First Selectman Clarifies Community Confusion

First Selectman Camillo clarifies community confusion on 2 issues

I am writing to clarify information regarding two issues that have been in the news and discussed on social media the past few weeks.

First, the climate change resolution put forth by students here in town will not be voted on by the Board of Selectmen any time soon. Among the concerns I have are the resolution’s title (emergency declaration) and some other language contained in the resolution. The students and their mentors have been terrific and eager to engage with Town officials to develop language that is acceptable to all. For example, the mentioning of groups to the exclusion of others, while not done with malice, is something we all agree can be corrected easily.

Likewise, many believe that energy independence is critical to our economy and national interests. So rightly pursuing alternative energy sources while tapping into the natural gas reserves here in our country makes for a measured, reasoned, and common-sense approach. Natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, is something we have in abundance and should be able to hold us over until we are at the stage where solar, geo-thermal, and other energy sources are more readily available. The Selectmen’s Energy Management Advisory Committee (EMAC) is hard at work on that front.

Some have questioned even entertaining this resolution. The reality is that even the car manufacturers have acknowledged that our future must involve alternative energy sources, as evidenced that all have pledged to only produce electric vehicles by 2040.

The other issue I want to address is the misinformation that is circulating throughout the community regarding the annual St. Roch Feast. It is unfortunate that an email was circulated that implied the Town will not allow this cherished annual event to take place. Actually, Thursday morning (July 14) the Board of Selectmen is expected to approve the request for road closures and detours to accommodate the feast next month.

The issue involves whether the Church be allowed the use of the Hamilton Avenue School baseball field for rides, something that has not happened since at least 2009. The decision on whether to use the field rests with the Board of Education (BOE). While many of us weighed in with the hope of considering rides on the field (a 2009 agreement was made to not allow rides on the weight sensitive field due to the location of underground geothermal wells).

The BOE did agree to look at the possibility again if an accredited engineering firm weighed in with a positive response. When one did, I asked to have the 2009 letter removed and the newer report considered. Then, more feedback and information came to light that suggested the BOE might not be ready to allow rides on the field despite the report. The BOE has yet to take up the issue. Whether one agrees with that or not, we must respect their decision and the good relationship between the BOE and the Church.

The Town’s support of the Church dates back for decades and more recently when the COVID pandemic threatened to cancel the event entirely. In 2020, my office worked with Paul Cappiali and the feast committee to facilitate a scaled down version of the feast in the middle of the pandemic when NO other parish in the state held one. Because of the precautions initiated then, the feast wasn’t a super spreader of the virus and was a historic success for the time-period in which it was held.

I am looking forward to the 2022 feast and encourage the BOE to work with citizens looking to expand the Feast’s ride capacity in a safe and agreed upon manner for next year.

See you in a few weeks at the pizza fritta booth!

First Selectman, Fred Camillo

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