All three of us Selectmen thank the voters of Sherman citizens for passing the Town and School budgets on Saturday, May 14. The two budgets combined will represent a less than one percent increase (90%) over last year’s budget. Clay, Bob, and I received enormous help from Town treasurer Eric Holub, and wonderful assistance from business administrator Liz LaVia and Ruth Bymes our administrative assistant. We worked line by line to come up with a Town budget that is fiscally disciplined yet, I believe, fair towards the entities we need to support. I was especially pleased as this budget is the smallest increase in the Town budget in 4 years. (Your town budget had increased by 20% in those four years.) Moreover, had we not lost state money in the last weeks, the Board of Selectman would have brought Sherman citizens a flat budget. But we still got very close.
Our voter turnout at the budget referendum was remarkably low. I’m not sure why. Only 357 people voted. To me, this speaks to something I wish would change: I wish more people were aware of what’s going on in Sherman and I wish more people would attend the Board of Selectman (BOS) meetings. Yes, I know it’s not necessarily convenient to go to a meeting after a hard day’s work, but I wish more people were “in the loop” of what issues face Sherman. To help with this, I am making strides to have BOS meetings videotaped and replayed on Charter Cable. We’re getting closer to that becoming a reality. I spoke directly with Charter in April and followed up this week. If we do this, it will make it easier for a person to “stay tuned” to what’s happening in Sherman from the comforts of home. I think that’s a good thing. In addition, Selectman Ostrosky has done a lot of research and effort toward improving our town website and making it more information-friendly. We want you to be informed.
Clay Cope and I attended a meeting with state health officials over the elevated sodium levels in many town wells. I’ll save you the technical jargon and statistics and tell you that this remains a serious problem in Sherman. I’m happy that we are finally taking some action. After further test results are examined by the state department of health, a coordinated effort between the department of transportation and the health department should result in our town having “low salt” areas on the roads. These are roadways where less thawing material is applied. They will be warned with signs and will direct state road crews to apply less contaminate during episodes of snow and ice. This is the stuff that has washed its way into our town wells. The good news is that current levels of sodium and other contaminates will naturally dissipate over time. But we must stop applying the road material so heavily in identified areas or we will never be rid of this problem.
I was disheartened to learn that a soccer coach was attacked by an unleashed dog on Veterans Field. The man suffered a serious bite. I have also received reports of children and adults stepping into dog droppings on both Volunteer Park and Veteran’s Field. Most dog owners are responsible pet keepers, but a few bad apples are ruining it for them. This issue will be on the May BOS meeting agenda and action will be proposed and, hopefully, taken.
Septic tank inspections will be back on the Selectman’s agenda. In an effort to avoid another algae bloom and beach closing, we will be drafting another ordinance and sending it to the public for a vote. Changes to the ordinance from the one presented at last year’s referendum are yet to be decided. Candlewood Lake is our most precious resource. Not only is it a recreational gem, but it’s a prime economic engine and our home values are profoundly tied to health of the lake.
I’ll go out on a limb and hope that our Bob Gordon, who has lived peacefully here for 46 years and touched the hearts of many Sherman residents, is treated compassionately by the powers that be. He made a terrible decision as a very young man but has certainly atoned for it by being a productive positive person in many people’s lives. I’m sure that hiding these 40-plus years has been its own type of prison. He’s in poor health now and I’m not convinced that further incarceration serves any purpose.
Spring has exploded. There are fish to catch, hills to hike, and baseballs to toss. We are lucky to live in such a lovely town. Thank you for reading!