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Board of Finance: Valentine Calls for Independent Needs Assessments for Fire Co., Public Works

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Eric Warner


February’s meeting minutes were unanimously approved. The Board reviewed financial reports submitted by Debbie Franklin for February 2024. The Board then reviewed and received Tax Collector Rebecca Juchert-Derungs’ February 2024 report. For Budget Projection Review, the board received and reviewed the budgets of the Building Official, Animal Control, Board of Finance, Cemeteries, Fire Protection Operating, Fire Protection Capital, Capital Expenditures, Fiscal Office, Goshen Public Library, Professional Services, and the Rescue Department.

During the discussion of the Fire Protection budget, Robert Valentine questioned why the Fire Department would need $30,000 to purchase a new boiler when the town hall recently installed one for $13,800. Goshen Fire Company Commissioner William Clinton explained that the new, larger boiler would be used to help heat the entire department building once their future addition is complete. “It is oversized to accommodate the addition that we’ve proposed,” said Clinton. “Considering that that’s gonna’ move forward, it makes good sense to do it at this time. However, I don’t believe it’s terribly oversized. The addition isn’t double the size of the original building.” Valentine expressed concern with this price since it may cause town taxes to increase to offset expenses. He and First Selectmen Todd Carusillo suggested Clinton receive more quotes for a boiler at a lower cost. The initial $30,000 quote came from the Goshen-based heating contractor, L&L Mechanical, LLC.

Valentine then suggested appropriating town funds to form a committee of qualified individuals, without connections to the Fire Department, to conduct a needs assessment for the department. “This question has been left unanswered, unnecessarily, and there’s a lot of people concerned about it,” Valentine explained. “So I do think that we need to do a true needs assessment by identifying those items that need to be placed undercover that aren’t currently…” The Fire Company initially worked with the Public Works Department to hire an independent consultant to conduct a needs assessment, but the review of all the town’s facilities would have cost $20,000-$40,000. Valentine called for the Board of Selectmen to create a needs assessment committee of volunteers to assess the needs of both the Fire Company and Public Works. Carusillo agreed and will bring this concept to the Board of Selectmen.

Following the Budget Projection Review, Carusillo conducted his First Selectman’s report. Tipping Fees will begin costing $131 per ton of trash starting in July. Over 1,700 tons of trash are expected to be created from Goshen by the end of the 2023-2024 Fiscal Year this summer. This will cost almost $226,000.

The Litchfield Hills Chore Service consolidated operations under the Salisbury-based Chore Service in February. According to Chore Service Executive Director Jane MacLaren, the two services merged to, “maximize resources to provide services for the people of Litchfield County.” The service currently supports three Goshen residents. MacLaren requested a $2,500 donation to support their services. Carusillo previously donated $525 to the Litchfield Hills Chore Service. (Note: Goshen has at least two such organizations that support only Goshenites –Goshen Community Care and Goshen Good Neighbor Fund).