December 31, 2011

The Top 10 Stories of 2011: No. 2 - Tax Rate Goes Down - Vernon, CT Patch

The Top 10 Stories of 2011: No. 2 - Tax Rate Goes Down - Vernon, CT Patch: Vernon Patch is taking a look back at 10 stories that sum up life in town during 2011.

Here is No. 3 - Taxes

Vernon Patch is taking a look back at 10 stories that sum up life in town during 2011.Here is No. 3 - Taxes.So those tax bills that just came in the mail? Check out the bottom line. That number should be lower than the previous bill. That's because the tax rate dropped from the 2010-11 level of 30.02 mills to 29.9 mills for the 2011-12 fiscal year.The current $79,293,749 budget represents an increase of $572,290 - or .73 percent - over the 2010-11's $78.7 million spending package. Education accounts for $47.4 million, down .2 percent; general government $25.5 million, down .38 percent; and debt service $6.2 million, up 13.96 percent.

Face the State Connecticut Mayor McCoy on Connecticut Light and Power's ...

December 26, 2011

Face The State Live- Winter Storm Alfred Aftermath - Connecticut Mayors and Congressman


December 9, 2011

Zahner's Clothiers: Jason McCoy is being fitted to a made to measure s...

Zahner's Clothiers: Jason McCoy is being fitted to a made to measure s...: Rick Riccio, the salesperson for Skip Gambert Shirts, and Scott Zahner are doing the measuring. The Skip Gambert Company is located in New J...

November 8, 2011

Fox Video CL& P won't get wires off roads in Vernon Connecticut

Fox Video CL& P won't get wires off roads in Vernon 

Mayor: CL& P Not Much Help As He Tries To Cope

Vernon's Mayor: CL&P Isn't Much Help As He Tries To Cope
November 03, 2011Rick Green
"VERNON — — Day five of the Halloween storm disaster, and this is Mayor Jason McCoy's life: Generators at the sewer plant and water company are about to blow, the emergency shelter is almost full, two dozen streets are still blocked, and lines are down at more than 200 locations.

"There have been more than 500 calls from residents about trees or wires in the road.
If there's no generator at the water plant, there's no water in homes. If the generator fails at the sewer plant, sewage will back up into houses, more than 90 percent of which were still without power Thursday afternoon.
On Thursday evening, the town council held an emergency session to approve a $420,000 appropriation from an emergency fund to help pay for the emergency.
But what's his biggest problem?
It's getting Connecticut Light & Power to answer his questions."
"They can't give you any answers to any questions,'' said McCoy, a lawyer who is leaving office to make a long-shot run for U.S. Senate. "We've got people trapped in neighborhoods. My biggest frustration is we are not able to do what we need to do."
It's not hard to understand McCoy's frustration. When I asked CL&P Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Butler about this problem at a press conference Thursday evening, he responded, "There have been issues."
Yes, we can all agree on that one.
In a town office on Thursday I listened as McCoy tried to explain to the town's liaison from CL&P that power for the water company is a bigger priority than finding electricity on Election Day. Meanwhile, a restaurant owner on Route 83 called in to complain that the power outage is bankrupting him.
This is the new reality for administrators such as McCoy in the towns hard hit by last Saturday's snowstorm. A politically ambitious and outspoken Republican, McCoy told me he can't believe the most basic needs of his community, like removing all downed trees and wires from blocked roads, aren't being met.
Before a tree that's resting on wires can by cut up and removed, a CL&P crew has to make sure the wires aren't live. McCoy said he's been unable to get CL&P to come to the streets that remain blocked.
I rode with McCoy and Fire Chief William Call out to the Merline Road neighborhood, where massive oak trees, entrangled in utility wires, barricaded the roads. I could see why a house fire could be a disaster.
"Here's a whole neighborhood where we can't get a firetruck or an ambulance through,'' Call said as McCoy added that this was one the two dozen locations that he said were a priority. Near Seneca and Irene drives we find homeowners cutting wood and the constant hum of generators. McCoy and Call worry that with the wires on lawns, streets and sidewalks, and sagging from poles, residents are no longer taking the danger seriously."

""We've been trapped in our house since Saturday," Suzanne Thrall told McCoy when we walked by her house. "We can't even get a contractor or an insurance adjuster up here."
"Every time I call CL&P I get different stories," Thrall tells McCoy. "We say we should be on a priority list because we are trapped. They say there is no priority list.''
We moved on and listened to complaints from other neighbors, all of them astonished that their streets were still blocked — not to mention their houses still dark — five days after a snowstorm everyone knew was coming.
On Thursday, Vernon's CL&P liaison told McCoy that she had expected repair trucks to be all over town by now, which made him laugh when he told me the story. It's a tale McCoy chose not to tell when he spoke to residents camped out at the town's middle school later in the day.
Over at the middle-school-turned-emergency-center, where 200 people are sleeping on cots and hundreds show up to eat, drink a cup of coffee or join a bingo game, McCoy stood on a table and told the crowd he didn't expect all power to be restored until a week from Sunday. That's seven days after CL&P's prediction of full restoration.
"The shelter will be open until we can get everything working,'' McCoy said. "We are trying to do the best we can for you."
Right now, that's nowhere near enough.

November 3, 2011

Connecticut Mayor McCoy Opens VCMS shelter home to many during blackout

Connecticut Mayor Jason McCoy, Connecticut Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman
speaks with Ryan, 9, and Kejuan, 10, at the town's shelter at
Vernon Center Middle School on Nov. 3.
Photos by Steve Smith

Many Vernon residents sought aid during the power outage caused by the Oct. 29 snowstorm at the shelter at Vernon Center Middle School.

Emergency Management Director Michael Purcaro said the shelter had maxed out at 200 beds on Tuesday, but an additional 100 cots (and pillows and blankets) came in from the National Guard.

Youth and Family Services Director Alan Slobodien said more than 200 people were staying at the shelter on a regular basis during the week after the storm, but more than 500 have been coming for meals. Many employees of the Town of Vernon and Vernon Public Schools manned the shelter—helping to distribute meals, assist those with special needs, and organizing games and activities for children.

There were also electronics charging terminals and a video game station (not surprisingly populated largely by teen and pre-teen boys).

Mayor Jason McCoy periodically visited the shelter, to give updates on the town’s power restoration. “There’s an estimate of Sunday [for 99 percent restoration],” McCoy said Thursday. “I don’t see that happening by Sunday, with the number of power lines we have that are down. We’re doing the best that we can, and the shelter will remain open. My estimate is about 14 days from the day of the storm — that’s the bad news — but we’ll see.”

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman visited the shelter on the afternoon of Nov. 5. “It’s amazing… wonderful,” she said of the shelter and its volunteers, and gave them a round of applause. “We know how blessed we really are,” Wyman said. “While you’re here, you’ve got great company, great people, and — like I keep saying to people — keep the faith.”

