News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, November 15, 2018
Is ‘dump’ really the best word to use?

by Rich Hewitt

With an agenda full of new and previously discussed business, the Stonington selectmen met November 5, taking up issues such as the possible renaming of the “Dump Road” to something a little more becoming of its nascent full service transfer station, and dimming the lights at Hagen Dock.

Dump the “Dump” Road?

At the urging of Selectman John Robbins, the selectmen will consider changing the name of the Dump Road. He argued that it didn’t seem appropriate to call the road the “Dump Road” given the time, effort and money the town has spent to upgrade the facility.

“Can’t we change the sign?” Robbins asked. “It’s not a dump. We’ve spent millions of dollars up there. It’s a transfer station.”

Some possible new names included Transfer Station Road and Turner Farm Road, but the selectmen took no action. The change can’t happen immediately. While the town can change the name of the road, Billings said, it will have to work with the E-911 system in order to do so.

Salt and sand shed

Plans for the town’s salt/sand shed are nearing completion and could be ready to go out to bid this fall. Billings and Robbins are scheduled to meet with engineer Andrew McCullough next week to review those plans. If everything is in order, the plans could go to the full board as early as mid-November for final approval. Contractors have a backlog of work due to a shortage of crews, Billings said, so even if the town awards the bid this year, it’s likely that the project will go on a wait list with whichever contractor gets the contract.

Foreclosure list

Selectmen reviewed the list of properties that the town has foreclosed on this year. There are nine properties on the list and the total owed, including taxes, interest and fees, is $8,029.13. The town now owns those properties, but selectmen affirmed the town’s policy of working with the former property owners to restore their ownership. Billings explained that policy allows the former property owner to purchase back the property by paying all back taxes as well as the interest and the fees. That has to be done in a timely manner. The other options are for the town to keep the property if it has a municipal use or to sell it through a public bid process. Selectmen will likely make a decision on what to do with those properties at their next meeting.

Hagen Dock Lights

It will cost upwards of $20,000 to change the light heads on the new street lights on Hagen Dock. That’s according to an estimate from C.L. Haskell & Son. Haskell put the cost of replacing the 10 existing light heads with radiant LED Pendant Mounts at $1,833.67 each plus $400 in labor for a total cost of $22,260 plus shipping.

The selectmen have been looking for alternatives to the existing lighting plan on the dock which was installed as part of the renovation of the dock. Some residents living near the dock and business owners have complained about the glare from the lights and a group presented a petition earlier this year asking the selectmen to do something to reduce the amount of light from the dock.

Selectmen are also considering the possibility of turning off half of the lights on the dock and adding dimmers to the light system, both less expensive options, but both likely to cost several thousand dollars.