The Board of Selectmen discussed many components of the 2019-2020 Parks & Recreation budget at its Jan. 30 meeting.
Subcontracting
The idea of subcontracting some of the facility and maintenance work was proposed, with the intention of the town not needing to pay benefits.
Town administrator Kate Buch said she thinks this is a good idea but the town needs to be sure “that our union contract allows us to use outside people to do what is union work.”
She added that perhaps the town can use seasonal work, such as part-time employees. She said, however, that there are limits on how long one can consider a person a temporary employee.
“If you’re working 40 or more hours a week, there’s only so long that you can legally call them temporary under Connecticut labor law before you have to consider them full time and get them all the rights and benefits of a full time employee,” Buch said. “With part-time employees, you are going to have to keep them under 20 hours a week and [it’s] hard to find people.”
Operating budget
The operating budget will be restored from $70,000 to $80,000.
In determining this increase, Buch looked at the history of the account. “The history of the spending in the account did not reflect Highland Farms, the usage of Short Lane or the Diller property,” Buch said. “They were either not in use at all or were very lightly used, and we expect that they will be used more in the coming year.”
Recyclable waste containers
The Board of Selectmen were in support of the addition of recyclable waste containers to the parks.
“I think we should be good stewards in the parks and have at least an option for people to recycle,” said Pam Gery, Parks & Recreation director.
They then discussed whether or not people should be taking away their own trash.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said that whenever there are parades and special events in Tilley Pond Park, the trash receptacles now get taken away as a security measure. “If receptacles aren’t available, people will take [their garbage] away or find some other way to dispose of it,” she said.
However, Stevenson added that she doesn’t want the staff to spend a disproportionate amount of time sorting garbage.
“There is a big issue with recyclable contamination and what is and isn’t able to be recycled because it’s contaminated,” Stevenson said.
Short Lane property
The Short Lane property, which is adjacent to Weed Beach, will be made accessible to the town for recreation on an everyday basis.
Five hundred thousand dollars was put in the capital budget for the construction of Short Lane. An additional $125,000 for paving the parking lot will look to be bundled in with the money needed for the parking lots at Highland Farm.