November is a busy month for the Town of Enfield. The Budget and CIP Committees are in full gear reviewing proposals and data in preparation of Town Meeting in March. We also will set our tax rate, not an easy task at all, and our DPW is busy getting ready for winter. My former residence in Batavia NY was spared the massive snow fall that clobbered Buffalo, and by spared I mean they only had 2 to 3 feet of snow. Growing up in Syracuse, lake effect snow was an almost daily occurrence and it was not uncommon for one area of town to have feet of snow accumulate in a matter of hours and another area a mere five miles away to escape with only a dusting of snow. I do not miss shoveling or snow blowing that wet cement snow that is typical of lake effect snow.
As mentioned before, the Budget Committee has begun their review of the upcoming 2015 budget. To date they have reviewed the Police, Library, Recreation and Administration budgets. On December 6th, they will review the Public Works, Fire and Ambulance budgets. The Committee has set a goal of keeping our expenditures within 2% of current budget totals. 2% is close to inflation for our region.
The tax rate was set this week and tax bills will be generated and mailed early next week. Tax bills are later than usual due to the town wide property revaluation. The property revaluation typically adds 2 to 3 weeks to our process. The new rate will be 23.16 up from 21.32. As you know the rate is comprised of the Town, Local School, State School and County property tax. The Town portion went up 1.76%, or just about what inflation was for northern New England.
We received two major bids last Friday, health insurance and fire truck. We received five bids for health insurance and had some good news right from the start. If we change nothing with our plan structure and maintain all current doctor and prescription co-payments our rates will decrease 0.6%. We did ask providers to quote high deductible plans and plans that had higher doctor and prescription co-payments. Our staff is now reviewing the data from the different plans to determine which one makes the most sense for our organization and community. So far I have been encouraged that we will be able to achieve some meaningful savings and provide a worthy benefit for our employees.
We also received five bids for a new fire engine. The Enfield Fire Wards, Fire Chief and Fire Department have spent the better part of four months creating a bid document that provides in detail exactly what type of equipment we need for the next fire engine. They met with seven different providers and had multiple meetings to create the specifications for the fire engine. We owe them a great deal of gratitude for taking the time to prepare and review these bids. We can expect to have a presentation not only for the CIP, but also the Budget Committee and Town Meeting on what they recommend for our next fire engine. Thanks EFD for all of your hard work!!!
The Enfield Conservation Commission (ECC) has been developing a plan to establish a park at the Enfield Reservoir, or as it is also known, the Harris Brook Reservoir. The reservoir is located off Moose Mountain Rd. in Canaan and was at one time the water supply for the village. The reservoir is no longer connected to our water system. The property is approximately 30 acres. The ECC approached the Selectboard earlier this year to ask if they would entertain a park at that location. The Selectboard gave them the OK and the ECC has held several meetings since. They have meet with the Canaan Conservation Commission, the abutters of the property, the Enfield Public Works Department, and the Police Departments for both Towns. The goal would be to create a small parking area off Moose Mountain Rd. and
a path to the reservoir. We would also install a sign that outlines the rules and regulations for the use of the property. The ECC has some work to finish before we can formally open up this piece of Enfield property to the public. Stay tuned.
Finally, have a great Thanksgiving.