Enfield Economic Development Commission (DRAFT)
Minutes of a Regular Meeting
January 9, 2009
A Regular Meeting of the Enfield Economic Development Commission was held on Friday, January 9, 2009 in the Enfield Room at Town Hall. The meeting started at 8:12 AM.
Members in attendance: Chris Casey, Ralph Cerrato, Jerry Fitzsimons, Martha McLeod, and Joanne Parlante. Karen Weseliza and Ken Nelson arrived at 8:17 AM. Kiran Majmudar arrived at 8:20 AM.
Also present was Ray Warren, Director of Development Services.
Joanne Parlante suggested that the election of officers be postponed un the February meeting.
A motion to approve the minutes of the December 5, 2008 meeting was made by Jerry Fitzsimons, seconded by Chris Casey and approved 4-0-1 with Martha McLeod abstaining.
Mr. Warren passed out budget sheets which the Manager had presented to the Council and the Board of Education. He went over a number of sheets indicating where we stand today.
Mr. Nelson noted that the Council had to wait for the State to see how much would be coming to the Town before they could work on the Town’s budget.
Dr. McLeod noted that Asnuntuck had lost $275,000 from their general fund budget and noted that this number could double.
Mr. Warren distributed a Department of Labor report showing unemployment rates for the Enfield Labor market.
Joanne Parlante noted that big box stores, as well as smaller companies are hurting. Even Buckland Mall on a Saturday at 11:00 AM had very few people there.
Dr. McLeod stated that the Pequot’s had laid off some 800-900 people.
Mr. Warren handed out an Organization Chart for the Development Services Department which included Community Development showing a vacant position due to a retirement that will not be filled. Also, in the Planning Department, the part-time secretary will be retiring. Departments have been asked to hold the line while still maintaining services. In the Building Department, he explained the importance of the Building Tech position.
Discussion also took place noting that in 07-08, the Council raised the building permit fees, noting that Enfield was one of the lowest in the State.
Mr. Warren explained that the vacancy in Community Development was one that required write-ups for the various rehab projects. He mentioned that he will meet with Windsor and discuss sharing the services of their Project Manager. CDBG funds could purchase services.
Karen Weseliza asked about using interns to support staff. Dr. McLeod explained that finding the right person is not always an easy task. Chris Casey noted that staff time would be needed to train the interns. Jerry Fitzsimons suggested possibly using the services of seniors.
Mr. Warren noted a discussion the developers had with the DOT re the Hartford Hospital project on Middle Road. He recently met with the ART and it seems that egress from Middle Road would be for emergency vehicles only. Also, Karen Weseliza talked about increasing the buffer between the egress and the neighbors.
Dr. McLeod asked about 5 Guys Burgers. Mr. Warren noted that there has been a slow response from the state re an entrance from Elm Street.
Mr. Warren showed the Commission the only response to the Higgins RFP. It showed 16 apartments with an additional 16 units to the rear of the building. The cost was $9 million. The proposal was rejected by the Council which chose to fix the roof and wait for a better response.
Mr. Nelson stated that the Council preferred a business use.
Dr. McLeod discussed focus groups regarding the Plan of Conservation and Development. We need to involve more people familiar with Enfield and its characteristics. The consultant needs the benefit of people who are most familiar with Enfield. She feels this is very important and we should try and get people involved into focus groups.
The meeting adjourned at 9:26 AM.
Janice Ouellette, Secretary