New Canaan voters on Nov. 5 will cast ballots in three contested—for the Board of Selectmen, Board of Education and Town Council—following Tuesday night’s Democratic and Republican caucuses. Local Democrats at Town Hall nominated not only Craig Donovan for first selectman and Kit Devereaux for selectman, as announced, but also nominated two candidates for Board of Ed and three for Town Council. Of the four Board of Ed seats up for election, three currently are held by Republicans, meaning the Democrats are seeking to “pick up” a seat. School board Chairman Brendan Hayes and Steve Eno, a parent involved in the effort to start school later for adolescents, were nominated by New Canaan Democrats for the Board of Ed.
Selectman Kit Devereaux last week questioned just who in town government would be able to see proposals from those interested in purchasing a prominent town-owned building on Main Street. The Board of Selectmen voted 2-1 last month to approve a request for proposals or ‘RFP’ for Vine Cottage, with Devereaux opposing the move and Selectman Nick Williams and First Selectman Kevin Moynihan in favor. During the Board’s regular meeting July 9, Devereaux asked who would be able to see the RFP responses. When Moynihan said it would probably be himself, Director of Public Works Tiger Mann, Buildings Superintendent Bill Oestmann, Devereaux asked, “What about us?” She referred to herself and Williams.
“There might be some benefit in us seeing the ones that come in, comparatively,” she said at the meeting, held in Town Hall.
Municipal officials on Tuesday approved an approximately $9,000 contract with a Shelton-based company to install equipment designed to keep cool several animals who live in a town-owned building operated by a venerable nonprofit organization on Oenoke Ridge Road. The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 in favor of the $9,430 contract with M.A. Garamella, a figure that includes $1,230 in contingency funds.
The new system at the New Canaan Nature Center Animal Care Building will replace a 20-year-old existing air conditioning unit that had failed, according to Bill Oestmann, the buildings superintendent with the New Canaan Department of Public Works. The project was on DPW’s “list to replace this year,” he said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. The DPW intends to replace the old unit with an air conditioning heat pump which Oestmann said will provide a number of benefits—for example, if the building’s boiler fails, “the heat pump can keep enough heat going to protect the building,” he said. “[It will] also help with the reptiles—when you lose heat in the building you’ve got to move all the animals out,” Oestmann said.
First Selectman Kevin Moyinhan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted in favor of the contract.
After one member voiced concerns that the town had talked to just one company about administering a survey to identify taxpayer priorities, the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday voted unanimously to postpone approval of an approximately $20,000 contract for the project. In creating, running and analyzing something as consequential as the town-wide survey, gathering data that likely would inform future funding decisions, “we have a duty to talk to more than one provider and we have not done that,” Selectman Kit Devereaux said during a regular Board meeting.
“This may be the best possible solution,” she said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “But unless we talk to others, we have no way of knowing.”
After some discussion, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, Selectman Nick Williams and Devereaux voted 3-0 to table its approval of a contract with Glastonbury-based GreatBlue Research. Moynihan said there’s a “very limited market” in Connecticut research firms that conduct surveys of this kind, that he had obtained positive references for GreatBlue from area municipalities such as Greenwich and that the company came back with a number that falls within the $20,000 project budget.
“We wanted to stay with a Connecticut firm which does a national practice,” Moynihan said.
He later added, “I am very pleased now that we have checked the references.”
Under the draft agreement, obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a formal request, GreatBlue would conduct 400 telephone interviews as well as “an unlimited number of digital surveys” to be completed during a set timeframe not to exceed three weeks. The survey would include no more than 40 questions and would take no more than 10 minutes to complete, under the draft agreement.
The Board of Selectmen voted 2-1 Tuesday to solicit proposals from those interested in acquiring a prominent antique building on Main Street from the town. The request for proposals for Vine Cottage, a turreted ca.-1859 structure located opposite the firehouse, would allow for a sale or ground lease to a prospective buyer. Among other requirements, the Town Council would need to hold a public hearing prior to any sale. Though Selectman Kit Devereaux voted against issuing the RFP, saying it was short-sighted since no one knows what New Canaan’s future needs for such a building would be, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectman Nick Williams voted in favor of it. Williams noted that the New Canaan Department of Human Services is leaving Vine Cottage for the former Outback Teen Center.