Mosquito control, avalon update and more
The Town Plan and Zoning Commission approved the Avalon Plan with several conditions on March 7, 2000, effectively allowing them to begin building when they meet the safety conditions and obtain the required building permits.
Meanwhile, the Board of Selectmen is continuing to prepare for an appeal to a higher court. We have voted to hire the firm of Lynch, Traub, Keefe, and Errante to handle our appeal of Judge Curran's very negative decision that not only went against the Town of Orange's Enterprise and Technology Park but also denied our motion for a stay of execution during the Appeals Process. We have received an extension from the court to prepare our appeal, so only time will tell in this on-going battle.
The town spoke and the State of Connecticut responded! As you may be aware by now, I am concerned about a repeat of the scare and danger associated with the West Nile Virus spread by mosquitoes that could potentially cause encephalitis. However, each Town in the area acting independently is not the best way to combat this problem. So, on March 1, I represented small towns throughout Connecticut when I testified before the Environment Committee requesting state assistance for this statewide problem. Less than 2 weeks later, the State announced that it would release $500,000 to help 41 towns and cities including Orange with mosquito control including larvaciding. Larvaciding is the releasing of a chemical through briquettes or tablets in ponds and standing water. This will help mitigate the need for spraying later in the season.
We will need homeowners to do their part as well by not leaving standing water in pails, toys, tires, or other receptacles where mosquitoes can breed. Our wetlands, however are valuable resources needed for flood control and habitat and should not be filled. We will be discussing this further on Orange Government Access Television.
During the 1990 Census, Orange's return rate of census forms mailed back was 81%, the highest in the region. I'm asking every resident to fill out his or her census form promptly and accurately so that we can improve on that mark. This will avoid having someone from the Census Bureau knock at your door to determine your family's population. An accurate count is extremely important to the town, the state, and the nation. Our count will help determine our political representation in Hartford and Washington as well as the state and federal dollars for programs. Please help this important process by filling out your form today and you won't have to worry about it again for ten years.
Senior Tax Stabilization
I have appointed a Senior Tax Stabilization Committee to explore the possibility of freezing taxes for our citizens over 65 years of age. Woodbridge has developed such a plan and I feel that we should determine what kind of program could work here. The committee will consist of the following people, all of whom bring a special perspective to this important issue: Jena Barretta (Chairperson), Christopher Collier, Ivez Hendlin, Marvin Jamron, Barbara Lehrer, William Musco, and Michael Saffer. These people, along with our Tax Assessor Mark Branchesi, will examine the state statute as well as the ordinance that Woodbridge passed and bring a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance for approval. I look forward to hearing their conclusions as soon as they are ready.
Domestic Violence Services
At a recent awards banquet held at Grassy Hill Country Club, Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven honored the Orange Children's Duathlon Committee for their contribution of over $5,000. Co-chairs Marlene Silverstein and Lesley Giovanelli accepted the Community Service Award on behalf of the Committee. At the same banquet Milford Officer Frank Tomaselli received an Advocacy Award for his assistance with temporary restraining order applications. Officer Tomaselli is an Orange resident and we congratulate him as well.
Orange Government Access Television
I'd like to thank Ron Davis and all the members of the Committee for Orange Television for the outstanding job they are doing in educating the public with our government access television station. Beginning on April 5, Orange Government Access Television (OGAT) will be on Channel 73 only. Cablevision is making this change so that everyone will view government television on the same channel whether you have a cable converter box or not. I've been receiving many positive comments about our broadcasts. I know the committee would like to hear your comments as well. Please address them to Town Hall.
The Town Hall asbestos removal program is nearly complete. In April, our hours and operations will be back to normal. I'd like to thank Town Hall employees and residents for adjusting their schedules the last two months. This process has gone quite smoothly and without incident to replace all the ceiling tiles and pipe wrappings throughout the building.
I have been meeting with a few different developers about possible additional elderly housing options in Orange. Nothing is set as of yet, but I am hoping to be able to announce plans for additional housing opportunities in the near future. Stay tuned.
With spring in the air, get ready for Orange's first-ever bulky waste pick-up. Stay tuned for details on this in the papers as well as on Orange Government Access Television. Additionally, the plans are being finalized to go out to bid for the walking/jogging track at High Plains Community Center. Finally, if you're holding a tag sale, don't forget to take down the signs after it ends.