Board of Finance Debates Study for Possible Lymes’ Senior Center Expansion

OLD LYME — Members of the Board of Finance said Tuesday night that they were open to paying for part of the costs of a $30,000 study of the Lymes’ Senior Center’s long-term needs, but members raised concerns of the appropriateness of an architect to carry out that study. “To me it almost sounds like a conflict to have an architect doing a feasibility study and say we need this [architectural work],” said Board of Finance chair Andy Russell at Tuesday’s board meeting. “It sounds like there’s probably other organizations out there that come into senior centers, look at the

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Tim Griswold Sketches Out the Big Picture for Old Lyme’s 2020-21 Budget

OLD LYME — In the eight years since he last worked on a budget as first selectman, Tim Griswold said that one of the most dramatic changes he’s seen as he works on the budget for 2020-21 has been a drop in aid from the state. In Old Lyme’s fiscal year 2010-11 budget, revenue from Education Cost Sharing — the biggest single annual infusion of state money for many towns — was about $605,500. In fiscal year 2017-18, that state funding had dropped to about $205,500. The town’s fiscal year 2018-19 audit showed that number grew to about $241,500. “It’s been dwindling,”

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With Aging Population, Lymes’ Senior Seeks Study of Needs, Possible Expansion

OLD LYME — A special building committee for the Lymes’ Senior Center plans to ask the Board of Finance on February 25 to fund a feasibility study of the long-term needs of the area’s seniors and a possible expansion of their facilities. “There’s a lot of us who are 55 and older,” said Jeri Baker, chair of the Lymes’ Senior Center Building Committee. “There’s just a lot of us. And we’re looking for continued opportunities to learn and be active and grow with other people and be social and to be kind for our much older members at the center,

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Old Lyme Selectmen Discuss Haines Park Bathroom, March Projects

OLD LYME — The Board of Selectmen discussed updates to several town projects at their Tuesday afternoon meeting. The Haines Park Bathroom Committee is expecting to send the project out to bid in March, with the potential to begin work as early as April, Giswold said. Due to an inadequate well servicing the planned bathroom, the project’s scope has been expanded to include a water system and crawl space where water can be stored, Griswold said. That could increase project costs by more than the $150,000 already appropriated for the project during the regular budget cycle. Griswold said that town

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Old Lyme Land Trust Chair, Lawyer, Meet with Berggren on Beaver Flooding

OLD LYME — After nearly two years of asking neighbors to help locate and remove a beaver dam flooding his home and property on Black Hall Pond, Dave Berggren met today with Old Lyme Land Trust Board Chair Mike Kiernan and trust lawyer Thor Holt. Contrary to numerous statements by trapper Robert Comtois, former Flood and Erosion Board chair Todd Machnik and others, that there is a beaver dam on the Land Trust’s Jericho Preserve that is responsible for the flooding, Holt said the first step will be determining if that dam exists. “We don’t know how many dams there

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Old Lyme Affordable Housing Committee Holds First Meeting, Questions 10 Percent Goal

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OLD LYME — The newly-appointed Affordable Housing Exploratory Committee held its first meeting Monday night, with members sharing that they do not think that the town would necessarily be able to meet the statewide goal of 10 percent affordable housing, but that Old Lyme could do more for teachers, service workers, and longtime residents. The committee, appointed by the Board of Selectmen in January, was charged with researching the resources, regulations and issues of affordable housing as they relate to Old Lyme, and to recommend a housing strategy to the town. Committee member Thomas Ortoleva said early in the meeting

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Debt Service, Retirements, Spur First Ever Decrease in Lyme-Old Lyme School Budget

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LYME-OLD LYME — For the first time ever, the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education approved a budget with a 0.05 percent decrease compared to the previous year. The total budget decreased by $18,651 to a total of $35.07 million. “No programs were reduced, no staff members were cut, no facilities projects were shortcut,” said Superintendent Ian Neviaser. “In large part, the decrease is due to a significant decrease in debt service.” Because Lyme-Old Lyme owns the lands and buildings it uses, unlike a municipal district, it also carries its own debt service, allowing the regional district to reduce the overall

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Deny Claim for Overtime Compensation for Custodial and Maintenance Employees

LYME-OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education denied the grievances presented by union representatives claiming 25 hours of unpaid overtime to custodial and maintenance staff. The two grievances were brought by the employees representing a group of nine custodial and maintenance workers. The union — led by custodian Phil Fazzino — argued that any time non-certified staff are called in for, or informed about, overtime work after the end of their previously-scheduled shift, they should be paid a minimum of three hours. The contract between the union and the administration states: “When a full time non-certified employee is

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Budget Hike for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Lowest Ever at .39 Percent

The proposed 2020-21 budget for Lyme-Old Lyme schools calls for an increase of just 0.39 percent, or less than $140,000, the lowest budget increase in the history of the district. “It’s the lowest budget increase on record,” said Superintendent Ian Neviaser. “We are still discussing and are still making a few revisions, so it might go down even more.” Compared to neighboring school districts, the modest increase is all the more striking — the draft budget for East Lyme schools includes an increase of 4.26 percent, Old Saybrook of 0.98 percent and Guilford of 2.14 percent. According to Neviaser, the

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Town Meeting OKs Ethics Amendment, $8,750 for Lyme Academy

OLD LYME — In a brief Annual Town Meeting on Monday night, local residents approved the Annual Town Report, an $8,750 grant to the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, and an amendment to the town’s Ethics Commission ordinance. All the items were approved by voice vote without dissent. About 50 people sat in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School’s auditorium for the meeting, which lasted less than 40 minutes. Griswold explained that the ethics amendment was introduced because commission members had inadvertently failed to appoint members, allowing all but one member appointment to lapse. “The amendment here… the principal thing will be

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