October 1, 2022

Essex Selectmen Approve $27,500 for Municipal Property Improvements

ESSEX— The board of selectmen Wednesday endorsed a $27,500 expenditure for municipal property improvements at a meeting where First Selectman Norman Needleman also announced the pending retirement of 18-year Dog Warden Joseph Heller.

Needleman announced that Heller, a former town constable who was appointed as dog warden/animal control officer in December 1994, is preparing to retire, but would continue in the part-time position until a replacement is appointed by the selectmen. Needleman said the town would advertise for a paid position at around 12 hours per week. Unless the new dog warden is already working in that job in another town, he or she would also be required to complete eight hours of state training for the position. “We want somebody who is going to be conscientious about it and it does require someone who loves dogs,” he said.

The proposed $27,500 expenditure from an existing municipal properties budget sinking fund would pay for three small projects at town hall, and a change for the public restrooms at the Main Street Park in the downtown village. Needleman said the town is currently paying someone to unlock and lock the park restrooms each morning and evening. He said $6,000 would buy a new timed electronic lock that would open and close the restrooms at designated times to eliminate the need for an ongoing expense.

The town hall improvements include $14,600 for removal of asbestos at five locations in the building. Most of the asbestos is located under floor tiles in the building, which was the town’s Pratt High School until it was converted in to the town hall in the early 1950s. The low bidder for the work was American Vets Abatement of Vernon.

The other parts of the proposed expenditure include $4,400 to remove carpeting and improve the floor in the building official’s office, and $2,500 for a sprinkler in the lower level boiler room. With approval from the board of finance at a meeting later this month, the proposed $27,500 expenditure would be presented to voters at a May 1 town meeting for final approval.