Information on Public Works chip sealing work scheduled for the week of May 13, 2024.
Read More

From the Desk of the First Selectman

Posted on
April 17, 2024
Board Of Selectmen
This Saturday, April 20, we will hold our Annual Budget meeting at 10am in Charter Hall. At this meeting both the Town and Board of Education’s (BOE) budgets will be presented and it is an opportunity to ask questions or weigh in on what concerns you. Directly following the adjournment of that meeting, we will hold another Town Meeting and ask voters to vote on three proposed expenditures: 1. $260,000 towards a new ambulance; 2. $10,000 for YOUR SPEED signs on Route 37; 3. Not-to-exceed $20,000 for 11 automated external defibrillators (AEDS).
The Sherman School Building Committee met last week and made progress on forming a capital improvements plan that, at the right time, can go before the voters. We will be pursuing a two-pronged approach where one approach utilizes a 2018 architectural study, the Friar Report, which outlined a series of necessary infrastructure repairs. This falls more closely in line with what many people have questioned: “Why can’t we simply repair the school?” The work utilizing the Friar Report is designed to provide an answer to that question and show what that would look like. The second approach will be the development of a repair/renovate plan using a reduced building footprint. In consideration here is the State reimbursement which is in play for both types of approaches but is different for each one. More to come on this, but I just want people to know that good work is going forward and we will, eventually, arrive at a plan to make The Sherman School facility a properly functional building with respect to its infrastructure issues.
Eventually the BOE will make a final determination about whether Sherman School trims down to a K to 5 school. I’m confident the board will decide that that is not an option anymore. I certainly will support the decision to stay K thru 8. Not only is there no financial advantage to busing our grades 6 thru 8 to another school, but it would be a radical cultural change that I think is a bad move for Sherman’s character. I think of the marvelous play the middle school just performed last weekend, or our middle school sports, music, and outside activities. I would not like to lose any of that. Additionally, if we indeed want to attract young families to Sherman, bussing their middle school children is not very attractive.
Regarding the concept of a good school attracting young families, I’m not certain, in an area with such parity in educational choices (most area schools, like ours, are quite good) that a good school necessarily “attracts” families. There are many reasons why a family would choose to move to Sherman. However, and more importantly, a poorly functional school will certainly repel families who are considering Sherman. And that we must avoid. So, along with the juxtaposition of good school and property values, all of this makes our mission profoundly important to complete the necessary capital improvements to our Sherman School building. And we will.
Thanks to those who have volunteered to serve on the newly formed ad hoc short-term rental ordinance committee. Our first meeting was enlightening and successful. I’ll report more on this as time goes by. Mainly we concluded that, yes, the twenty or so short-term rentals (Airbnb; VRBO, etc.) that are carrying on now are in some cases causing nuisance disruptions and we ne need to address that. But in a larger picture, we also need to protect Sherman from becoming a town over-run by short-term rentals, a town where too many homes are used only for this purpose. The owners of these types of rentals are absent business people and the people living in their homes are day-by-day residents. These types of people don’t contribute to a community, they don’t volunteer, they don’t have children in our schools, aren’t members of our fire department, nor do they populate our necessary Town boards. Could this happen? Well, a successful local relator told me last week that nearly every call she receives these days asks if the listing can be used as a short-term rental. When I look at how fast our Town changed because of covid, I don’t think it is too far-fetched to think that Sherman could quickly change-over to a town of short-term renters – as has happened elsewhere to the detriment of the communities. This is an important town culture issue.