To the editor,
After a long wait that seemed like it would take forever, spring seems to have finally broken out. I think we’ve all earned some warm, sunny days after one of the tougher winters we’ve had to get through.
One sure sign of spring is the arrival of opening day for our youth baseball and softball leagues. I had the pleasure of participating in the ceremony marking the start of the season last Saturday. There are so many individuals to thank for their efforts, but I’d especially like to recognize league President Bob Bulinski, outgoing and incoming Parks and Recreation Chairman Joe Rodorigo and Steve Ruhl, and Steve Moffat and Mike Classey who handle the parks department from public works. The weather was perfect, the fields were immaculate, and everyone had a fantastic time.
On the business side of things, after a detailed and painstaking process, the audit to close the books from fiscal year 2012-13, which concluded at the end of June last year, has finally been accomplished. The report will be available through town hall and will be posted to the website. The audit identified several areas of managerial control that we can, and will, improve upon, but after no impropriety with the town’s funds was discovered, and that’s a comforting place from which to start. We have interviewed several outstanding candidates for our vacant financial manager position, and whoever the new hire is will be an integral part of moving forward to implementing better internal processes for our town.
In addition, we have reached the point in the budget season where the Board of Finance has passed a budget for presentation to the public. The public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29, tentatively to be held at the Laurel Ledge gymnasium. Please check for updates in the local newspapers, the town website or my twitter feed for updates. We worked very hard to review all department inputs, to find savings where possible and include several necessary capital projects. The result is a budget with a modest increase of less than 1 percent from last year, and Board of Finance Chairman Joe Dowdell is looking forward to presenting it to everyone for your input and comments.
Also, winter had a devastating effect on much of the town’s infrastructure, especially the roads and the parking lot here at Town Hall. We are looking to leverage several of the sources of funding available from the state, such as the Small Town Economic Advancement Program (STEAP) and Local Capital Improvement Program (LoCIP). Neither program provides a huge sum of grant money, but they should provide enough to fix the parking lot and two small but disintegrating streets — Highland Avenue Extension and Beacon Street, which were judged by the town engineer and myself to be the most needy while being able to fit within the funding limitations. I’ll keep you posted as the approval process develops.
Lastly, if you have not seen it on the town’s website or my Twitter feed yet, the transfer station will be open on Saturday, April 26, from 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and yard brush can be dropped off at the town garage on Fridays until 3 p.m. For those on spring break this week, enjoy and everyone be safe.
Christopher J. Bielik
(Editor’s note: This letter is the April Beacon Falls First Selectman’s letter, which appears on the town’s website.)