CHESHIRE — The town has experienced its fair share of hardship this past year.
In addition to a global pandemic and an economic slump, the town also dealt with storms that left residents without power for days. Despite that, however, Town Manager Sean Kimball is optimistic about the future.
At a Town Council meeting earlier this month, Kimball unveiled his 2021 goals and objectives for the coming year, which were passed unanimously by the council.
“These goals serve as a template to kind of keep us focused on what’s important,” Councilor Sylvia Nichols said during the April 13 meeting. “The objectives cover items surrounding the pandemic, what we need to do, what we have done, how we need to be promoting the vaccine and leading the community through that...In the economic development area we have objectives to work on, (such as) the north end utilities expansion and the parcel of the D.O.T (Department of Transportation) conveyance property. We are hopefully going to be hiring a coordinator for economic development grant writing…”
Nichols also touched on the numerous capital projects that the town has embarked on or will be starting in the next year, including the Bartlem South project, updating the towns public radio system, and completing the facility assessment and master capital plan for the Cheshire Community Pool.
According to the plan, five key goals are to be addressed by the Town in the next year.
“Goal one is to manage the Town of Cheshire’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to protect the health and safety of our residents and businesses while maintaining a full complement of municipal services and best positioning the Town for a strong post-pandemic local economy,” the plan reads.
Some of the key objectives in this area include tracking pandemic-related town expenditures that are eligible for FEMA reimbursement; expanding public access to all town buildings and support the vaccine effort by the local health district.
The second goal, which has to do with finance, is to “ensure the continued strength and stability of Town finances through disciplined financial management and conservative budgeting practices.” Some of the key objectives are to seek creative solutions to reduce spending and increase revenue while maintaining town services.
Goal three, focused on economic development, calls for “supporting strategic and targeted efforts to grow the Town’s grand list to lessen the tax burden on residents and existing businesses.” Objectives include increasing publicity and visibility of the council’s adopted TIF (tax increment financing) District and Master Plan.
The fourth goal is to advance all key capital projects, such as upgrading school buildings.
The fifth and final goal is related to “Town Operations/Customer Service/Communications” which sets out to “improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of Town services with a focus on enhancing the user experience for residents, businesses, and visitors.”
These key objectives include items such as implementing an online job application system, improving capital project management and oversight, including formalizing a process for legal contract review, and completing the upgrades made to the brand new town website.