News – Be Informed

Welcome.

The New Fairfield Democratic Town Committee wants to help keep you informed of significant town events and news from our elected officials.

Our Town runs because people volunteer their time for these Boards and Commissions and we welcome your participation.

2023

This is another important year for all of us, with the budget referendum coming this spring, and a state election later this year.  We will provide you information on these and other events, as well as information on Board and Commission vacancies here.

Also stay informed by looking at important Letters to the Editor.


A VIEW FROM TOWN HALL

By Pat Del Monaco, First Selectman, Town of New Fairfield 22 Pat 3 by 4 about

As published in the Town Tribune, Section 1, February 2, 2023, PAGE 2

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SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS

The Economic Development Commission has finalized the application and review process for the Small Business Assistance Program approved at referendum for ARPA funding.  I have included information about the program provided by the EDC below.  We expect the application to become active online on or about February 1.  When active, the application will be accessible by going to the Town website, www.newfairfield.org and clicking on the banner at the top of the home page.

The New Fairfield ARPA Small Business Assistance Program was established to provide limited, one-time direct financial assistance to eligible New Fairfield small businesses that employ 25 or fewer employees and that have been adversely impacted by the COVID pandemic.  The Program is funded through American Rescue Plan Act funds and is administered by the Town of New Fairfield. Grants are intended to aid eligible New Fairfield businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and have a need for funding that will help them become stronger in the current marketplace.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

  • To be eligible for assistance under this program, applicant must be a New Fairfield based business that is physically located and registered within the Town of New Fairfield and employs twenty-five or fewer employees as of January 1,
  • The business must currently be in and have been in operation as of January 1, 2019.
  • Applicant must be in good standing and current on its federal, state and local tax obligations and have no outstanding liens or judgements.
  • Applicant must be compliant with the Connecticut Department of Labor Office of Unemployment Assistance and all applicable state and federal employment laws and regulations, including but not limited to minimum wage, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and child
  • The business must be able to demonstrate satisfactorily that it has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and that the funding will enable the business to continue to operate and become stronger. The business must present a reasonable likelihood for long term viability.
  • The business must have a clear and specific use for the grant money and the grant money can only be used toward future
  • Applicant must self-certify the eligibility requirements on the application.

HOW MUCH CAN I APPLY FOR?

Eligible business may apply for grants of up to $5000. Funding is limited and it is anticipated that requests for assistance will be greater than funding on hand. Not all businesses approved for participation will receive the maximum amount. The amount will be based upon the documented need of the business and available resources.

Business must demonstrate economic hardship and demonstrate that the operating funds are necessary and sufficient, when combined with any other sources, to sustain the business.

WHAT IS THE APPROVAL PROCESS?

All applicants will be reviewed by a sub-committee of the New Fairfield Economic Development Commission, an authorized development agency of the Town of New Fairfield. Their recommendations will be forwarded to the Board of Selectmen for final approval. Program staff will make every effort to ensure timely review of all applications received.

In addition to program requirements, award will be based on several factors including: the continued viability of the business enterprise, the degree to which the business has been impacted by the pandemic and proposed use of the funds. Some examples of use of funds include, but are not limited to :  payroll costs,  mortgage interest, rent, utilities, operational expenses, worker protection expenditures, costs associated with health protection measures, workforce training and recruitment, marketing costs.

The Sub-Committee will also consider to the extent to which the business has received other assistance to date and its access to other funding sources. Upon approval, a formal agreement between the assisted business and the Town of New Fairfield will be executed.  We look forward to working with you!


A SELECTMAN’S VIEW

By Khris Hall, Selectman, Town of New Fairfield22 Khris 3 by 4 about

As published in the Town Tribune, Section 1, January 19, 2023, PAGE 3

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GOT FUEL OIL?  You may have expensive issues you haven’t thought about.

