This last month has been a whirlwind of change. Our world is different from the one we inhabited just a few weeks ago. Many things have changed, been adapted or stopped all together. It was very sudden. It has created stress, anxiety and questions of what’s next. Thankfully, it has also created opportunities. Opportunities to spend more time with family, to appreciate the little things as important or to exhibit random acts of kindness. We have an opportunity to remember even though things have changed; we are strong, we are community and we will march on.
In that mindset here is an update on the Town Council, where we were and where we are going.
Before our current reality unfolded, we were moving forward positively on many long-term issues such as sewer, development, transportation, cannabis, town infrastructure and more. We were proud to welcome our new Town Manager, Barry Tibbetts, who has been a positive asset to Windham. The Manager’s budget he introduced not only solves problems that have been lingering for years but did so with virtually no, if any, impact to the municipal tax rate.
Two issues to highlight that the budget addresses are space needs and roads. As we grow as a town, additional space is needed for staff and services. Our town hall and public safety personnel operateout of buildings designed for a fraction of those who use them now. We must take care of those who take care of us. We also have many miles of public roads that need updating. Long neglected, they have been put into a long-term plan to bring them up to the standard they deserve. This plan started 2 years ago with Brand Rd and the current budget proposes to keep putting funds into these other roads until we are done. It will still be many years before this task is complete, but we have a plan in place for those residents who have long petitioned the town to do something about it.
Many other things that were being worked on are still being worked on. Growth management is at the top of that list. We have heard for years that growth is a concern and residence have been asking for policies to help protect us from explosive and uncontrolled growth. The Long Range Planning Committee has been working with staff diligently behind the scenes to bring forward new recommendations for the Council to consider and enact. While we have been slowed during the last month, we have not been stopped. There can be frustration on how long things take, especially with growth issues, but we are moving forward, and we will not stop.
The next Town Council meeting will be on Tuesday, April 14th at 6:30 p.m. We will be meeting via Zoom and the meeting will be broadcast on our TV station, Town website and Facebook as always. One of our first items will be adopting specific rules of order for an online meeting so they can be efficient and effective.
An important part of meetings has always been public input and that will not be stifled during this time. Although adapted, public participation will be accepted. Here is how you can take part if you like:
The agenda for the meeting is posted on the Town website and Facebook page and available for review. If you see something you would like to comment on or offer feedback, you have multiple ways to do so.
You can email the Council your thoughts on an issue and if you would like, please note you would like the email read into the record during public participation or during that agenda item.
You can join the Zoom meeting via computer or tablet and when the time is offered, speak at the virtual meeting and share your thoughts. If you do not have a computer or tablet, you can also dial into the meeting via telephone.
Please keep in mind we request all statements and correspondence to be stated at 3 minutes or less.
The Zoom meeting information for joining will be posted on the Town Website and Facebook page. Will it be different? Yes. Will it be awkward? Sometimes. Will it be successful? Yes.
These are strange and difficult times but at the end of this we need to look back and say we did what we needed to do, we marched on and we made it through. As my late grandmother would tell me, “This too shall pass”. She was right, it always did. This will too.
In the meantime, stay healthy, stay involved and stay kind.