CT Studios still viable, says town manager
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., Sep. 8, 2011
Despite recent speculations in the media about the future of the Connecticut Studios project, at the Sept. 6 Town Council meeting, Town Manager Matt Galligan assured the councilors that it is still a viable project, but with a recent stipulation issued by Galligan, as well as a potential change to the construction plans. “We’ve come up with a better project,” said Galligan, “a better mousetrap.”
Upon learning that the developers were holding a mortgage on part of the property, Galligan said he made an executive decision to inform the developers that the project bonding would not move forward until the mortgage is removed. With the current bond market, explained Galligan, the existence of the mortgage could undermine the strength of the bond rating and, in turn, deter bond investors. He did indicate, though, that he believes the developers have a new revenue influx pending, which will sufficiently deal with the mortgage issue.
Regarding the construction plan change, Galligan assured the councilors that the plans for the hotel are moving along, but that in the current market, there is no interest for the scheduled restaurants and retail properties. However, there have been recent discussions about the construction of solar panels on approximately 8 acres along the town’s section, as well as on the rooftops. Galligan said that the solar farm would still represent adequate real property taxes to support the TIF, in addition to the personal property taxes that would go to the town.
In other town council business, Director of Public Works Michael Gantick and Jennifer March-Wackers, of the Capital Regional Council of Government, presented information on the future handling of the town’s solid waste and recycling. The council reviewed the pros and cons of the services and prices offered by Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority, the town’s current handler, and Murphy Road, a South Windsor company. The matter will be discussed further at the next meeting.
Town engineer Jeff Doolittle reviewed the projects being submitted for possible federal funding, including sidewalks along Buckland Road, pavement rehabilitation of Governor’s Highway and continued reconstruction on Avery Street. In response to Councilor Kevin McCann’s question as to whether these projects were all on the town’s project list, Doolittle replied yes, except for the sidewalks.
“The sidewalks along Buckland Road to the town center are critical,” said Councilor Cary Prague.
The councilors discussed the $111,000 bid from the consulting firm Plan Matrix to complete an update of the town plan. The state requires the plan to be updated on a regular basis: it was last updated in 2002 at a cost of $100,000, according to Town Planner Michele Lipe. It was agreed that the details of the bid would be further reviewed to determine if any of the proposed work could be omitted or completed in-house.
Dr. Gerald Schwartz, director of Health Services, asked the councilors to consider changes to the town’s health code, which would allow for the inspection of additional businesses, such as nail salons and tattoo parlors. According to Schwartz, there have been recent complaints about certain businesses, but under the current health code, his office cannot respond. He also asked that a fee be associated with the licensing and inspection to give it validation. Councilor M. Saud Anwar, who holds a master’s in public health, stressed the importance of creating a benefit to the business for the licensing. “Every inspection is an educational process,” said Schwartz.