Wyman also reminded people that if they returned to their homes and used generators, they should make sure they are kept outside, since the greatest danger currently is due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Northeast School students Kejuan, 10 , and Ryan, 9, spoke with Wyman, and said they appreciated her visit. “It’s good that we get to see her, and that she took the time to actually come here,” Kejuan said.

“It was nice meeting her, and it was nice having her time,” Ryan said. “She’s doing a lot of good stuff.”

Slobodien said the mood of people at the shelter has been upbeat. “Everybody’s been real helpful and working together,” he said, adding that the pleasant weather saw most people going elsewhere during the daytime.

Slobodien said he also wasn’t sure if CL&P’s estimates would be accurate, but the shelter would be there as long as needed.

“It may be for a while, but we’re here for the duration,” he said.

August 5, 2011

Connecticut Mayor McCoy poised to make a U.S. Senate run; will decide whether to enter the race by the end of the month - Capitol Watch

Connecticut Mayor McCoy poised to make a U.S. Senate run; will decidewhether to enter the race by the end of the month

Mayor McCoy with his Son and Daughter 
Mayor Jason McCoy knows it would be an enormous jump to go from running a town of about 46,000 people to joining the World's Most Exclusive Club.

But he says the knowledge he gleaned as mayor of Vernon would help him immensely as a U.S. Senator. The 40-year-old Republican is exploring a run for the seat currently held by Se. Joseph Lieberman.

 "I think it's important that people who are elected to the Senate have some type of executive experience,'' McCoy said on a recent afternoon, a week or so after announcing his exploratory bid. "I have an understanding of what it takes to manage a government.''

McCoy, a married father of three, is one of the GOP's "Twitter Mayors." Like Danbury's Mark Boughton, he maintains an active presence on the social network. He also has deep roots in Vernon; his grandfather was mayor of Rockville for eight years, and McCoy himself ran three times for state representative (he was defeated each time.)

Vernon is a mid-sized suburban town with Rockville, a small city, at its core. It is, says McCoy, a microcosm of Connecticut. He is just finishing up four years as the community's mayor, a post that pays $20,000 annually. He announced last month that he would not seek reelection and will instead, focus on his exploratory Senate bid.

McCoy is a trial lawyer by profession. He described his political philosophy as fiscally conservative with a libertarian streak. When it comes to taxes and spending, he says he believes "you have to get it done with what you have.''

That's a philosophy he says employed as Vernon's mayor. During his tenure, he lowered taxes, completed bridge reconstructions and other public works projects paid for with surplus funds from other cost reductions and presided over a decrease in the crime rate.  

McCoy's relative youth -- especially for the U.S. Senate -- raises the question of whether he might want to wait a bit. "You can always wait, but experience has nothing to do with age'' he said, adding that he has received "a lot of support and encouragement" since announcing his exploratory bid.

He said he intends to decide by the end of the month whether to enter the race.


July 30, 2011

Connecticut Mayor Announces may Explore US Senate Race But Not 3rd Term as Mayor Friday July 22, 2011

Mayor Jason McCoy on Friday said he will not seek a third term as the town's chief executive and will spend some time with his family and law practice. Then, he said, he will explore a run for the U.S. Senate.  McCoy's speech at a late-afternoon news conference was short - just 231 words - and to the point.  Here is the text of Mayor Jason McCoy's speech on Friday, when he announced he would not seek a third term as the town's chief executive.

“Good afternoon,
First let me thank the residents of Vernon for allowing me to serve as their Mayor for the last four years.
I have invited you here today to announce that I have decided to spend more time with my family, focus on my career as a lawyer, and to exploring a run for the United States Senate. Its now time I move on, I do not think I can manage the Town of Vernon, and at the same time - spending time with my family, focus on my practice and if I decide after exploring the run for the US Senate, then working towards the convention and then the election election in 2012.  Three maybe but not all four. 

In Vernon, over the last four years, we have lowered taxes, we have reduced the cost of government, we have reduced spending in real dollars, and we have changed the economic environment to promote job opportunity and economic growth while expanding the tax base.

Part of this success has been due to the election of fiscal conservatives to the Vernon Town Council and Vernon Board of Education.
Going forward, our Country needs clear direction:
• To fix the economy.

• Create job opportunities.

• Lower unemployment.

• Control spending.

• Reduce debt and borrowing.

• End over regulation of every aspect of American life that crushes American creativity, one of the symptoms of the failing economy.

And maybe someone who can say ‘no’. Ask any Mayor of First Selectman.

Finally, it is vitally import that we elect those who support our military, national security and national intelligence to protect American vested interests at home and abroad.

I want to thank the residents of Vernon for allowing me to serve as their Mayor.

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July 22, 2011

Connecticut Mayor Announces May Explore US Senate Race But Not 3rd Term as Mayor Friday July 22 2011

Good afternoon

First let me thank the citizens of Vernon for allowing me to serve as their Mayor for the last four years

I have invited you here today to announce that
I have decided to spend more time with my family,
To focus on my career as a lawyer

To explore a run for the United States Senate.

It is now time that I move onto the next level. I have done all I can do here. I cannot do more than these three things and manage Vernon, so I will be focusing on my career, my family, the convention then the 2012 election.

In Vernon Over the last 4 years, we have lowered taxes, we have reduced the cost of government, we have reduced spending in real dollars, and we have changed the economic environment to promote job opportunity and economic growth while expanding the tax base.

Part of this success has been due to the election of fiscal conservatives to the Vernon Town Council and Vernon Board of Education.

Going forward, this Country needs clear direction:
• To fix the economy
• Create job opportunities
• Lower unemployment
• Control spending
- Reduce debt and borrowing
• End over regulation of every aspect of American life that crushes American creativity which is one of the symptoms of the failing economy

And maybe someone who can say no

Finally, it is vitally import that we elect those who support our military and national intelligence to protect American vested interests at home and abroad.

I want to thank the citizens of Vernon for allowing me to serve a their Mayor

I will be making a more formal announcement in the weeks to come. But right now we are focusing on our Convention on Tuesday.

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July 15, 2011

The TALK of Connecticut - Mayor of Vernon Jason McCoy

The TALK of Connecticut: "Mayor of Vernon Jason McCoy"

He heard the most bizzare statement on the news.The governor's departments are recommensing service reductions without staff reductions.

IN OTHER WORDS - The New York Times -- "It would be too much to say that the recent election was a loud gong signifying nothing. But if it signified much, it is hard to see what."

IN OTHER WORDS - The New York Times: "It would be too much to say that the recent election was a loud gong signifying nothing. But if it signified much, it is hard to see what."

“It would be too much to say that the recent election was a loud gong signifying nothing. But if it signified much, it is hard to see what.” This was a November 7, 2007 article that was written in the Journal Inquirer by the Editorial Staff.

