Town budget

Both the Boards of Selectmen and Finance have begun meetings with all town departments, boards and commissions to begin to develop the Annual Town Budget for FY2008. I have personally met with most Department Heads, and also with Woodbridge Board of Education Supt. Dr. Guy Stella and Board of Education Chairman Michael Ewing. I believe this is very important in order to keep avenues of communication open, while providing quality education for all our children.

I will endeavor to inform all residents of our progress and I will make it my personal commitment to keep taxes as low as possible while continuing to make Woodbridge the wonderful place we all know and love to live in.

UI power line project update

The Connecticut Siting Council has approved the application of Northeast Utilities and the United Illuminating Company to construct a new 345-kV line through Woodbridge. The construction of the power line will take place on the right-of-way owned by the utilities. The Town of Woodbridge has no jurisdiction over the construction of the power lines and the right-of-way, which is under the jurisdiction of the Connecticut Siting Council, the Army Corps of Engineers, and The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

The route for the power lines will follow the existing right-of-way now occupied by the 115-kV transmission lines. The 115-kV lines will be replaced by two steel monopoles and the 345-kV line will be strung along a new set of taller monopoles. Construction has already begun in Orange, and will begin in earnest in Woodbridge shortly and continue into 2008.

All Woodbridge residents who abut the right-of-way were invited to an informational meeting on Jan. 23 at the Center. About 30 residents attended. The entire project was reviewed with representatives from the United Illuminating Company and Connecticut Light and Power Company. Officials discussed the proposed construction and the schedule and also answered residents' questions.

Connecticut Light and Power Company and United Illuminating Company have set up a toll free number (1-866-643-6679) for residents to call with any questions, concerns or complaints during the course of the construction. For the day-to-day status of the construction project you may access the Web site at www.middletown-norwalk.com.

Woodbridge Fire Station update

Following the devastating fire at the current Woodbridge Firehouse in October 2006, the Town has hired J.P. McGuire Associates, Inc. to undertake the restoration work necessary to repair the current facility. The Town has also retained the services of a structural engineer who has inspected the building and is preparing construction documents. There will be biweekly meetings of the contractor and appropriate Town Hall staff once the renovation work begins to ensure that our fire house is restored to its much admired beautiful state.

The Fire Station Building Committee is working with the architectural firm of Silver Petrucelli to develop construction documents. The proposal for the new firehouse has recently received approvals from both the Inland Wetlands and Town Plan and Zoning Commissions. The Boards of Selectmen and Finance recently approved the hiring of a Construction Manager to assist in cost estimates for the project. I will update residents on this project as more information becomes available.

Public Works complex

At its December 2006 meeting, the Board of Selectmen received a report from the Public Works Complex Building Committee which stated the project engineer approved the site for the Sand/Salt Storage Shed. The Board voted unanimously to authorize the Public Works Building Committee to enter into negotiations with the "Dome Corporation" for an 82-ft diameter and 10-ft high wall Sand and Salt Storage Shed. This committee has worked diligently to bring the first phase of this project to fruition. Construction of the Sand and Salt Shed is expected to begin in April. Once completed, the Town will be fully compliant with environmental regulations regarding the storage of sand and salt. Monies are presently available in the budget to pay for this project.

The Committee is now working on Phase II of the project, which includes construction of a garage, truck wash for both public works and fire apparatus vehicles, and outside storage bins. This will eliminate the problems associated with the storing of town vehicles outside, thus increasing the length of use. As the Board of Selectmen receive updates on this part of the project, I will report them to Woodbridge residents.

First Selectman's youth award

Woodbridge Youth Services, in collaboration with the Office of the First Selectman, is accepting nominations for the Eighth Annual Woodbridge First Selectman's Youth Award. Any Woodbridge youth individually or as a group, age 18 or under, who is in school and has demonstrated positive actions to improve Woodbridge or assist Woodbridge residents is eligible. Activities of involvement may include group or individual volunteer work aimed at improving the quality of life in the Woodbridge community.

Principals, teachers, fellow students, neighbors, group leaders, clergy and voluntary agencies are among those who may nominate a youth for consideration. Parents or family members may not nominate a relative.

If you know of a youth who meets the above criteria, please make the nomination on the form provided by Woodbridge Youth Services and return it to: Woodbridge Youth Services Department, 11 Meetinghouse Lane, Woodbridge, CT 06525

Nomination forms must be received by March 14 in order to be considered. The awards ceremony will take place in April. Further questions may be directed to Jayne Percy, Woodbridge Youth Services Director, at 389-3429.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 389-3401 with any issue.

Ed Sheehy is Woodbridge first selectman.