1. Roads are likely to be slippery this morning as temperatures drop, refreezing puddles and slush. Be extra careful during the morning commute until about mid-morning and keep an eye out for black ice.
Weather.com is predicting a mostly cloudy but dry day otherwise, with high temperatures of 42 degrees dropping to 20 degrees tonight. Snow showers are in the forecast again late tonight.
2. Old Lyme mystery author David Handler will be giving a talk at Killingworth Library tonight in the meeting room at 7 p.m. Handler is the author of 20 novels, including his newest, The Snow White Christmas Cookie, which was released in October, 2012. He was originally scheduled to speak at the library last fall but Superstorm Sandy put the kibbosh on that event. Tonight, there's a chance that snow may do the same again. The snowdate for Handler's talk is January 24 but in the meantime, if you'd like to .
3. East Lyme Board of Selectmen is still on the fence about approving a noise ordinance, and for a variety of reasons. One of the bigger sticking points is a town charter and state statute requirement that any proposed ordinance be published in print, in full, in the daily paper of record. Publishing the pages-long proposal would cost about $7,000. That would eat up the lion's share of the town's budget for required published legal notices through June.
"I think this is a very good ordinance but just looking at our budget for legal, we would have $10,000 left for all of our boards and commissions," said Selectwoman Rose Ann Hardy.
Selectman Rob Wilson said that, even though he thought the seven-page ordinance created by the town attorney was well-crafted, there were still a number of "gray areas" that come with the territory that had historically made the board reluctant to pass such an ordinance.
Deputy First Selectman Mark Nickerson said that while he was sympathetic to the problem of noise pollution, he was concerned about the number of variances to allow for events, concerts, and firework displays that typically abound around Niantic during the summer season, including those that are organized by the town itself.
Selectmen Kevin Seery, who is also the resident state trooper for Salem, said that there is already a state statute regarding creating a public disturbance that specifically addresses "unreasonable noise," which could be used to deal with noise issues. Seery and a number of board members said they would be in favor of purchasing decibel meters for the East Lyme Police Department to help make such cases in court. "Regardless of whether we move forward with the ordinance, officers should have decibel meters," Seery said.
The proposal remains on the agenda, but the general consensus at this point seems to be to purchase decibel meters to help East Lyme Police Department enforce existing laws.
4. Now that Lyme has raised nearly $1 million toward the $4.7 million town campus construction project, the Lyme Board of Selectmen is beginning to consider the logistics required for expediting construction of a new public library/community center and the renovations planned for town hall.
At the last board of selectmen meeting, Selectman Steve Mattson proposed an accelerated timeframe that would allow work to begin on both buildings simultaneously. This would mean bringing in office trailers for town hall staff working in the annex section of the building and the loss of meeting space in town hall.
The board felt, however, that though this would mean finding alternative meeting sites for "a considerable period of time," the potential savings arising from constructing both projects simultanously would make it worth doing, despite the inconvenience.
5. In Connecticut, landfills have all but been phased out. Old Lyme's landfill conversion is now complete and Lyme's Board of Selectmen recently voted to ask the Board of Finance for an additional appropriation of up to $14,200 to prepare construction documents to go out to bid for the next phase of converting its landfill to a transfer station.
Meanwhile, East Lyme Board of Selectmen last night voted to empower First Selectman Paul Formica to extend the agreement the town has with the Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resource Recovery Authority (SCRRRA) another 15 months to February 2017.
Since 1985, the regional trash-to-energy plant in Preston has processed solid waste for 11 towns, including East Lyme, burning trash and capturing that energy which it then sells to Connecticut Light and Power for a fixed (and good) price of 25 cents per kilowatt. Extending the contract allows the town and SCRRRA to capitalize on that, and the authority recently lowered the tipping fee to all towns from $60 per ton to $58 per ton.
This particular decision was a no-brainer. As SCRRRA also offers transfer station support, a tub grinder to mulch timber (much needed since Sandy), single stream recycling, and hazardous household waste collection, all at a cost benefit to the town, there's really nothing to lose here but garbage.