The Esty siblings — (left to right) Janis, Richard, and Susan — accept an award for years of volunteering for Old Saybrook's government from First Selectman Carl Fortuna (right) at Monday's town meeting at the town's middle school. (CT Examiner/McDermott)

Town Meeting Passes Harbor Authority Ordinance, Adopts Annual Report

in Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK — Voters approved an amendment clarifying the Harbor Management Commission’s authority and adopted the 2019 Annual Report at Monday night’s Annual Town Meeting at Old Saybrook Middle School.

Town Attorney Michael Cronin said that the amendment to the Harbor Management Commission language in the Town Code was a matter of “legal housekeeping” about “the jurisdiction of the commission.”

The code in its earlier form gave the commission the responsibility to oversee the town’s waterways and related facilities, but the language was ambiguous as to whether the commission had authority over facilities beyond the water’s edge, such as the clothesline marina and other facilities at North Cove.

Cronin said the simplest solution for the town was to explicitly give the commission authority over waterways and any additional waterfront facilities assigned to it by the Town of Old Saybrook or the Board of Selectmen.”

About 25 residents were present in the middle school auditorium’s audience and they approved both the amendment and the town report without any “no” votes.

Town Report notes $771,000 surplus and renovations planned for harbor facility

The Annual Town Report covers the fiscal year between June 1, 2018, and July 30, 2019. It includes short sub-reports from all departments and elected bodies of the town as well as regional groups and nonprofits relevant to the town, including the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments. 

First Selectman Carl Fortuna told the town meeting that the report is “basically a snapshot” of Old Saybrook at a particular time, in this case the middle of 2019.

Among some noteworthy takeaways describing Old Saybrook:

The town’s budget for 2018-19, totaled about $46.5 million, ended with a projected surplus of approximately $771,000, according to the report by Finance Director Lee Ann Palladino. 

Between 2012 and 2019, the town implemented a Board of Finance Fund Balance Policy to increase the town’s rainy day fund from about 6.5 percent of the 2012 budget to about 15.5 percent of the fiscal year 2020 budget to “provide the Town with the financial tools it may need to navigate through difficult or uncertain economic periods,” Palladino wrote.

Harbor commission chair Robert Murphy reported that his commission has plans to modify the Sheffield Street facility with hopes of completing that project by the end of fiscal year 2019-20.

Superintendent of Schools Jan Perruccio reported as districtwide accomplishments that Old Saybrook Public Schools, with the support of a new bilingual teacher, had increased the number of English language learners who reached proficiency.

She continued that all of the district’s 4th to 12th grade faculty were trained in restorative disciplinary practices in 2018 to 2019, with younger grades and paraeducators set to be trained from 2019 to 2020.

Fortuna dedicated this year’s annual report to the Esty siblings — Susan, Richard, and Janis — who respectively chair the Parks & Recreation Commission, Conservation Commission, and Planning Commission. He gave them an award thanking them for years of service and emphasized that Old Saybrook’s form of government depends on local volunteers.