When I moved into my current home 25 years ago, one of the first things I did was take the fuel oil tank out of the ground and install one in a covered area next to my home.  It wasn’t inexpensive to do so, but as a former environmental manager, I was aware of damage the Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (the inaptly named LUSTs) could do to the environment and the potential liability if a leak went undetected for a while.  I thought I had solved the problem of potential damage and liability.

Turns out I didn’t, as the recent experience of three New Fairfield fuel oil users demonstrate.

All three users have above ground tanks that leaked and caused damage that had to be cleaned up — and some of them face potential fines.

The first tank owner had an above ground outdoor tank that had a leak that went undetected for some time contaminating soil on a property close to Candlewood Lake.  The leak was only discovered because the tank emptied.  The area had to be dug up to a fair depth with new soil placed and monitoring.  In this case, all contamination was properly disposed of, but the cost of the remediation was in the six figures.  A new double-walled state of the art outside tank was installed.

The second fuel oil tank incident involved a tank in the basement that had been in place for a number of years.  The owner noticed a small leak, tapped on the side of the tank, and it ruptured, spilling oil into the basement.  The owner cleaned up the oil from the basement, got it outside, and put it on his driveway.  The property is close to and uphill from Putnam Lake.  Nature took its course and their oil was detected in a settling pond that feeds into Putnam Lake.  Besides the cost of cleanup, the owner is facing fines for improper disposal of a regulated substance.

The third fuel oil tank incident involves an organization.  Fuel oil was detected in a room next to the storage area with the above ground tank.  The people involved cleaned up the oil residue and put it in a dumpster, where it was hauled away by the waste disposal company without any extra precautions.  When the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was called a few days later, the DEEP investigator noted the potential of a $3000 fine for late notification of the spill and another potential fine of $5500 for improper disposal.  The leaked oil entered the septic system and penetrated walls, making for a potentially costly cleanup.

There are several takeaways from these incidents.  The first is that you should call DEEP the moment you discover a leak. Do not wait to try to figure it out yourself.  Try to contain the spill, but do not attempt to clean it up yourself.  Contact information for DEEP’s Emergency Response Unit, 860-424-3338 or toll free 1-866-DEP-SPIL (1-866-337-7745), 24 hours/day. Should these numbers become unavailable for any reason, call 860-424-3333.

Additionally, if your tank is over 15 years old, regardless of whether it is inside or outside, it – and the connections to the boiler or furnace — should be looked at on a regular basis by a professional.  It may need to be replaced.  The life expectancy of a fuel oil tank is 15-20 years, although some last longer with proper maintenance.  Outdoor tanks are especially vulnerable.  Some regulators recommend that tanks be replaced if they are over 15 years old.  Newer double-walled tanks likely last longer.

Lastly, I have heard that there is fairly inexpensive insurance that covers oil tank leaks.  It may be useful to look into that as well.

Fuel oil spills are serious.  They threaten groundwater, drinking water, recreational resources, and wildlife.  They are costly in terms of cleanup and fines.  With Connecticut and a good part of New England relying on fuel oil for winter heating, it behooves all of us to do what we can to prevent spills.


A VIEW FROM TOWN HALL

By Pat Del Monaco, First Selectman, Town of New Fairfield 22 Pat 3 by 4 about

As published in the Town Tribune, Section 1, January 19, 2023, PAGE 2

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SEASONAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

New Fairfield Parks and Recreation is hiring for Summer 2023!

Lifeguards Wanted! Are you interested in working at the Town Park/beach this summer and currently hold a Lifeguard with waterfront Skills certification? We are looking for lifeguards to join our team at the town beach!  If you are 16 years or older and interested in training for a lifeguard position- please contact the Parks and Rec office at 203-312-5633 for more information.

Outdoor Movie Technicians Wanted! Are you interested in running outdoor movies this summer? We are looking for a technical coordinator and assistants to show outdoor community movies- please call Parks and Rec for more information.

