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By Shirley Murtha
At its April 20 meeting, the Board of Selectmen was asked by two residents (Gerald Ledger and Mark Migliaccio) to look into the Central Connecticut State University study indicating that Granby engaged in racial profiling in conducting traffic stops. Town Manager Bill Smith subsequently met with members of the university department who collected and evaluated the data, collected from October 2013 through October 2014.
The discussion made it clear that some errors in compiling and interpreting the data existed. For example, many of the people being stopped by the police were passing through town, not residents, so the comparison to the percentage of minority Granby residents was inaccurate. Also, in one instance, the number of stops had been accidentally counted twice.
Corrections were made and the end result of the study committee was amended to note that there was no evidence of bias in the actions of any Granby police department officers. Chief Carl Rosensweig also addressed this report, saying that Granby always has and always will participate in the Department of Justice training programs regarding fair and impartial practices and assured the Town Manager that there is no evidence of racial profiling in the Granby police department.
During his remarks, Migliaccio also questioned why the police department, while receiving accreditation through 2009, had not been reaccredited in 2010. He also noted that some neighboring towns have citizen-based police commissions to give an added layer of oversight and wondered if that wouldn't be a good idea in Granby.
Sewer Use Rates Set
Sitting as the Granby Water Pollution Control Authority, the BOS approved new rates for sewer usage for 2015-16. The Town of Granby is required to charge residents who use this service, and the nearly 10 percent increases this year are totally dependent on what the town pays Simsbury for the use of its facility that was recently upgraded. The Wolcott Road pump station also must be renovated.
The new rates are as follows: a minimum of $190.58 per 55,000 gallons residential use and $266.70 per 100,000 gallons commercial and industrial use. Anything above these amounts will be charged at 16 cents per gallon.
Transfer of Uncollected Taxes to Suspense Account
Each year, after reasonable effort has been made to collect personal property taxes, the amount remaining delinquent is transferred to the Suspense Account. Almost always, these are motor vehicle taxes and they remain collectable as residents cannot re-register their vehicles until these taxes are paid. This year, the amount transferred is $22,911.28.
Funding Hazardous Waste Collection
The town participates with Avon, Canton and Simsbury to properly dispose of hazardous wastes twice a year. The BOS approved appropriating $5,000 for this project, a reduction in last year's $8,000 cost. Dates of collection are June 13 and Nov. 7 from 8 a.m. to noon at 66 Town Forest Road in Simsbury.
Grant Application for Rural Road Speed Enforcement
The State of Connecticut offers grants to assist with speed enforcement on high risk rural roads for the months of July and August. Towns are reimbursed for expenses involved in this pursuit, including equipment such as radar and overtime for officers. The amount is not to exceed $34,000. Granby spent $19,000 last year and expects approximately the same amount this year. The board approved application for this grant.
Events Approved for Alcohol Consumption in Park
Events occurring on April 25 from 5 to 9 p.m. and Sept. 5 from 5 p.m. until midnight were approved by the board for alcohol consumption. These events had been vetted by the park and police departments prior to BOS approval.
Resignations and Appointments
Resignations: Neil Kraner from Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission, Ben Perron from the Board of Education and Russ St. John as Granby's representative to the Greater Hartford Transit District.
Appointments: John Laudati to the IWWC and Stephen Royer to replace Ben Perron.