Agenda for May 6 (Virtual) Conservation Commission Special Meeting

The Conservation Commission (acting as the Inland Wetland and Watercourse Agency) will hold a Special Meeting on Wednesday, May 6, at 7:00 p.m.  This is a virtual meeting that will take place on Zoom.  To view the agenda or see instructions on how to attend the virtual meeting, click here. The Commission has received three handouts which will be shared at the meeting with regard to 622 Hamburg Road; these handouts can be viewed here, here, and here.

First Selectman Issues Public Health Advisory Update

Yesterday, April 23, was the one-month anniversary of our closure of Town buildings in response to the public health emergency. Within two days of that closure, Lyme experienced its first case of COVID-19. Today, we still have only that one confirmed case, although it’s important to keep in mind there could always be unconfirmed cases where people were unable to get tested or exhibited only minor symptoms.

The good news is that total cases in New London County remain relatively low compared to original expectations and to other parts of Connecticut. Social distancing is working to limit the spread. Thank you for your part in making that happen.

However, cases in New London County continue to grow and at an accelerating rate. We have not yet reached the peak of our local curve. The county was adding an average of 2.9 cases per day on April 1; 16.6 cases on April 15; and is averaging 23.4 cases a day today. Total numbers are not extreme, but they are accumulating – with 419 total cases now in the county, including 17 deaths.

In the towns surrounding Lyme, the picture is mostly the same. Old Lyme has 10 positive cases; East Lyme, 35; Salem, 3; and East Haddam, 10. The bigger towns in our county have much greater numbers.

The Town remains prepared should this accelerating trend continue. Our first responders have prepared; supplies have been stockpiled; our most at-risk residents have support; and our government is again operating, with most commissions holding their regular meeting schedules virtually. The Board of Finance has approved next year’s budget without a property tax increase and the Board of Selectmen has approved a Low Interest Rate Program for taxpayers who may have difficulty making timely payments on their next property tax bill which comes due July 1. The Town’s website has more information on these developments.

Inevitably, we will be looking forward to a return to some level of normal operations after the number of new cases falls to a more reasonable level. As with other parts of the state and country, we look forward to reopening the Town when we believe it will be safe. The Board of Selectmen and the COVID-19 Response Team are already planning for this eventuality. We will return slowly with a watchful eye for any potential spikes.

The question the Board of Selectmen has received most frequently during the pandemic is, “Why aren’t the transfer station and recycling center open?” We recognize the inconvenience of having these facilities closed. While residents may be able to drop items off without much social contact, we must also consider the employees who maintain these facilities. These employees must interact at some level to assist residents and, after residents leave, process the materials left. These materials can hold the virus for extended periods of time and we cannot expose our town staff, many of whom are over 60 years of age, to this level of risk.  Please be patient as we try and protect everyone. And remember, Jansky will pick up your recyclables on an every-other-Thursday basis for the fee of $10 a month. 

In closing, thank you for your efforts at staying home and staying safe. We cannot get complacent with our social-distancing efforts. Please continue to show your support for our community by supporting events like the first-responder parade, displaying “hearts” for our front-line workers and engaging in other similar activities being held by our school system.  Let’s use this time to celebrate our wonderful town and the people who live here.  We will get through this … together.

Please take care, stay safe and stay home.

Steven Mattson
First Selectman

 

Town of Lyme Encourages Residents To Participate in Census

The Town of Lyme is encouraging all residents who haven’t participated yet in the U.S. Census to do so now, as our town is currently lagging behind the national and state census response rate at 46.2 percent.  (The current national response rate is 50.7 percent; Connecticut’s response rate is 52.4 percent.)  Census results are the basis for congressional representation and help determine how more than $675 billion in federal funds is distributed to states and communities across the country. Residents can take the Census online at https://2020census.gov.

Town of Lyme Lowers the Interest Rate on Delinquent Taxes for 90 Days, in Accordance with Governor’s Order

To assist Lyme taxpayers who have experienced economic hardship during this period, the Town of Lyme is adopting the Low Interest Rate Program created by the Governor in response to the Coronavirus emergency (as spelled out in Executive Order #7S dated April 1, 2020, and later supplemented by Order #7W dated April 9, 2020).

This program will lower the interest rate charged on overdue tax bills from 18 percent to 3 percent for a period of three months – if the delinquent taxes are paid in full by the end of the three-month period. The three-month period will begin at the time a tax bill becomes due; and the program will apply to all delinquent taxpayers.

For example, for property tax bills coming due on July 1, 2020, the interest charged for the three-month period from July 1 through October 1, 2020, will accrue at an annual rate of 3 percent. Beginning October 2, 2020, the interest rate will revert to the statutory annual 18 percent interest rate retroactively. Any tax bills that remain unpaid on October 2, 2020, will have the statutory interest rate of 18 percent applied for the entire period that bills are past due.

Repaving of Grassy Hill Road & Coach Drive Apr. 20 to May 1

From Monday, April 20, through Friday, May 1, Grassy Hill Road and Coach Drive will be closed to through traffic, due to repaving the Old Lyme portion of the road. Residents who live on these streets will still be able to access their homes, but may need to detour around Rogers Lake depending on the actual location of the paving crew and equipment. There will be traffic control personnel at either end of the construction area to assist local residents. Please bear with the road work while these improvements are being made and use caution when traveling through this area.

Tri-Town First Responders Parade on Apr. 25

On Saturday, April 25, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., there will be a community parade of emergency vehicles and first responders traveling a heart-shaped parade route through Lyme, Salem and East Haddam to honor and thank all essential workers.  To see the flyer outlining the parade route and social-distancing rules to follow, click here.