Camp Counselors Wanted! Are you interested in becoming a camp counselor this summer? If you are 16 years or older at the time camp begins and enjoy working with children — you are eligible to apply!

ALL APPLICATIONS are on-line through January 27th. Please visit www.newfairfield.org , Municipal Departments, Human Resources, Employment Opportunities to apply.

DEEP is also currently recruiting Seasonal EnCon Rangers to work at Squantz Pond State Park and the Squantz Cove Boat Launch. The job posting can be found at CT.gov by searching forRecruitment #221028-3491VR-001. Applicants must be 21+ and pass an extensive training program.

BUDGET PROCESS

The 2023-2024 municipal budget process has begun. On January 9, The BOS began a series of seven public budget workshops that will continue over the course of the next two weeks. The Board will use these workshops to gather information, discuss department requests and compile the municipal budget.  Department Heads use prior years’ experience, professional knowledge and upcoming projects to estimate funding required for their department in the next year.

The municipal budget determines how the town distributes tax dollars to fund the services provided to residents. Services such as the police department, fire department, emergency medical response, road repair and paving, maintenance of town buildings and parks, social services, senior center programs and the public library are funded by the municipal budget. The budget also provides funding for regional services such as HART Transit and the Candlewood Lake Authority.

On Saturday, March 4, the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Education will present the municipal and education budgets for the 2023-2024 fiscal year to the Board of Finance. The Board of Finance will then, over the following month, hold weekly meetings to discuss, ask questions, adjust and ultimately approve a budget to send to the taxpayers for approval.  I will provide updates as the process progresses.

BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES

As mentioned in my column last week, there are currently vacancies on the Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Economic Development Commission, Ball Pond Advisory Committee, Commission on the Aging and Wetlands Commission.  Boards and Commissions play a critical role in our Town Meeting form of government, and each is staffed by residents who volunteer their time. While some Boards and Commissions are elected, most have members who are appointed by the Board of Selectmen. Some elected Boards also have vacancies to be temporarily filled by the Board of Selectmen. If you are interested in serving on any of the Boards that currently have vacancies, please send a letter of interest and resume to the Selectmen’s Office at jgreen@newfairfield.org


A VIEW FROM TOWN HALL

By Pat Del Monaco, First Selectman, Town of New Fairfield 22 Pat 3 by 4 about

As published in the Town Tribune, Section 1, January 12, 2023, PAGE 2

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GRANT FUNDING

Happy New Year –   I wish you all health and happiness in 2023!  As we begin the New Year, I’m pleased to announce that New Fairfield has received two grants benefiting our police, fire and communications departments.  New Fairfield has been awarded a $2.1 million Congressionally Directed Spending Grant through Congresswoman Jahana Hayes to update our aging Emergency Radio Communications System.  This funding will allow New Fairfield to upgrade its emergency communications infrastructure to current standards, including 3 radio antenna sites, 116 portable radios, and 72 mobile radios.  Our project is one of 15 community projects sponsored by Congresswoman Hayes, and I offer many thanks to her and to her staff for including this project in the federal appropriations bill.   I would also like to thank our Communications Advisory Committee for their technical assistance, and I look forward to working with them to complete this project.   The New Fairfield Community Foundation has also awarded the Town a $250,000 grant toward the purchase of a dispatch console to replace our existing console which has reached end of life.   Many thanks to Dana Welles and the New Fairfield Community Foundation for their efforts to secure this grant supporting Public Safety in New Fairfield.

BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES

There are currently vacancies on the Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Economic Development Commission, Ball Pond Advisory Committee, Commission on the Aging and Wetlands Commission.  Boards and Commissions play a critical role in our Town Meeting form of government, and each is staffed by residents who volunteer their time.  While some Boards and Commissions are elected, most have members who are appointed by the Board of Selectmen.  Some elected Boards also have vacancies to be temporarily filled by the Board of Selectmen.  If you are interested in serving on any of the Boards that currently have vacancies, please send a letter of interest and resume to the Selectmen’s Office at jgreen@newfairfield.org  A brief summary of the roles of the Boards and Commissions seeking members follows.