After that election, I called the Editor and told him I would be happy to explain what change we were working towards. At that time there was no interest. Had I had the opportunity I would have explained what I am re-capping now. In the four years since that election, we have accomplished those “changes”. I believe it is much more that a gong signifying nothing.  The Town of Vernon had come off of 16 consecutive budgets that could not pass over a four year period, each year the Town actually was operating on its reserves because it could not collect taxes without a 30 day tax warrant. Mainly that was due to failure of the government officials to examine labor, debt, pension, personal rules, waste in service delivery, waste in energy, wasteful staffing departmental collaborative efforts and spending money without assessing if that would reduce future budgets and borrowing money before paying down or retiring debt and absolutely no interworking collaborative efforts by the Town Government Administration and the Board of Education Administration. 

 For some reason prior to the 2007 election, Government Officials did not recognize that the Town of Vernon budget ultimately goes to the taxpayers for approval.

In recognition of all those issues during the past four years ever labor contract has be negotiated and re-written, the Town’s pensions have been reformed, pensions and benefits for new employees have been reformed which changes the structure of that cost, energy and fuel usage is down due to energy policies being implemented, departments now share and cross over in service delivery, the tax rate has been reduced in three budgets, taxes have been reduced for everyone in 2011, actual spending had gone down, staffing has been reduced. Access and accountability through softer ware applications and web based services have allowed instant access government officials and complaint tracking by the public. Management software application has been implemented and the financial and accounting system has been brought up to date. The municipal bond rating has been improved.

All staff replacements hired after retirements have had some type of private sector experience. Productivity has increased.

We have reduced the crime rate by 16 %- we have safer streets, we have finished 14 year old bridge projects we have safer streets, we have began a public infrastructure investment through expense reductions with new roads and a plan to complete the remaining roads - we have safer streets.

Our students scores have increased – we have better schools, we have completed our school building projects- we have better schools, we have began management of the school facilities through the municipality so the school system can concentrate on education and curriculum-- we have better schools, we have a new superintendant of schools who focuses on education and education of children but understands that taxpayers pay the bill- we have better schools.

We have cut the tax rate three out of 4 years and in 2011 we reduced taxes for every one taxpayer– we have lower taxes.

We have the safest streets, we have the best schools, we have the lowest taxes, and real spending is reduced and controlled.

This is my response to the November 11, 2007 article.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Mayor

Jason L. McCoy

The Journal Inquirer, Nov. 7 2007 "

July 8, 2011

Vernon Connecticut Just Imagine: $218,000 in budget reductions

By Jason L. McCoy

Imagine: $218,000 in cost reductions
I opened a recent Vernon Town Council meeting, as I have done for last two years, by giving an executive summary of where the town is, projects being worked on, events I have participated in, and general progress of the town.

I shared what I thought was great news. I informed the council that we saved $90,000 by moving non-union employees to Heath Savings Accounts; that cleaning contracts were re-bid, reducing that cost by $20,000; that we have set in motion the move to P-Cards, electronic purchasing, and implementation of permissions and codes, resulting in savings of $108,000, not to mention the time reduction spent by staff under the old process.

Imagine that: $218,000 in cost reductions.

Good news, right? Maybe a smooth night at a Vernon Town Council meeting.
Oh no, not quite.

Not a single comment, concern, or request about those savings by Councilwoman Marie Herbst and her gang.

But the Herbst gang did move to the usual innuendo and misstatements, soaring off track into a grammar school test on the definition of the word “intern,” moving on to complain about photographs at Vernon parades and events.


I want Vernon citizens to know that these savings occur because this administration pushes forward (yes, I do mean push) on a regular basis — not at the last minute, not on the day before the municipal budget is due, but regularly.

We continuously move forward on policy initiatives and changes to achieve cost reductions or savings, to spur economic growth and fiscal responsibility with your tax money.

I guess at this point it may seem commonplace under my administration, maybe even expected — and it should be. But these are not simple matters and are not commonplace in government. They require persistence, long-term planning, and careful consideration as to impacts and implications in other areas such as labor relations.

The cost reductions listed above, along with forward thinking and persistence on a regular basis over the past four years, have come in handy allowing Vernon to be ahead of the state of Connecticut’s revenue curveball thrown at every municipality around the state each year. The state’s revenue curveball has come every year when the legislature will not finalize a budget or they cannot get spending on labor to fall in line with proposed or adopted budgets, or labor concessions have not come through.

Connecticut municipality budgeting requirements do not allow municipalities to set budgets the way the state plays. This governor has made it clear that he likes the municipal budget rules as opposed to the state budget game, but I digress.

Let me point out that since being elected by Vernon citizens in 2007, I have never complained about the debt situation incurred before I took office as mayor. I handled it, budgeted for it, and made sure we paid it, while improving our credit rating; we have even reduced it, through early repayment at one point.


Simply stated, I ran for this position. I have never complained about the extremely generous union contracts that were handed out before I was elected to the 15-plus labor unions.

I have patiently waited until contracts came up for negotiation and meticulously renegotiated contracts for the benefit of Vernon citizens and the employees because the interests of both groups actually meet when you consider the future affordability.

I am proud to tell you that it looks like we saved you $218,000. If we don’t get a curveball and revenue comes in as predicted, we can accelerate capital improvements and reduce the next budget or maybe pay some debt off.

Tell those folks who polarize everything to pay attention to what counts — your services and your money.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Mayor.

Mayor Jason L. McCoy

July 1, 2011

Fireworks July in the Sky- June 30, 2011 | Journal Inquirer

Fireworks July in the Sky- June 30, 2011 Journal Inquirer: "Caption: Fireworks explode over the crowd gathered at Henry Park during 'July in the Sky at Henry Park' on Thursday June 30, 2011. (Leslloyd F. Alleyne / Journal Inquirer). "

Arts center breaks ground | ReminderNews

Arts center breaks ground ReminderNews: "Mayor Jason McCoy and other town and Vernon Community Arts Center officials throw dirt into the air as part of the ground-breaking ceremony for the center's reconstruction on June 30. Photos by Steve Smith"

Arts center breaks ground | ReminderNews

Arts center breaks ground ReminderNews: "Arts center breaks ground"

'July in the Sky' delivers on promise of fun | ReminderNews

'July in the Sky' delivers on promise of fun ReminderNews: "'July in the Sky' delivers on promise of fun"

May 3, 2011

Senate Democrats To Approve Gov. Malloy's Tax Hike - Courant. OUCH!!!

Senate Democrats To Approve Gov. Malloy's Budget - "Tax-Increase State Budget, Approved 19-17 In Senate, Goes To House Today"

Vernon Connecticut: Thoughts on the Budget - Vernon, CT Patch

April 29, 2011: Thoughts on the Budget - Vernon, CT Patch: "April 29, 2011: Thoughts on the Budget
Town officials share their thoughts after the Annual Town Meeting."

Here are five quotes on the $79,293,749 budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year approved at the Annual Town Meeting this week. The adoption of the budget at the Vernon Annual Town Meeting marks the first time in 12 years that the budget was not sent to a referendum. The budget lowers the tax rate from 30.02 mills to 29.9 mills.

