Selectman Devereaux at Final Board Meeting: Spend More Time Listening to Residents

Town officials should listen more closely to residents and work hard to safeguard New Canaan’s heritage, Selectman Kit Devereaux said Tuesday during her last meeting on the Board of Selectmen. 

Devereaux, who is moving this month to Maryland, said that “having an opportunity to serve as a selectmen has been an honor that I have really enjoyed.”

“Just a couple of wishes on my way out,” she said during the meeting, held via videoconference. “I think we should be very careful about making decisions about what we think residents should have and more time listening to what residents say they want. And one thing, too, would be to not constrain public input at meetings of the Board of Selectmen to only matters that are on the agenda, but rather open it up to the matters that residents want us to address. Allowing just a couple of minutes to hear the thoughts of a resident could only add to the effectiveness of the Board of Selectmen.”

She added that town officials should “take care to preserve our heritage, it’s a small New England town, and to what helps to keep the historic look and feel of New Canaan.”

Devereaux in January—following a presentation by New Canaan Library on its rebuilding plan, which includes creation of a town green where the original 1913 building now stands—voted 3-0 together with First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectman Nick Williams to recommend a $10 million earmark to support that project. Prior to casting that vote, she said losing the original library building would be regrettable.

Devereaux: Allow Meeting Attendees To Address Selectmen on Topics of Their Choosing 

Selectman Kit Devereaux is urging New Canaan’s highest elected official to allow those attending public meetings to speak on any topic they wish, instead of only those on the agenda. Given that speakers would be limited in the time they could address the Board of Selectmen, they “should be allowed to speak about items that are of concern to them,” according to Devereaux. 

“Not just what’s on the agenda,” she told First Selectman Kevin Moynihan during the most recent meeting of the Board of Selectmen, held July 21 via videoconference. 

Moynihan responded, “We are not really a policy board. We make administrative and operational decisions. It’s one thing to make comments to the Town Council…. I think it’s always been this way.

Selectmen Approve New Policy at Dump: Up to 300 Pounds of ‘Bulky Waste’ Free, Limit One Visit Per Day

Conceding that a change to the way residents are charged when bringing construction debris and brush to the dump didn’t work out, officials last week revised the policy again. Following the Board of Selectmen’s decision, New Canaanites now can bring up to 300 pounds of such waste to the Transfer Station for free though they can only come once per day under those terms—a new stipulation. “The [Transfer] Station managers are well-informed and they know who is coming in and who isn’t,” Public Works Director Tiger Mann told the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting, held July 21 via videoconference. 

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted in favor of the change. 

The new fee structure replaces a problematic and short-lived policy at the dump—part of a wide reassessment of municipal fees that Moynihan had called for—that had residents paying a fee for all the “bulky waste” they brought to the Lakeview Avenue facility. 

“We kind of bought [into] this idea in budget season and it probably wasn’t the greatest idea,” Moynihan said. Mann said the difficulty with the abandoned policy, which had taken effect July 1, was “that we are getting a substantial amount of traffic into the station for lower charges, meaning 50-cent charges.”

“There is a 10-pound limit on the scale so the first 10 pounds is read by the scale so it’s at 10-ton increments, so 10 pounds and at our rate, 5 cents per pound ,turns out to be a 50-cent fee for the first 10 pounds,” Mann said. 

“We feel that that is a little excessive,” Mann added. “It’s driving too much traffic into the station and causing some backups so we felt that we should go and revise the poundage to the first 100 pounds for free but then limit the number of times a resident could come into the station to one time a day.”

The new fee structure effectively keeps the longtime policy but limits “free-up-to-300-pound” visits to one per day.

‘A Man of Great Integrity’: Town Administrative Officer Tom Stadler To Retire

Tom Stadler, for 12 years administrative officer to the first selectman, is to retire this summer, officials announced Tuesday. A CPA who spent much of his career with Deloitte & Touche and is widely known in the community for his involvement with New Canaan Baseball, Stadler has been a mainstay in the office of New Canaan’s highest elected official for three administrations. 

Addressing the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting, as well as several municipal department heads, Stadler said, “I love all of you. I am going to miss you dearly.”

“I’m going to miss everyone dearly, but a time comes,” he said during the meeting, held via videoconference. “The time really does come. When that old red Jeep wears out and quits running, I’ve got to retire.