Selectmen’s meeting wrap up: DPW works almost nonstop during snowstorm, Hinsdale funding still up in the air

Winsted Town Seal
Winsted Town Seal

WINSTED — The Department of Public Works barely got a break in four days of plowing roads during the first snowstorm of the season, according to Town Manager Robert Geiger.
Geiger spoke about the department’s work during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 21.
The snowstorm started on Wednesday, Dec. 16, eventually leaving more than a foot of snow around town.
“The [department’s employees] started work on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and worked for 20 and one-half hours straight, until 3:30 p.m. on Thursday,” Geiger said. “Then I had [Department Chairman Jim Rollins] send everyone home at 3:30 p.m. for 12 hours. They came back to work at 4 a.m. on Friday and worked for another 11 and a half hours until Friday at 3:30 p.m. Then they all came back on Friday at 11 p.m. and worked until Saturday at 6 a.m. These guys did a tremendous job.”
Geiger said the department is currently short on drivers and they had to clean 13 routes with 11 employees.
“We haven’t been able to fill the open positions through the Civil Service Commission yet, but we’re getting close,” Geiger said. “We did have one casualty: one of our drivers took down a light bulb in front of Mario’s Restaurant because they backed into it. I also think we did back into one car and did some slight damage to at the peak of the snowstorm. The storm was almost completely blinding.”
Geiger added that “very few” cars did not follow the town’s parking ban during the snowstorm.
In other business: Geiger reported that the town is still waiting on word from the state’s Bond Commission on funding the Hinsdale School project.
“I hope we’re getting close,” Geiger said. “We’re still waiting for the state. I don’t know if the state is finished with it yet in terms of their bond reviews.”
In September 2019 at a special referendum residents approved funding for the project: $17,425,000, with $6,959,925 in state grants to fund the project, which leaves the town to pay an estimated $10,465,075.
Finance Director Bruce Stratford reported to the board that property tax collections are currently at $13.7 million, which represents 57 percent of the fiscal 2020-2021 budget.
The town is currently at $12.7 million in expenditures, which represents 37 percent of the fiscal 2020-2021 budget.
Stratford said that, as of Nov. 30, the town has $13.3 million in cash in its general fund balance.
“We are very comfortable right now,” Stratford told the selectmen.
He added that work on the audit of fiscal 2019-2020 is wrapping up, but he did not say when work would be finished on it.