1. Deputy Mayor Brian Motola: “Vernon's residents and taxpayers will be very happy with the spending plan put together by the mayor, the Town Council and the Board of Education. Taxes will not increase while services will remain intact. We took into account what Joe and Jane Taxpayer are experiencing in this economic climate and what is best for Vernon."

2. Police Chief James Kenny: “The Vernon Police department is grateful that the citizens supported the upcoming budget and we will continue to provide the best possible services to the community with the funding provided.”

3. Fire Chief William Call: "The Fire Department is very pleased that the mayor’s administration has addressed its needs, including safety equipment, uniforms and fire apparatus. We are pleased that the people in attendance at the Town Meeting overwhelmingly approved the proposed budget presented to them."

4. Superintendent of Schools Mary Conway: "I am delighted with the passing of the 2011-2012 budget at the annual town meeting. “The budget is fair and reasonable and allows the school system to maintain current class sizes and services to children in the schools. I am especially appreciative of the support and hard work of the board of education, the administrative team, the town council, and the mayor who united as a team to prepare and promote this budget.”

5. Mayor Jason McCoy: “I am very pleased that the residents and taxpayers of Vernon approved this budget with overwhelming support. With this budget, the community will continue to receive all of the great services currently provided, both at a lower cost to the taxpayer and with increased efficiency. This budget will also provide Vernon residents with the security of knowing that the tax rate will decrease, at a time when great economic uncertainty exists throughout both the state and the country.”
        budget, surplus, taxes, Malloy, Cafero, union, labor, rally, Democratic, Bushnell Park, legislative leaders
• Jason McCoy McCoy Michele Arn VDTC Vernon Board of Ed Vernon Board of Education vernon connecticut democracts Vernon connecticut democrats Vernon CT vernon democrats vernon dems Vernon Mayor vernon politics Vernon Town Council

May 2, 2011

Thank you To the United States Government for Ridding The World of the Murdering Terrorist Bin Laden

Great News and Headlines Today- we are now one step closer to a safer and free world society again. We now need to finish the job by catching the rest of the Bin Laden command and cell members, then the world will be rid of these murdering terrorists.

Then freedom & safety can return for all to enjoy once again.

Mayor Jason L. McCoy

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May 1, 2011

Mayor McCoy: FY 2011-2012 Budget Adopted at Annual Town Meeting

Your Reader-Submitted Articles - "Mayor McCoy: FY 2011-2012 Budget Adopted at Annual Town Meeting"

Mayor McCoy and the Vernon Town Council Tuesday held the Annual Town Meeting at Rockville High School, where 127 qualified registered voters and property owners voted overwhelmingly to adopt the fiscal year 2011-2012 Budget.

The $79,293,749.00 budget focuses on several key hallmarks, including economic development, energy efficiency, and a reduction in the Town's tax rate, from 30.02 to 29.90. The adoption of the budget marks the first time in 12 years that the budget was not sent to a town-wide referendum.

"I am very pleased that the residents and taxpayers of Vernon approved this budget with overwhelming support," Mayor McCoy said. "With this budget, the community will continue to receive all of the great services currently provided, both at a lower cost to the taxpayer and with increased efficiency."

"Vernon's residents and taxpayers will be very happy with the spending plan put together by the Mayor, the Town Council and the Board of Education," added Deputy Mayor Brian Motola. "Taxes will not increase while services will remain intact."

The budget fully funds all services provided to citizens, including public safety. Police Chief James Kenny stated that, "The Vernon Police department is grateful that the citizens supported the upcoming budget and we will continue to provide the best possible services to the community with the funding provided."

Vernon Fire Chief William Call added that, "The Fire Department is very pleased that the Mayor's Administration has addressed its needs, including safety equipment, uniforms, and fire apparatus. We are pleased that the people approved the proposed budget presented to them."

Overall, the budget has a 0.73 percent increase from fiscal year 2010-2011. Mainly attributing to the historically low increase is the addition of capital improvement and debt expenditures, increasing by $766,763.00 or 13.96 percent from the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Spending on general government and education decreased in the budget by $97,872.00 or 0.38 percent and $96,601.00 or 0.20 percent, respectively.

"I am delighted with the passing of the 2011-2012 budget at the annual town meeting," said Dr. Mary Conway, Superintendent of Vernon Schools. "The budget is fair and reasonable and allows the school system to maintain current class sizes and services to children in the schools. I am especially appreciative of the support and hard work of the board of education, the administrative team, the town council, and the mayor who united as a team to prepare and promote this budget."

Commenting on the budget the Parks Director Bruce Dinnie said that, “I am pleased that the budget passed and that we can now focus on summer camp for the children and preparing our pools and beaches for this summer.”

"I would like to thank my Administration and the Town Council for supporting this budget and working hard to ensure that the residents of Vernon were delivered the best possible budget and thoroughly informed about it," said Mayor McCoy. "The fact that this budget was not sent to referendum, for the first time in 12 years, is a testament of the job that we are doing for the Town of Vernon. That being said, I would like to thank the residents and taxpayers of Vernon for their support of this budget and for allowing me to serve as their Mayor."

Enterprise Schedule- "Vernon Mothers Day Dash 5K"

Enterprise Schedule: "Vernon Mothers Day Dash 5K"

Vernon Mothers Day Dash 5K

Info: Vernon Mothers Day Dash 5K, Henry Park at 120 South St in Vernon, CT, 10 am
Date: Sun 5/8/2011 at 10 am
Location: Vernon CT
Timing By: Platt Timing Systems
Web Site:
Online Registration:
Notes: All Mother-Son and Mother-Daughter Teams must pre-register. Fast, Flat, Measured Course.

Divisions: Overall male and Female, 0-14,15-18,19-29,30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 and over

Mother-Son Category, Mother-Daughter Category

Click for sign up Register

Contact: Bruce Watt
120 South St
Vernon, CT 06066

Directions Bruce Watt
Recreation Supervisor
Town of Vernon

April 14, 2011

Vernon Connecticut Police Promote Three | ReminderNews

Vernon PD promotes three ReminderNews

Vernon promotes three in a short ceremony in front of family, friends and fellow officers on April 13 at the Vernon police station.

Sgt. William Meier III was promoted to lieutenant, and officers Gary Jonas and Dan Champagne were promoted to sergeant.

“It’s a big day for our department,” said Chief James Kenny. “It’s one of the pleasures as a police chief to be able to stand before you and promote, in this case, three of our officers.”

April 1, 2011

Moody's Strong Credit rating of Vernon Connecticut AA2

This week Moody's issued its credit rating of the Town of Vernon which was is strong at AA2. As a result of the strength of the credit rating, our first since last years re-calibration, the Town has strong market access which yielded low interest rates on this weeks municipal debt issues.

