The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday approved an approximately $27,000 contract to replace what the town’s highest elected official called a “mafia wall” at the dump. The concrete block retaining wall at the Transfer Station for the construction debris and brush area was installed in 1998 when the landfill there was capped, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “It’s gone through a couple of repairs, and the existing blocks are starting to degrade and it’s in need of removal and replacement,” he told members of the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting. This exchange followed:
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan: What do they call these blocks, Tiger? Mann: They call them ‘mafia blocks.’
[Note: The deputy director salary has been updated in this article to reflect the selectmen’s approved figure.]
The town’s head of emergency management—a volunteer role long held by Mike Handler—is now a paid position, following a Board of Selectmen vote Tuesday. The elected body voted 3-0 to approve salaries of $20,000 and $15,000 for the director and deputy director of emergency management, respectively. Federal funds distributed through the state will cover $10,188 of the total cost, officials said. “We thought it was 50% but it turns out that they do it based upon population, so [it’s] somewhat less than 50%,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during the regular meeting, held via videoconference.
Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted in favor of the part-time salaries.
“The EOC [Emergency Operations Center] job has always been time-consuming during those periods of storms and blizzards and such, but given COVID which unfortunately will be with us—I don’t know, forever—these two jobs have become even more important than ever, so I think that having salary and recognizing the overwhelming amount of time the job requires these days is appropriate,” Williams said. Handler oversaw the EOC for years prior to his June 3 ouster during the first weeks of COVID-19 virus public health emergency.
Town officials on Tuesday approved $10,000 in additional taxpayer funds for a local public access channel, increasing the cable TV service’s budgeted pay by more than 25%. The money will be used to “correct and fix” NCTV’s “digital channel by building out new channels,” according to Bob Doran, who told the Board of Selectmen that he’s “transitioning into leadership” there. Though NCTV in recent years has become overly focused on government programming, Doran said, “I believe the possibilities are endless.”
“The channel is a great medium to show all it [New Canaan] has to offer to both current residents and to attract new families even,” Doran said during the selectmen’s regular meeting, held via videoconference.
“We are also looking to bring high-definition quality to the channel and moving from video to YouTube, for instance, to be even more accessible for our live-streamed events and on-demand viewing for all our residents anywhere, any time,” he added. “So, no matter where they are in the world.”
It wasn’t clear whether Doran referred to simple YouTube or Facebook streaming, or something more. Doran said he had “proof points” for the plan, though a “virtual fireworks” at Waveny garnered 600 total views, a recent ceremony recording at Town Hall 380 and a newly published series on local leaders about 100. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the appropriation.
The additional $10,000 comes from what Moynihan called the first selectman’s “economic development budget.” The meeting agenda referred to the taxpayer funds as a “grant.” Doran said he was requesting the funds from a municipal tourism committee that already has backed town spending on a celebration of New Canaan architecture as well as a promotional website.
New Canaan’s highest elected official said Tuesday that the town now is seeing a “handful of young positive cases.”
Those cases include “one under 10 years old,” according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan.
“Our bubble has burst,” he said during a regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen, held via videoconference.
“The superintendent has notified parents that we have a handful of young positive COVID cases, one under 10 years old,” Moynihan said. “And I think we have a couple of out-of-town—at least one, maybe two out-of-town college kids. And I suppose it was inevitable, as the superintendent said, because other school districts are beginning to have some positive cases with school-age children. We are still doing contact tracing. We want to try and make sure we understand as much as we can these new cases.”
The comments come on the heels of emails sent to the New Canaan Public Schools community Sunday and Monday by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi saying that two separate cases of COVID-19 had been identified among members of New Canaan High School.
At Selectman Kathleen Corbet’s prompting, the town plans to re-examine a longstanding policy whereby pesticides are used on some of New Canaan’s athletic fields. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said last week that it’s “entirely appropriate we revisit this topic.”
“It’s one I know very little about and I think the fact that we now have turf fields has changed things,” Moynihan said during the Board of Selectmen’s Sept. 8 meeting, held via videoconference.
“And I also don’t know quite what role the Fields Committee should play in this versus Parks & Recreation versus the Town Council, so we’ll further analyze this. I know [Public Works Director] Tiger [Mann] and [Parks Superintendent] John Howe have their own views on this topic. So we will bring this back when we investigate some of those other points of contact as to who has responsibility for this policy.”