PLAINVILLE - The Town Council voted Monday to set the property tax rate and received updates on ongoing projects.
The tax rate was set at 33.84 mills, an increase of 1.23 percent over last year’s rate of 33.43 after the issuance of a supplemental tax bill intended to make up for unexpected state cuts.
Town Manager Robert E. Lee said the town received additional cuts from the state beyond what was anticipated when the budget was brought to an all-day vote.
To make up for this slight reduction, the council would have had to set the rate at 33.85, which would have been a 1.25 percent increase. But, the council decided to go with the previously proposed rate.
“The state budget has been finalized and the net result is that state aid to Plainville was reduced by $4,419 from what was originally anticipated when the Town Council recommended their budget to the all vote held April 24,” said Lee.
The council was also updated on the phosphorus reduction upgrade project for the water pollution control facility. The low bidder for the state mandated project was Daniel O’Connell’s Sons of Holyoke, Mass., at $11,164,000.
“The low bid came in below budget and within our parameters,” said Lee. “It is approximately $330,000 less than the engineer’s estimate for the project.”
The bids will be reviewed by the Capital Projects Building Committee and go before the council at its June 4 meeting.
Lee said that the town will then get the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to approve the upgrades and that construction will begin this summer.
The project is estimated to be completed in 18 to 19 months.
Lee also told the council that the state has approved the renovations at Wheeler School and that the project is continuing to move forward.
Police Chief Matthew Catania also spoke to the council about an opportunity to use $6,000 from the police budget to connect the town with the Code Red emergency notification system.
“The town had EverBridge before, which was a state program, but we could only use it for something that the state defined as an emergency situation,” said Lee. “There are other times when police and firefighters may want to get in touch with our residents. If adopted, we could automatically fill our database with land line numbers. Residents would also be able to call the police non-emergency number at 860-747-1616 and register for email, or text notifications.”
During a work session before the main meeting, Lee said that the council listened to a presentation about the Save Money and Reduce Trash (SMART) program, which would have people pay for trash services based on volume.
“We had a speaker from WasteZero and another from DEEP who said that this program was implemented in other states and other countries and that it could reduce the town budget fairly significantly,” said Lee. “They also found out that Plainville could save money on a per household basis.”
Lee said that he was also briefed by Simple Recycling on an option for a curbside clothing recycling program, which would allow residents to leave clothes they want to get rid of in a pink bag next to their recycling bins. The company would collect these textiles and the town would be reimbursed at a rate of $20 per ton. The council will discuss this further at future meetings.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.