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Headshot Jon Brayshaw

Budgets, Beseck, birthdays and more


It’s been a while. Quiet is good!

Over the past year or two, the Lake Beseck area has been buzzing with activities. The new dam is coming along and looks good. Those with waterfront property have been fixing their docks and retaining walls. The Lake Environment Committee has been busy trying to get their arms around the health of the lake and its surrounds. As most have seen, the water level is down to a historic level. This gives us a chance to do some spot dredging where silt and sand have built up over the decades. The dredging was bid out and we now have the necessary permits in place. This operation is a “drop in the bucket” but it is the best we can do. If we had one day of Derek Jeter’s baseball contract we could dredge the entire lake...which is what it needs. “Don’t seem fair.”

Now, let’s talk website…or is it Web Site? Five years ago we created an elementary (and cheap) Web Site. At the time it suited our need for basic stuff. Our assessor did what he could to insert the basic stuff. Seems in life we are never satisfied with a basic anything…like what is wrong with a black rotary phone? So, seeing that we not be left behind, we went looking and came up with a Web Site designer “Purple Dog”. If you want to see PD’s work, check out the Killingworth site. So, now we’ll attempt to assemble the stuff and Middlefield will soon be reborn into the hi-tech world. This summer, our assessor (and part-time Web Master) Steve Hodgetts will be leaving (retiring). My hope is that each staff member will develop an obligation/interest to “populate” our site. If you are looking for ways to help your town and you have web experience and want to work for nothing, please contact me at (860) 349-7114

Another budget year is upon us and all seems to be falling in place. How the process works is simple. Our finance director keeps detailed costs from year to year. He and I assemble the first draft and hand it over to the Board of Finance (and public) by March 1. Then, the BOF holds hearings and work sessions, fine-tuning as they go. The numbers Joe Geruch and I handed over carried a mill rate of 33.61. Last year the rate was 33.24. The tax burden on the average home will be $5,557. Last year it was $5,497. As of today, the proposed RD-13 (school) budget carries a 1.7 percent increase. Doing the math, the total town expenditures (including education) will increase about 3 percent.

On other fronts, I attended the initial meeting on the Workforce Alliance summer employment program. Last year, between Durham and Middlefield we employed almost 50 youth. The program does have a need for worksites. The program runs for six weeks or so and costs the employer nothing. The funds come from our government printing press. For more info contact Elizabeth Shoudy at RD-13, (860) 349-7110, or me.

And finally, was it Dorothy who was of two minds or Pinocchio? This winter on one hand, I found myself praying for cold weather and snow, lots of snow, so that Powder Ridge would have a record opening year. On the other hand I found myself praying for the cold and snow to stop. The town saw what seemed to be an endless parade of trucks delivering salt and sand and I saw a parade of oil trucks driving up my driveway. I had to mortgage my wife to pay our oil bill.

And finally, finally in preparing for the town’s 150 birthday celebration, I came across an article on our towns early inhabitants (Indians). Indians and English pioneers lived in Connecticut. They lived in Middlefield and Rockfall. To summarize the end of their existence “we say that some races of man seemed to be molded in clay – soft and pliable. Some races (like some metals) combine great strength with great flexibility. The Indians seemed to be made out of rock. Their form could not be changed without destroying their substance. They could not learn the art of civilization and their forest kingdom that served them for thousands of years was doomed to perish forever”. Food for thought.

If you are moved to be a part of preparing for our Sesquicentennial. Soon a steering committee will form and begin preparing for our hoedown.

Jon A. Brayshaw is First Selectman for Middlefield.



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