As a result 6 investors bid on the Town's muni bond issue this week. The muni bond interest rates came in at 3.15%. That was lower than the last issue. Which reduces the debt repayment schedule estimated in the Mayor's proposed budget.

Vernon also issues notes, 6 investors bids on the Towns bond anticipation notes. The Town's note rating was MIG1 the highest note rating. The interest rate on the notes was 0.522%. The was lowest than our last issue.

Taxpayer in Vernon will have another $54,000 reduction 2011-2012 debt budget tomorrow at the budget hearings.

Moody's indicated that Vernon's credit rating was based upon our conservative financial practices, our taxpayers willingness to pay due to the last three successfully passed budgets, our ability to pay due to solid collection rate, that we trend well with no budgetary gimmicks and the strength of the pension and funding of the pension.

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Location:14 Park Place, Vernon, CT 06066

March 18, 2011

Patch Reports Vernon's CT Proposed Budget

Budget Proposal Would Lower Taxes - Vernon, CT Patch
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Vernon's Budget is In the Patch

The Budget is in - Vernon, CT Patch
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The Talk of Connecticut

The TALK of Connecticut
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Vernon CT - Mayor's Budget Proposal Would Mean A Decrease In Taxes -

Vernon Mayor's Budget Proposal Would Mean A Decrease In Taxes - "
Vernon Mayor's Budget Proposal Would Mean A Decrease In Taxes"

By JOSEPH A. O'BRIEN JR., Special to The Courant

VERNON — Residents and businesses would see slightly lower property taxes under the budget proposal that Mayor Jason McCoy presented to the town council Tuesday night.

The $25,571,655 that McCoy is recommending for general government spending in 2011-12 is $98,596, or 0.38 percent, less than the current budget.

When combined with the $47.5 million proposed for education, $6.3 million for debt service, and $55,000 for capital improvements, the total budget would be $79,352,355, an increase of 0.8 percent from the current budget.

"This budget lowers taxes and reduces the tax rate to under 30 mills," McCoy said at the town council meeting.

With the reduction, taxpayers would pay $2,996 instead of the $3,002 they now pay on each $100,000 of assessed property value.

McCoy also said that the sewer budget proposed by the Water Pollution Control Authority for the next fiscal year is $5,543,768, which is $58,775, or 1.06 percent, lower than this year's sewer budget. But what effect that will have on next year's sewer rates won't be known until July when the sewer authority sets its rates, with payments due quarterly.

McCoy said there was no sewer rate increase for the current year and he anticipates no increase for the coming year, but that decision lies with the sewer authority, not the mayor and town council.

The town's grand list of taxable property rose an anemic 0.0085 percent to $1.91 billion during the year that ended on Oct. 1, 2010. The town estimated collecting $53.74 million, 70 percent of its total revenue, from local property owners during the current fiscal year that ends on June 30.

The school board initially requested a budget of $47,632,358, but McCoy reduced that figure by $170,000 before presenting the combined budgets to the council. McCoy's recommended amount for education would be a 0.2 percent decrease from the current year's budgeted amount.

Overall salary and wage expenses for the school district, which account for 63.5 percent of education spending, total $30,250,471 for 2011-12. Employee benefit costs will increase by 0.6 percent to $7.4 million. Wage and benefit costs total $37.6 million, or 79 percent of the total budget.

A main reason the town was able to hold the line on spending was the relatively small 2.9 percent increase in health insurance costs for town, school board and sewer authority workers. In the current budget, health insurance costs are 22 percent higher than in the previous fiscal year. McCoy said that the increase "accounted for nearly all of the increase in spending in the 2010-11 budget."

Town of Vernon - 2011 - 2012 Mayor McCoy's Proposed Budget

Town of Vernon, CT - Budget 2011-2012
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Budget Highlights 2011-2012 Town of Vernon

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Budget 2011-2012 Town Of Vernon

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March 16, 2011

Mayor McCoy’s Budget Address: Budget to Lower Taxes and Reduce the Tax Rate | Mayor Jason L McCoy

Mayor McCoy’s Budget Address: Budget to Lower Taxes and Reduce the Tax Rate Mayor Jason L McCoy

Mayor McCoy today delivered his budget address to the Vernon Town Council. Mayor McCoy’s recommendations highlighted proposals that would lower taxes and reduce the tax rate to under 30 mills. The text of Mayor McCoy’s budget address is below:

“Good Evening!

I want to thank you for allowing me to serve as your Mayor for the past four years!

This evening, it is my privilege to provide you with some of the highlights of the 2011-2012 proposed Town of Vernon budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

As your Mayor I believe that government has a responsibility to provide solid fiscal budgeting which considers protections in the areas of public health, public safety and public education.

I believe that we must be able to afford to live in Town, and as a result, the government must be accountable to our citizens for its spending. As your Mayor it is that very responsibility and accountability that will keep our Town moving forward.

We must control taxes and strive to have the best schools and the safest streets.

We must support sensible environmental policies to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel.

As Mayor, I have found that good environmental policy supports good fiscal policy as well.

As Mayor, I have created a sensible budget and developed new programs to bring in additional revenue to the Town.

I want to talk about Economic Development in a minute, but first, let me tell you a story.

Last week, my son Patrick came home and said:

‘Dad, I took my CMTs today and one of the questions was to be answered in an essay format. The question said that we were supposed to write a letter to the Mayor recommending what he should support for development on a large piece of land and why.’

Patrick tells me:

‘We were given three choices: an amusement park, an athletic field, or a teen center’

So Patrick tells me what he wrote.

‘Dear Dad:

The ideal choice for the property is an amusement park. By supporting the amusement park, you will increase or expand the tax base in real estate, expand the personal property tax base, and increase job opportunities for people in the area. As a result, you will expand the tax base, which will increase tax revenue to the town.

With this choice, you will accomplish three things: Everybody’s property taxes will be lowered, the town can repair and re-develop an athletic field, and the town can upgrade the existing teen center.’

He also pointed out that we might pass our budget at referendum – the essay topic was true, but the rest is an illustrative just in case someone assumes that there is a developer with an amusement park coming to town – really-

I would now like to talk to you about economic development.

We have come to a point where our municipal service costs are out growing our tax base.

As a result of that determination this next budget will commit resources to the expansion of the tax base by increasing the investment in economic development. This is a necessity and we have an economic development plan that needs to be fully implemented.

These resources are necessary for the implementation, which will increase jobs and job opportunities in the area, as well as expand the tax base and repopulate abandoned store fronts and businesses.

In this budget, I have balanced what we want and need with what we can afford.

Despite the challenges inherent during a slow economic period, I want to ensure that Vernon remains stable and affordable to its taxpayers and residents.

This budget does not call for the reduction of any services provided to our residents.

My recommendation is a responsible budget, accountable for all costs and services, as well as taking the responsibility to meet these difficult times with a historically low spending increase.

The budget that I am proposing this year increases spending by 0.80 percent, in-other-words, just more than three quarters of one percent.

