Web Page is being updated and residents should find it more user friendly.
Structure of Land Use Departments and space allocations –The LUPPW Committee met with the Mayor to discuss a possible space plan to relocate all the Land Use Departments in one area. In January 2011, the Probate Judge vacated the space in the lower level of the Town Hall and the Planning Department was relocated to that space. The LUPPW Committee also met with Land Use Commissions and determined that combining the Planning Commission and Zoning was not advisable. They also found that a more comprehensive space plan is needed.
Evaluate Blight Ordinance – Completed - After meeting with the Building Inspector and with the Zoning Commission. The LUPPW Commission found that blight issues are already being addressed in existing Town Ordinances. It should be noted that trash left on the curb is addressed in Ordinance # 66 “
Town of Ledyard Waste Management and Recycling Ordinance” that was adopted on November 10, 2010.
Use of Clark Farm – Based on the number of calls and interested parties in the use of 1025 Colonel Ledyard (Clark Farm property), the Land Use Planning Public Works Committee (LUPPW) carefully reviewed the Lease Agreement. Their findings led to the need to evaluate the property to determine how the property should be handled going forward. To begin this process the Town Council agreed to terminate the existing lease, and they requested the Mayor to issue a sixty day termination notification to the Lessor. In addition, performing an A2 survey of the property has been discussed to determine an appropriate future use of the property.
Town Wide Facilities Study – Symmes Maini & McKee Associates
, Inc.(SMMA) provided a report to the Town Council on July 13, 2011. Review Route 117 Frontage – Completed- At a special town meeting that was held on March 10, 2010, the townspeople approved the transfer of 17,604 square feet of land from the Town of Ledyard to David and Kelli Levine and accepted 3,168 square feet of land in proximity to 712 Colonel Ledyard Highway from David and Kelli Levine.
If you are interested in serving on Town Committees, Commissions, or Boards, please access the Town’s Web Page at for a complete list of vacancies and for contact information. http://www.ledyardct.org/index.aspx?NID=97
The Town Council meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Annex. These meetings are televised on the Public Access Channel (Channel 12 on Comcast Cable) on the following Friday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 5:00 p.m.
In closing, as the Twentieth Ledyard Town Council’s term comes to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you and express our appreciation for your support and participation during the past two years. We hope that we have made a positive difference in the quality of your life here in Ledyard. It has been a privilege to serve you.
The election process is your voice in local government, and we encourage you to continue to participate in this important process and to vote on November 8, 2011.
For the Ledyard Town Council,