Sewer project, meals tax, truck purchase approved at Granby Town Meeting
GRANBY — Residents showed their support for a new sewer line in town with a unanimous vote toward securing a grant for the project at a special Town Meeting on Monday.
Some residents, meanwhile, were less thrilled about the passage of a local meals excise tax.
The town is preparing to install a sewer line along Route 202 from School Street to the Five Corners intersection, and is now in the process of applying for a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that Town Administrator Christopher Martin said could fund up to 30 percent of the project.
All 60 residents who checked in to the meeting in the Granby Junior-Senior High School gymnasium approved a measure to spend $35,047 to conduct the professional studies necessary to complete the grant application.
During the discussion period, resident Wayne Tack said that while he would like to know the total cost of the sewer project, he understands that all of the numbers will not be available until after the professional studies are complete. These studies will include determining the environmental impact of the project as well as the approximate number of homes that would connect to the sewer line.
Select Board member Mark Bail said the town decided to move forward with a sewer project this year because the MacDuffie School, at 66 School St., is on a deadline to upgrade or replace its septic system, and a recent feasibility study suggested that the septic systems at the high school and the East Meadow School could also be in danger of failing.
Robert Glesmann, secretary of the Finance Committee, said that he feels this is an appropriate time to pursue the project.
“Otherwise, we may be in the position of second-guessing ourselves somewhere down the road,” he said.
To the discontent of some residents, a majority vote approved a measure to impose a local meals tax. The same measure was defeated at the annual town meeting in June, and was brought up again at Monday’s meeting because some voters had since said that they did not adequately understand it at the time, Select Board Chairman Louis Barry said.
Starting Jan. 1, 2014, there will be a 0.75 percent tax on meals from town eateries. The tax will be collected by the state, then given back to the town, Barry said. The board estimates that the tax would generate around $20,000 per year for the town.
Some residents expressed concern that once instated, the tax could increase over time, but Barry said that because the tax rate is set by state law, the town does not have the power to increase it.
“The amount is set by state law,” Barry said. “We either adopt it or we don’t.”
Truck purchase OK’d
By a two-thirds majority vote, residents approved $59,000 toward the purchase of a one-ton dump truck for the Highway Department. The vehicle to be replaced is a 2000 Chevy 3500 that has cost $38,000 in repairs, Highway Superintendent Dave Desrosiers said in an earlier interview.
“When you put off vehicle replacement, the costs don’t go away,” Desrosiers said at the meeting.
In other news, voters at the meeting were warned against drinking the water from the high school drinking fountains because the water recently had been chlorinated.