PLAINVILLE â€“ Mondayâ€™s upcoming Town Council meeting will see a return to in-person meetings and a discussion of sewer user rates and Whiting Street improvements.
Town Manager Robert E. Lee said the town council chambers at the Municipal Center have been reconfigured to enable social distancing for the town council and the audience, which will be limited to 10 people.
â€śWeâ€™re trying to follow pandemic guidelines so it wonâ€™t be the normal setup,â€ť Lee said. â€śThe council wonâ€™t all be up front; one council member will sit where I sat, another will sit where the town clerk sat and two will sit at the table in front of the dais. Weâ€™ll be able to accommodate 10 guests who can sit at designated areas six feet apart. They will be required to wear a mask unless they are speaking at the microphone and the mic will be cleaned after each use.â€ť
Lee said the setup will be based on advice from the local health district.
â€śIâ€™m not sure what other towns are doing for in-person meetings, but weâ€™ll give it a try and decide if we want to continue to do it or not,â€ť Lee said. â€śThe Board of Education was able to successfully hold an in-person meeting, but they are in a larger room. Itâ€™s a lot easier to maintain distance in the high school cafeteria.â€ť
Going forward, Town Council meetings will be filmed by Nutmeg TV but they will no longer be offered over Zoom.
â€śOn an average, there were zero people watching other than Bill Petit and town staff,â€ť Lee said. â€śYou sometimes had one or two people watching on YouTube.â€ť
Lee said he did not foresee an issue with the 10 person limit, as pre-covid meetings typically didnâ€™t receive high attendance.
During Mondayâ€™s meeting, Lee will inform the Town Council that Plainville was approved Wednesday for a LOTCIP (Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program) grant through CROG (The Capitol Region Council of Governments) for $2.3 million.
â€śWe applied last year for this money to repave and reconstruct Whiting Street,â€ť Lee said. â€śThe project will focus on Broad Street down to almost Route 10. We plan to do the whole street. The project should happen next summer.â€ť
Lee will also discuss sewer user rates with the council. He hopes to bring the planned increase down to half of the original proposal.
â€śLast year our projections were calling for a 4.5% increase, but due to updated figures we reduced it to a 2% increase last year,â€ť Lee said. â€śThe same 4.5% increase was scheduled for this year, but I will recommend that we donâ€™t have to do as large an increase again. I will present the numbers and recommend that we bring it back to 2% again.â€ť
Lee said if the council approves of his recommendation, a public hearing will likely be scheduled for early October.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.