The Zoning Commission is responsible for regulating the use of land and buildings under the municipality’s zoning regulations. If designated by the regulations, they also issue special permits and exceptions.

The Zoning Board of Appeals The ZBA’s primary mission is to consider and, when justified, grant relief from zoning regulations to properties burdened by a hardship. The Board also hears appeals of orders issued by the Zoning Enforcement Officer.

The Ball Pond Advisory Committee closely monitors the water quality and living community comprising Ball Pond, applying best lake management practices, and encouraging stewardship by the lake community to ensure the health of the lake for current and future generations, as well as for the wildlife that relies upon it.

The mission of the New Fairfield Economic Development Commission is to attract, promote, retain and engage business in the town while keeping in line with the town’s historic character, small town charm, quality of life and environment.  The Commission will gather information from local business owners, commercial property owners, residents and developers with the goal of making recommendations and actionable plans for the Board of Selectmen.

The Commission on the Aging considers the conditions and needs of elderly persons in the Community in relation to housing, economic, employment, health, recreational, and other matters. It shall analyze the services for the aged provided by the Community, both public and private agencies, and shall make recommendations to the Chief Executive and the “Municipal Governing Body” regarding the development and integration of public and private agencies, in cooperation with State and other services to the extent possible.

The New Fairfield Inland Wetlands/Conservation Commission is charged with protecting and preserving wetlands and watercourses in the Town of New Fairfield from random, unnecessary, undesirable and unregulated uses, disturbance or destruction. The primary purpose of this Commission is to minimize disturbances and maintain and improve water quality.

More information about New Fairfield Boards and Commissions can be found on the Town website under the “Our Town” tab.

WINTER PROGRAMS

The holidays are over, the weather is gloomy – are you looking for something fun to do?  The Parks and Rec Department, New Fairfield Library and New Fairfield Senior Center have fun programs and activities for all ages!

Be sure to check the Park and Rec website and Facebook page for new up- coming programs! Snowman Winter Crafts, Golf Quest Juniors and Code Wiz Virtual Classes are among the after-school programs offered this month. For adults, check out the Tai Chi and Yoga programs.  Follow New Fairfield Parks and Recreation CT on Facebook for details, visit  parksandrec.newfairfield.org or call 203-312-5633.

January is the perfect time to get involved at the New Fairfield Senior Center! This month’s activities include Yoga, Stitch by Stitch Quilting, Zumba, Mah Jongg, Bodies in Motion, Piano Lessons, French and Spanish classes, Drawing, Tai Chi, Cards n Games and many more! For more details visit the Senior Center or the website at www.newfairfieldseniorcenter.com.

Check out the January programs in the Adult Library! Check out the “Art of Murder” Murder Board Mystery:  Part One will be held from January 9 through February 4.  A 750-piece murder board puzzle will be available in the library for anyone to stop in and help to complete. Every time you come in to work on the puzzle, you will be entered to win a $25 restaurant gift card! Open to adults, no registration required.   Part Two will be held on February 4 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM. All registered detectives will gather at the “crime scene” to use the completed puzzle and other evidence to solve our murder mystery. All detectives will be entered to win a $25 restaurant gift card, to be drawn at the conclusion of our investigation! There are also Virtual Author Talks, Craft and Chat and Adult Book Club to keep you busy!

The Children’s Library will be offering Storytimes, Crafts, Toe-Tapping Tots and Music.  (Just a reminder – the library will be closed on January 16 in observation of MLK Day.)  Details can be found on the website at newfairfield.org


Stay tuned for more information on other New Fairfield events.

Copyright © 2023 New Fairfield Democratic Town Committee.  All rights reserved.

Paid for by New Fairfield Democratic Town Committee – John McCartney, Treasurer