First Selectman's Report - June 14, 2024

Congratulations to the Bacon Academy Class of 2024
Bacon Academy Graduation Ceremony Invite - June 14, 2024

$1.1 Million Grant for Norton Park Announced

Today, Governor Ned Lamont announced that the Town of Colchester will receive $1,125,700 from the CT Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to be utilized for environmental remediation of the former Norton Paper Mill located at 139 Westchester Road.

The Board of Selectmen endorsed the Round 19 Municipal Brownfield Grant application in February of this year, which was prepared and submitted by former Town employee and current Norton Park consultant Jay Gigliotti.

Norton Park to Receive $1.1 Million Grant - June 2024

This CT DECD grant adds to the $500,000 CT DEEP Urban Act Grant and $250,000 CT DEEP CERCLA 128(a) Grant that were awarded in October of 2023 and February of 2024, respectively, bringing the total of funding secured for the project to $1,875,700 in the past 8 months.

As Town officials continue to work with our consulting Environmental Engineers to finalize specifications for the cleanup effort, this significant investment is expected to allow the Town to complete the full scope of the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) and move forward with redevelopment of the Norton Park – Phase 2 project area, southerly of Paper Mill Road.

Construction of the Norton Park – Phase 1 project area, northerly of Paper Mill Road, is expected to begin later this year.


Budgets Approved

Referendum Results

On Tuesday, Colchester voters approved both the Town/Board of Selectmen and Schools/Board of Education budgets at referendum.

Town Budget Results:

Yes: 1298 / No: 952

School Budget Results:

Yes: 1179 / No: 1066

 

The new Town budget will restore stability to Colchester’s operating budget which has been under a soft freeze since shortly after I took office. As part of our efforts to clean-up the Finance Department, we identified numerous areas where funding fell short of the financial obligations of the Town, including shortfalls of hundreds of thousands of dollars for public safety departments like Colchester Fire/EMS and Colchester Police. Efforts to mitigate these spending challenges have impacted the ability to deliver programming for Youth Services, to purchase books and materials at Cragin Library, to fill vacant positions in departments like Parks and Recreation, and delayed maintenance for Public Works equipment.

The voter-adopted budget will put us back on solid footing with a budget that is both stable and transparent.

It will also allow us to meet the recommendations developed through the Field Sustainability Study for improved maintenance of fields at the Recreation Complex. This will include more regular seeding, top-dressing, etc and additional seasonal grounds workers to perform this maintenance work including mowing.

The budgets go into effect on July 1st.

I want to thank everyone who participated in this year’s budget process, from residents who spoke up at meetings and cast their ballots on Tuesday to the elected officials on the Boards of Finance, Education, and Selectmen. Colchester has seen its share of tumultuous budget years, but this year’s tone was markedly improved. There will always be disagreements and different philosophies about how to approach the challenges we face as a community, but we are more successful when we work together toward our common goals.


Juneteenth

Town Buildings Closed June 19, 2024

Reminder, all Town Buildings will be closed Wednesday, June 19 in observation of Juneteenth!


Concession Stand Lease Out-to-Bid

The Town of Colchester is seeking vendors interested in leasing the Recreation Complex concession stand, starting mid-July with an option to renew for the 2025 sports season. Interested bidders can view the RFP by clicking here:

https://www.colchesterct.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif4286/f/uploads/2024_rfp...

 

Bids are due July 9, 2024.


SplashPad Open Now!

The Colchester SplashPad opened today - a few days ahead of schedule!

Have fun and enjoy the summer with Colchester Parks & Recreation!

SplashPad Is Now Open - June 14, 2024


LGBT Pride Month Community Conversation at Cragin

On Saturday, June 22, Cragin Library will be hosting a community conversation on LGBT Pride Month. Join us with your neighbors and peers for a community chat all about Pride. I’ll be there to share my own experience and hear from residents like you! Share stories, ask questions and learn something new!

Event starts at 10:30 AM in Norton Room A. No registration required.


Bacon Graduation

Congratulations to the Bacon Academy Class of 2024 which graduates tonight! On behalf of the Town of Colchester (and as a Bacon alum myself), I want to wish our Bacon grads many years of happiness and success as they begin their new journeys.

Due to the weather, tonight’s ceremony will be held indoors. The ceremony begins at 5:30 PM. A livestream can be viewed here:

https://www.youtube.com/live/UAtYJ6PaLqw

Bacon Academy Graduation Class of 2024


Sincerely,

Bernie Dennler

First Selectman

Town of Colchester