We sat down with First Selectman Rudy Marconi and asked him your questions (and a few more!) Here are the highlights of our meeting:
How to best use $4,315,757.00
On December 22nd, CL&P (Northeast Utilities) refunded Ridgefield $4,315,757.00. In the past several weeks, residents have spoken out regarding the best use of these funds. Some suggestions include restoring programs in our schools that were cut due to the budget. But, First Selectman Rudy Marconi feels strongly that the town does not use the funds for operating expenses. In regard to Schlumberger, with the divisions still largely undecided (resale), and the interest on the borrowed capital so low (.0235%), Marconi would not suggest the money be put toward the sale of the property.
So, how would First Selectman Rudy Marconi like to see the funds used? “The best option would be to put $2 million into the bank to increase our fund balance.” Among AAA rated towns in Fairfield County, Ridgefield has the lowest fund balance, and an increase would help us remain highly rated. When discussing the fund balance and the lifting of the watch placed on Ridgefield and many AAA-rated towns, Marconi wants to assure Ridgefield that, "The fund balance is solid, and everyone in Ridgefield should be proud. Ridgefield is an extremely stable community." As for the other $2.3+ million, Marconi suggests it going towards capital expenses, so the Mill Rate won't significantly increase.
Readers are still asking about a cell tower in Northern Ridgefield. To Marconi's dismay, "very few voted, yes, and we live in a democracy and the no voters won and the land could not be purchased." He did mention that private cell tower companies are investigating the area for suitable land, but he didn't feel anything would be happening soon, if ever. With all the recent storms knocking out power for days, along with the always sketchy service at Tiger Hollow and the Ridgefield High School, he did mention that many now are seeing a need for a communication tower in the northern end of town.
Town’s New Garbage Company
You might be seeing new green garbage trucks and dumpsters around town. The town has approved the sale of the town's garbage and recycling contract to Winter Bros.
Moving the vote for the New Ridgefield Library to a stand-alone referendum on Tuesday, February 28th had mixed reviews among the Selectmen (just as it does among the public) at the last meeting, and will be on the Agenda for a vote on the Wednesday, January 18th meeting.
With winter now upon us, some residents are weary of possible danger in the form of ice patches on less travelled roads. Marconi suggests if you see or hit an ice patch to please call the Highway Department IMMEDIATELY at (203) 431-2748 or his office at (203) 431-2700. He also suggests that residents can help remedy the situation by directing their sump pump discharge pipes away from the road, and clearing leaves from basins or drains.
Another issue that has Ridgefield divided is the building and approval so new affordable housing units around our Main Street. Two new units are being proposed for Main Street (16 units) and Gilbert Street (12 units). Marconi believes with any growth comes the need for better standards and requirement for building in our downtown, residential areas, and feels the town will be working on this in the future.
Date for this 2012 Town Fourth of July Fireworks
The Fourth of July fireworks are scheduled for Wednesday, July 4th, with a rain date of Saturday, July 7th.
New Year’s Resolution
Finally, we asked Mr. Marconi about his New Year resolutions for the town. He would like to see:
- The closing of the purchase of the Schlumberger property.
- An increase in awareness among parents, town officials and youth of alcohol abuse education.
- The library and budget votes go smoothly.