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From the First Selectman: Spring Forth!

Now that Spring is here, our Town is quickly moving forward to wrap up the planning process for next year’s budget.  In addition, some new initiatives are set to bloom.  I’d like to keep you informed and as always, I ask you to continue providing me with your feedback and thoughts on these as well as other matters of concern to you.

Preliminary Budget Hearing

On Monday, April 23rd at 7:30pm, residents will gather in the Center Gymnasium for one of the annual traditions that remind us of our community’s New England founding.  The Preliminary Budget Hearing is the first meeting in a two-step process of approving our Town budget.  The final step will take place on May 21st with our Annual Town Meeting.

To recap the process of establishing the Town budget to date, initial requests from Town departments were made back in January.  This included everything from public safety, to library, human services, public works and our two school districts.  The Board of Selectmen then took out a sharp pencil and made adjustments to these requested amounts in February.  When the Board of Finance met in March, they eliminated an additional amount.

We have also seen a modest growth in our Grand List, mostly due to new Fuel Cell equipment owned by United Illuminating and located on the grounds of Amity Regional High School.  The total growth of our Grand List is projected to be a little over $9 million—a .79 percent increase over the current year’s total.  This will help offset the amount that must be raised in taxes to fund Town government next year.

All residents will receive a notice in the mail regarding the Preliminary Budget Hearing date, time, and location.  Booklets with full detail will also be available both at the meeting and at the Town website.

I believe the process we have followed to establish this Preliminary Budget has been both tough and fair.  As always, we must balance the need to provide vital Town services, which contribute to making Woodbridge the wonderful community we call our home, and the need to be mindful of all taxpayers and respectful of community sentiment when it comes to setting our budget.  I look forward to sharing the details of our Preliminary Budget at the Public Hearing later this month.  I hope to see you at the Center Building Gymnasium that evening – please feel free to stop and say hello before or after the meeting.

Next Steps For The Former Country Club Property

At the April 11th meeting of the Board of Selectmen, we plan to hear the results of the recent Public Opinion Survey on future options for the former Country Club of Woodbridge property.  Then, once we have had time to think about these findings, the Board will meet again on Wednesday, April 25th to discuss and hear public comment.  These two meetings will provide an opportunity for residents to hear the thoughts of our Selectmen, as well as the members of our community.  One thing that is clear already, based on the response rate of the Survey – the public is engaged and interested in this subject!  I am very pleased that we will have an opportunity to take an in-depth look as we consider what to do with this beautiful piece of property.  I will be sure to keep you informed – please visit the Town website at woodbridgeCT.org for further information as it becomes available.

Rid Litter Day

Another wonderful tradition that is springing back to life in April is Rid Litter Day, on Sunday, April 22nd from 9am to noon.  Several community members have volunteered to take the lead in re-invigorating this celebration of Earth Day.  The event will kick-off at the Fitzgerald Tract, where residents may check-in, receive a trash bag, and be assigned a map indicating the roadside areas in need of clean up.  Working in collaboration with the Town’s Public Works Department, we have arranged for pick up once the Rid Litter Day work concludes.  This will be a great way to show how much we all care about our Town – I will be there with my work gloves in hand and I’d like to encourage everyone to join in and take part!  Please visit the Town website for details as we get closer to Earth Day.

Increasing Communication Opportunities

One important goal I set for myself as I took office last July was to do my best to increase communication to residents.  To help keep you informed regarding the issues and initiatives of your Town government, I have begun to send out a monthly update by email, called “News from Town Hall.”  Each month I will recap what takes place at the Board of Selectmen meeting with very brief write-ups and links to further information available at our Town website.  I hope you will take the opportunity to learn more about the topics that interest you – please be sure you are signed up to receive these emails by visiting the Town website today!

Beth Heller is Woodbridge First Selectman.  She may be reached by phone at Town Hall, 203-389-3401, or by email to bheller@woodbridgect.org.

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