To the editor:
The Democratic members of the Durham Board of Finance held a presentation and question and answer session on March 8 at the Durham Library. Martin Anderson reported on the role of the Board of Finance and its interactions with the Board of Selectman and the Board of Education to draft the annual budget. The board reviews over 100 budget lines, some with multiple expenses, with numerous meetings in March.
They discussed the pros and cons of Durham’s lack of debt, which leaves the town more susceptible to paying for big ticket items, balanced against the concern about repaying debt in a town with few commercial taxpayers. The town is trying to establish upcoming capital needs, such as equipment or property purchases and keeping up with infrastructure, to help prevent spikes in the budget. The need for contingency funds were discussed, pointing out that Public Works had budgeted for 19 storms and as of Saturday was already at 25 storms for the year.
The 2014-2015 town budget will be presented to the public April 7, where the public is allowed to comment on specific line items. The Board of Finance then adjusts the budget in response to public comments. The actual vote on the Town Budget will be on May 12 at the Town Meeting. After the referendum on the Regional School District 13 budget, the board then sets the mill rate.
In summary, the town is in good fiscal shape, thanks to the hard work of all the town boards that each analyze the strategic needs of the town. Both finance members urged the public to come to the budget presentation and the town meeting, stating that such “direct democracy is a unique feature of New England life.”
Durham Democratic Town Committee
Lake Beseck update
To the editor:
The Town of Middlefield has been working with environmental consultants to gather thoughts on how to best tackle the invasive plants, algae and sediment of Lake Beseck. While discussing potential short and long term strategies, a unique opportunity presented itself when the town learned that the lake would be drawn down significantly to repair its dam. This set the stage to focus immediate attention on possible in-lake projects.
Taking into account available funding, permitting processes, etcetera, it was decided to implement a Road Sand Removal Project.
The project involves the removal of sand plumes located at four outfalls, and two tributaries of Lake Beseck. During a storm event, certain outfalls have been known to produce enough velocity to push sediment all the way to the center of the lake. Recent erosion has exposed the impressive amount of sediment that has been accumulating in the lake bed over the years, making one realize just how beneficial the timing of this opportunity is.
All local and CTDEEP permits are currently in place, the town hopes to move forward with the project as soon as possible, but the lake will have to dry out some first. Ideas are being discussed for a long term annual maintenance plan that will aid in the prevention of future lake sedimentation.
Amy Poturnicki, chairman
Lake Beseck Ad Hoc Advisory Committee