FAIRFIELD — A special town meeting has been scheduled for Nov. 2 to fill two seats on the Fairfield Town Council.

Nomination papers for the council election have been available since July 26 and must be returned to the town clerk by this Friday.

Council Chairperson John Picchiotti’s and Councilor Peter Lawrence’s terms expire this year, and both have said they will run again for their seats.

Councilors set the date for the special town meeting Wednesday evening. They also voted to update the town’s personnel policy to include Juneteenth as a holiday, as had been discussed at a previous meeting.

There was also a public hearing on a request from Sappi North America for renewal to operate the solid waste facility in town. Jim Brooks, environmental manager at Sappi, spoke to the council about the current state of the facility.

The facility sits on about 80 acres, Brooks said, and has 14 cells, including two that have been permitted but not yet built. A cell is a single, waste-holding unit within the larger landfill property.

Four of the cells might be closed partially or completely in the near future, but that is not out of the ordinary, according to Brooks.

No members of the public spoke at the hearing, and councilors said that they appreciated the information Brooks provided. Later in the meeting the council voted to approve the renewal.

“It is informational,” said Councilor Stephanie Thibodeau. “I didn’t know how many wells you had, I didn’t realize how much testing you actually were doing and I found out in here, and I think it’s a good resource for at least town manager to have.”

There was also discussion about how much money should be moved from the undesignated fund to adjust the property tax rate for the year. At the annual Town Meeting in June, voters approved using up to $500,000 to reduce the tax rate.

However, Town Manager Michelle Flewelling said the town is getting more money than usual from revenue sharing from the state, and will not need the full $500,000.

Additionally, the town last year used more money than usual from the fund because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so Flewelling said she would recommend retaining more of that money in the undesignated fund.

“In the 2021 commitment, you use $700,000 to offset property taxes, which left in the available amount to be used of $949,203,” Flewelling said. “So using $500,000 was going to bring that little bit extra cushion that you have down substantially.

“I’d like to see us eventually set a goal in which we try to maintain six months’ — instead of three months’ — worth of undesignated fund balance.”

Fairfield’s property tax rate is now $22.30 per $1,000 of assessed value, and the Town Council voted to use up to $200,000 from the undesignated fund to ensure the rate is an even $22.

The council also made plans to present the Spirit of America Award to the Fairfield VFW Post 6924 and Auxiliary at an upcoming council meeting. The award is normally presented at the Town Meeting, but since Fairfield just had a Town Meeting election this year because of the pandemic, that was not possible.

The next Town Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8. It is planned as a hybrid meeting on Zoom and at the Town Council chambers at the Fairfield Community Center, 61 Water St.

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