This budget lowers taxes and reduces the tax rate to under 30 mills (from 30.02 to 29.96 mills).

In regards to the sewer budget and sewer rates, the current budget is $5,602,523.00. The proposed budget is $5,543,768.00, resulting in a reduction of $58,775.00 or -1.06%

The WPCA reviews and sets the rate in July and the first quarterly billing of the fiscal year is in October. It is done this way so that all revenue projections can be based on actual billing amounts from the current fiscal year as well as any income derived from interest income, septic disposal fees, transported waste, and delinquent interest. Right now, there has been no discussion of a rate reduction.

There was no increase in the rate last year (for the current year) and I would anticipate no increase in the rate for next year, but that will be a decision for the Authority later this year.

Now, I would like to talk to you about how we got to this point.

To achieve savings we have done a number of things:

We have invested heavily in technical infrastructure to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of services.

We have moved our bridge projects ahead; now many of our bridges are completed. Of the final three, West Main Street is in Design Phase, Talcottville Bridge is ready for Design and Phoenix Street is ready for construction. I would like to note that each time we finish a bridge project it lowers future costs.

We have established policies that support our environment, reduce fuel usage which in turn works to reduce our nation’s reliance on foreign fuel, while lowering spending on energy.

We have consolidated costs throughout government, working hand in hand with our Board of Education, ferreting out soft spending figures from real figures.

Over the past three years of my administration, the focus has been on how to address our largest fixed cost, which is labor, keeping in mind the state and national economy as well.

Over the last three years, we were able to successfully negotiate reasonable labor contracts with an eye on not just the upcoming fiscal year, but also many fiscal years down the road.

We have implemented pension reform, wage controls and health insurance caps.

We have held the line on contractual wages over the past three years and will continue to do so in this fiscal year.

Negotiations are difficult, but, we are faced with an economy that cannot support the contracts of the past.

Now, I would just like to touch upon a few budgetary highlights.

This year, I have been able to negotiate health insurance for the Town of Vernon which includes the School Department and the Sewer Department at a mere 2.9 percent increase which is equal to $ 290,140.76. This is in stark contrast to the Town’s 2010-2011 fiscal years’ health insurance increase of 22 percent which accounted for nearly all of the increase in spending in the 2010-2011 Budget.

This year I have been able to negotiate the Property and Casualty insurance rates and that rate has decreased for a total savings of $32,000.00 this year.

Recently Vernon responded to the emergency involving eminent roof collapses which cost our taxpayers over $300,000.00; Good thing we have that insurance to — The Travelers has thus far covered $100,000.00 of that expense and we continue to pursue reimbursement for the remaining difference from The Travelers.

In this budget with those savings from Property and Casualty I am proposing that we increase our reserves in our Worker’s Compensation fund. I firmly believe this is necessary because we are self-insured and it is crucial that the reserves are fully funded.

In the last three budgets the Town of Vernon, including the Education Department and Sewer Department, has funded the pension at an appropriate level. In keeping with good fiscal management, this budget funds the pension at those levels to keep our pension on track with the appropriate amortization schedules.

This has been a conscious effort since I was elected to avoid future swings in funding due to short falls. Why? It is being done to protect the taxpayers from poor practices that have resulted in the State and Federal government pensions having bills due at a time when there is no money available to pay them.

In my first term, I asked that the Town Council pass an ordinance that would establish an Energy Improvement District (EID) in Vernon. This ordinance would allow the Town to produce green energy, including an investment in fuel cells to lower our operating expenses and help the environment.

Now in my second term, the Ordinance was passed and now the hard work has begun, starting with the recent appointment of an EID Board of Directors to move the project forward and investigate all of the options for energy savings and put into place the necessary funding.

This initiative provides an option to our local business community to reduce their energy costs as well, making Vernon more attractive to new business and industry, re-development and most importantly, it works to retain existing employers.

Infrastructure improvements have been a standing priority for my administration. An appropriation of $800,000.00, realized from cost savings in the School Department and Police Department Budgets, were appropriated for road improvements in Vernon along with $500,000.00 of CDBG funds for road improvements in the Rockville section of Vernon. Those funds are being administered in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, meaning the past fiscal year we are finishing now.

To keep my promise during that $800,000 dollar road improvement appropriation public hearing, in this upcoming fiscal year, I am proposing in the 2011-2012 capital improvements plan to designate $131,000.00 of town aid for roads funds and $242,000.00 of LOCIP funds for road improvement projects in the Vernon section of town; as well as $ 450,000.00 designated from CDBG funds for road improvement in the Rockville section of town.

Further, we will complete Hatch hill road repairs in 2011-2012 totaling $954,000.00 from the 2004-2005 bond. Lastly, the West Main Street Bridge will be funded with 80% State, 20% Local Funding; the Local match equaling $34,000.00.

Now, I would like to talk to you briefly about debt service.

This year is the final conversion of the outstanding notes to bonds for the 2004-2005 School and Road Bond authorization. $7,000,000.00 will be added to the total bonding debt, which will increase the debt service payments by $665,000.00 in the 2011-2012 budget year.

This budget supports an investment in Education by maintaining our small class size, supporting curriculum initiatives, supporting sports and extracurricular activities for students and supporting the superintendent’s initiative for student success in grade nine, especially.

Public Safety is fully funded. There are no budgetary reductions that will affect public safety services.

This past fiscal year, we saw a 16% decrease in crime against property.

The head count at the Police Department remains at 49 with 51 authorized and funded, sworn-in Town of Vernon Police department employees, with overtime fully funded.

In 2011 the police vehicle fleet was funded. It is now fully up-to-date and replacements are on track, allowing officers to be able to respond quickly and safely.

Our Environment is protected and we remain committed to our recycling and trash initiatives. Both have been very successful and continue to pay dividends.

We will continue to support the trash and recycling initiatives started in the 2010-2011 Fiscal year.

Since this programs implementation, we have significantly reduced our tipping and hauling fees, and we have increased our revenue from recycling.

We have seen our recycling increase by approximately 24% which has reduced Vernon’s trash going into landfills by over 8%.

This budget includes an appropriation of funds for the trash and recycling initiative to be expanded town-wide, which is certainly a better service to our residents with a large fiscal savings.

In regards to other important services, our Animal Control Department now services multiple towns in our region and is partially funded by those same municipalities.

The Town’s 311 City Alert System has received over 1800 calls for service and information. The software system is called q-send. Folks should know they can register requests and complaints, at the Vernon web site and that each inquiry is directed by the system to the appropriate department and a return email or call is generated back to the person requesting the information.

A request ticket number for your reference is given. You can ask for a reference number when you call for a service or with a complaint as well, so don’t forget to ask for your reference number.

Through the Town of Vernon’s website you can: Sign up for Parks and Recreation Programs, pay your tax bill, pay for a recreation program, fill out and file your personal property tax listings with the Assessor, or view your property card – All with just a click of your mouse.

