ESSEX–- Voters at a town meeting Wednesday approved five special appropriations totaling $200,000 of unexpended funds from the 2012-2013 town budget. About 25 residents, many of them volunteer firefighters, turned out to approve the additional appropriations from a budget surplus that totaled about $380,000.
Finance Director Kelly Sterner said nearly all of the surplus came from additional revenue received in the budget year that ended June 30, including $229,000 from a settlement with the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, $29,000 in surplus returned from the 2011-2012 Region 4 education budget, and about $80,000 in reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for expenses incurred from Storm Sandy last October and the February blizzard. Sterner said there is about $180,000 in surplus funds remaining after the expenditures approved Wednesday.
The largest amou8nt approved Wednesday was an additional $75,000 for the volunteer fire department’s budget sinking fund. The funds will be used to purchase equipment and other items. Also approved was a supplemental appropriation of $50,000 for the municipal property sinking fund, and $15,000 for the police cruiser replacement sinking fund.
Voters also approved special appropriations of $35,000 for a bonding study and $25,000 as initial funding for a planned waste water management study. The board of selectmen is reviewing various capital projects, including roof replacement at Essex Elementary School and replacement of two bridges in the Ivoryton section, for a possible bonding authorization that could be presented to voters for approval early next year. Sterner said the $35,000 would be used to hire an engineering consulting firm to prepare detailed cost estimates for projects under consideration for bonding.
The $25,000 for a waste water management study is the initial funding for a comprehensive study of waste water disposal in the three villages of Essex, Centerbrook, and Ivoryton that could cost a total of about $150,000. First Selectman Norman Needleman said preparing for the study is a “proactive step,” to avoid any possible orders or mandates from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection that could require construction of sanitary sewers in any of the village areas. He said the study could suggest less costly alternatives for any waste water disposal problems in the village areas.
The last waste water management study sponsored by the town’s water pollution control commission was completed in 1998 as part of a sewer avoidance plan for the town. Proposals for the study will be sought when additional funding is available, possibly in 2014.