This budget will be on-line on the Town of Vernon website and available for you at the Town Clerk’s Office or the Rockville Public Library.

I encourage our citizens and taxpayers to call me or any department head and to ask questions about this budget or a departmental section of the budget.

I encourage our citizens and taxpayers to attend one or more of the upcoming public hearings on this proposed budget during which you will have an opportunity to be heard regarding appropriations for the ensuing fiscal year.

I will be happy to speak to members of the press about this budget or the departmental sections of the budget.

If you have any questions or comments about the proposed budget, you may call or email me directly.

In summary, this budget balances needs, real estate property values and affordability.

I ask the Town Council and the citizens and taxpayers of Vernon to please support this budget.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Mayor.”

Facebook: Mayor McCoy

Twitter: Mayor McCoy

March 8, 2011

Potholes Make This An Awful Year for Drivers and the State - New Haven Advocate

Potholes Make This An Awful Year for Drivers and the State - New Haven Advocate: "Potholes Make This An Awful Year for Drivers and the State"

The third cold-weather method is called asphalt recycling. Old asphalt that's scraped up during summertime road repaving projects is stockpiled, then reheated to about 250 degrees in a special recycling machine, and laid down to cover a pothole. Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy says the asphalt recycler his town bought for about $56,000 works “much better” than simple cold patch.

February 27, 2011

Vernon: Less Than 1 Percent Increase In 2010 Vernon Grand List -

Vernon: Less Than 1 Percent Increase In 2010 Vernon Grand List -

By JOSEPH A. O'BRIEN JR., Special to The Courant
The Hartford Courant
9:12 PM EST, February 26, 2011

VERNON —A less than 1 percent increase in the assessed value of all taxable property in town last year is another reason local officials will be looking to hold the line on spending in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Mayor Jason L. McCoy said the value of the Oct. 1, 2010, grand list is $1,910,783,339 — an increase of $16.1 million, or 0.85 percent, over the list's value on Oct. 1, 2009.

Residential real estate increased by $8.16 million, but the value of industrial and commercial property went down. Industrial real estate fell in value by $1.29 million in just one year and commercial real estate fell by $127,060.

The total value of apartments and other rental properties increased by $2.01 million.

The value of personal property, which includes machinery and business equipment, also fell last year, by $2.15 million to $72.29 million, a decrease of 0.29 percent.

There are 25,996 motor vehicles listed that account for roughly 8.5 percent, or $163,075,129, of all the taxable property in town. The $9.54 million increase in value of motor vehicles was due primarily to used vehicles, which increased in value by $7.91 million. Vehicles added to the list, new or used, increased the total value of the motor vehicle list by $1.62 million.

The total value of motor vehicles on the list is just under the combined assessed value of property owned by the town's top-10 taxpayers. The total assessed value of property owned by the top 10 is $186,378,330.

The top 10 taxpayers in town are: 
The Mansions, $47,754,460; 
Tri City Improvements LLC, $30,295,590; 
Woodbrook LLC/EKE/EES, $21,516,740; 
Connecticut Water Co., $20,011,880; 
Connecticut Light & Power Co. & Yankee Gas, and Connecticut Natural Gas, $19,022,250; 
CE Vernon LLC $15,571,120; 
Chapman Acres, $9,004,930; BostonVernon/BostonRockville, $8,662,150; Park West Residents Association, $7,684,030; and 
Kerensky, Schneider Trustees, $6,855,180

February 23, 2011

Town Tackles Pothole Woes With New Technology - Connecticut News Story - WFSB Hartford

Town Tackles Pothole Woes With New Technology - Connecticut News Story - WFSB Hartford: "Town Tackles Pothole Woes With New Technology"

"VERNON, Conn. -- Vernon is patching its potholes with a new machine called the Hot Box, which can fill annoying potholes in the half the time and for less money, according to town officials.

The Hot Box is outfitted with a box on its back that heats asphalt to 350 degrees and can hold up to 4 tons of resued asphalt.

Road crews said the Hot Box makes it easier to move around town, and that the asphalt remains hot and lasts much longer than the cold patch.

"The old asphalt we use gets heated the night before we come in,"said Kevin Gardner with the Public Works Department.

Town officials said the machine will save taxpayers money in the long run.

"My constituents know that there's always problems with potholes in Vernon. We like to be a little ahead of everybody else and look for cost savings everyplace we can get them," said Jason McCoy, Vernon's mayor.

The town leased the Hot Box for five years at a cost of $48,000.

Nearby towns are interested in purchasing the machines, officials said"

February 19, 2011

Shoveling roofs a first for local Connecticut National Guard - Journal Inquirer

Shoveling roofs a first for local National Guard: "Shoveling roofs a first for local National Guard"

By Suzanne Carlson
Journal Inquirer
Published: Monday, February 7, 2011 10:11 AM EST
A rash of roof collapses has spread like dominoes across the state since last week’s winter storms, but while some towns struggled to clear snow from schools and other buildings with whatever resources they had on hand, others were able to secure help from the National Guard.

“We have never in the past been asked … to shovel snow off of roofs from previous snowstorms. Even when we go back to ’78, storm Larry, the Guard did not go out to clean off roofs,” Lt. Col. John Whitford, spokesman for the National Guard, said Friday.

During the infamous blizzard of 1978, which shut down the state for a week, Gov. Ella T. Grasso utilized the Guard to help clear roads, but Whitford emphasized that, “This is something unique. With the amount of snow that we’ve received since Christmas, it’s just unbelievable.”

Whitford said service members were activated to help clear school roofs in Vernon, Tolland, and Naugatuck, but only after a lengthy request and review process by the state Department of Emergency Management, and Homeland Security, and the office of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

“We in the Guard have two missions: We have a mission from the president for federal call-up where we have soldiers and airmen deployed overseas, and we also have the governor. If he declares a state of emergency and activates the Guard, then we go out. He’s our boss, and we respond to state emergencies, hurricanes, floods, snowstorms,” and the like, he said.

But Whitford stressed that town officials first must declare a state of emergency and prove that they’ve exhausted all of their local resources before the state will step in.

“It’s a very tedious process, it is a very long process they have to go through in order to get an approval,” Whitford said. “We’re the last guys to come out to provide some kind of relief and support because they’ve exhausted everything else at their fingertips prior to us.”

What about us?’Other towns have expressed outrage that some municipalities received assistance while others did not, and Whitford acknowledged that “maybe the towns didn’t know” that requesting help was an option available to them.

“I think there’s a misconception out there by some of the towns that all we need to do is call the Guard and they’ll come. That’s not the case, and we’re hearing it from the other towns. For example, Ellington’s saying, ‘Hey, how come these towns got the OK?’ All of a sudden the other towns have been, ‘What about us, what about us?’”

Whitford said that while many towns have contacted the Guard to ask for help, municipal leaders must coordinate such requests with state officials.

Others have suggested that service members simply begin clearing all school roofs in the state, rather than focusing on specific towns. But with almost 1,700 schools in Connecticut and only 5,000 troops in the Guard, Whitford said, that isn’t an option.

“That’s not the makeup, design, or the role of the National Guard. It may sound great, but there are legal pieces in place and the towns should be aware that when it comes to something like this, they have to justify it,” Whitford said. “And there is a price tag. When all is said and done, the billpayer is the town. It’s not just free labor — there is a price that is associated with us coming.”

That expense is what’s kept some towns from requesting the Guard.

First Selectwoman Christina Mailhos of Willington said her town is pooling its resources to try to take care of the issue without outside help.

“We had closed the schools on Thursday to work on the roofs,” Mailhos said. “We had teachers, custodians, public works crew, the superintendent, and even myself on the roofs trying to clear the snow.”

Mailhos said the Fire Department hauled snow blowers to the rooftops as well as used roof rakes. “Together, it was an amazing effort,” she said.

“We managed to get the snow removed from the major areas of concern on the buildings,” Mailhos said. “Right now, it’s unnecessary to call in the National Guard, but if the weather continues like this for the rest of the season, we might have to.”

Per day: $20,000 to $60,000According to Mailhos, town officials had tried contacting the National Guard early last week, but were informed there was a possible activation fee of $20,000.

Rich Harris, spokesman for the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, said towns must agree in advance to reimburse the National Guard for its services — and it can be costly, depending on the type of work needed.

Shoveling snow from roofs costs municipalities from $20,000 to $60,000 per day, Harris said.

Using the National Guard is really an option of last resort, Harris said.

Deployment is approved by the governor’s office for towns that can’t to do the job on their own and are unable to find a private contractor to do the job for them, he said.

Guardsmen are not to supplant town public works crews or replace town resources, Harris said.

In Manchester, Mayor Louis A. Spadaccini said there has been “constant monitoring” of school and town building roofs, which were being cleared of snow by staff and private contractors. An engineer has inspected several buildings, and officials were taking action, he added.

Snow and ice were removed from the High School and Washington School roof early last week, and on Friday the Botticello garage at the landfill, and the water and sewer treatment plant on Spring Street were cleared, he said.

There are some concerns about the Lutz Children’s Museum, which might also need its roof shoveled, he added.

“We are doing everything to monitor the condition of the roofs and ensure the integrity of the buildings and the safety of the public,” Spadaccini said, adding: “We’re getting rid of the snow and ice where we deem it necessary.”

For now, the National Guard is not being tapped for work. Using private contractors is expensive, at about $100 an hour for labor, he said.

Drifts were 5 to 7 feet tall
Vernon's Mayor Jason McCoy was the first town to request emergency assistance after structural engineer James Silva determined that its schools’ roofs were carrying more than twice the recommended weight limit.

Whitford said the first shift of 85 Army and airmen started shoveling roofs there at 1 a.m. Thursday and worked for about 12 hours. Another shift of 75 troops arrived at 10:30 a.m., so “at one point in time we had 150 people on the ground at one time,” he said, adding that the second shift worked until 9 p.m.

Many of the troops that responded to Vernon’s schools had just returned from Afghanistan in November. A different crew from the 103rd Airlift Wing in East Granby responded to Tolland’s schools Friday morning.

A hundred airmen began work at 6 a.m. and Whitford said he expected the crew to turn cleanup back over to the town around 7 p.m.

“We’re extremely grateful for the assistance they’ve provided — they’ve been moving a tremendous amount of snow,” Tolland Town Manager Steven R. Werbner said Friday.

An engineer who examined the schools told town officials “we shouldn’t have loads in any one area that exceed 22 to 24 inches. We’ve got areas where it’s drifted 5 to 7 feet deep, so you’ve got to disperse that snow into other areas where you’ve already shoveled in order to balance out the load,” Werbner said.

Werbner said officials were left with “a very small window” to clear roofs before even more snow accumulated. He added that the cleanup likely would cost the town more than $20,000, but that figure is a pittance compared with the expense of a collapsed school.

Civilians on roof is ‘calculated risk’Tolland fire officials asked residents to provide their shovels and equipment for the Guard’s efforts, and about 22 people loaned snow blowers, Werbner said. On Thursday night, officials were forced to travel all the way to Norwich to purchase 50 additional shovels because all other local stores have sold out.

Werbner said town employees would pick up work where service members left off, but as for local volunteers, “we couldn’t have any civilians on the roof because of liability.”

In Vernon, however, officials sent reverse 911 calls to residents at noon on Friday and Saturday, and emergency e-mail messages to teachers requesting “the assistance of able-bodied residents with shovels or snow blowers to assist with clearing snow from the roof of Rockville High School.”

At least 45 residents had responded as of Saturday, according to Director of Emergency Management Michael Purcaro.

Town Attorney Harold Cummings said inviting residents onto the roof of a building covered in snow was a calculated risk.

“We’re weighing the risks of what is the potential cost for a school roof collapsing on 100 children, damage to the building, damage to the kids, versus potentially having a compensation claim for somebody that slipped off the roof and broke a leg. We will take care of the broken leg as a fair tradeoff for keeping our kids safe,” Cummings said.

He added that the job of removing thousands of pounds of snow from massive school roofs requires a lot of work, and town employees who have been shoveling and plowing for days on end simply need a break.

Shoveling not glamorous, but an honor
Vernon emergency officials met with the Town Council and Board of Education at a special meeting Saturday, during which Town Finance Officer James Luddecke gave an update on snow removal expenses.

The National Guard charged the town for 88 service members at a unit cost of $200, for a total of $17,600, which Mayor Jason L. McCoy called, “an excellent deal,” adding that he tried to get the Guard to return over the weekend.

Purcaro and other officials said they’ve put in requests for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Rep. Timothy Ackert, R-Vernon, said that, “we’re hoping to hear something this week,” regarding potential funding.

Schools in Tolland and Vernon remained closed today so snow removal could continue.

Whitford said that much of the state’s Guard force consists of part-timers who took time off work from their civilian jobs to help with the cleanup.

He listed some of the other incidents for which the Guard has been called out, including Hurricane Katrina, the flooding last March in Griswold, and the snowstorm a few weeks ago when 20 troops and two wreckers were used to pull Hartford city buses out of snowdrifts.

And while shoveling snow off school roofs may not be as thrilling as rescuing victims of a national crisis like Katrina, “We’re honored to do it,” Whitford said. “We bring another set of expertise to the table when we have a mission like this, because we have a lot of guys who live in the community and work in the community. This is one of the reasons why they joined, to help out the community, so we’re trying to help out and bring some normalcy back.”

Town officials and businesses organized meals for the troops and other workers, and Whitford said that many Guard members have been laughing and enjoying themselves during the last few days’ whirlwind efforts.

“Despite the cold, despite the shoveling, despite all that snow, I think the morale is very high,” he said.

Journal Inquirer staff writer Kym Soper and intern Zachary Perras contributed to this story.