Council applauds area fire departments

Jess Oaks
Posted 7/5/24

TORRINGTON – The Torrington City Council met on Tuesday, July 2 to address the normal operations of the city. Mayor Herb Doby called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. and council members Wayne …

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Council applauds area fire departments


TORRINGTON – The Torrington City Council met on Tuesday, July 2 to address the normal operations of the city. Mayor Herb Doby called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. and council members Wayne Deahl, Dr. Richard Patterson, and Shane Viktorin were present at the meeting. Council member Dennis Kelly was absent but excused. 

Viktorin led the council and community in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance and the group quickly moved on to the mayor’s informational items where Doby spoke to the residents of Torrington on Independence Day.

“Please celebrate our Independence Day with vigor,” Doby said. “We are not a perfect nation. No nation is perfect, but we are a great nation, the greatest nation in the world. Please celebrate safely and giving due care and having concern for your neighbors.”

Next, the council moved on to approve the consent agenda which included minutes from the June 18 council meeting as published. The council also approved the agenda for the evening meeting itself. 

During the public forum, where the council takes no action, there were no participants. 

Moving along to action items, the council heard from Kara Wiggins with Vistabeam. Wiggins came before the council to request a special event permit for a summer luau event to be held on July 12 on Main Street. Mayor Doby called on Torrington Police Chief Matt Johnson for information pertaining to the request. 

“This event is slated for Friday afternoon. The actual event itself will take place between 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. however, set-up and tear-down will impact traffic a little bit longer than that,” Johnson explained to the council. “We are looking at set-up time being 3 p.m., tear-down time starting at 9:30 p.m. It is going to have an impact on downtown traffic, 3 p.m. on a Friday. We (the police department) can safely manage that so long as you folks are comfortable with that, and the downtown businesses are also comfortable with that impact.”

Johnson went on the explain there would be no alcohol at the event which would reduce the concerns involved with serving alcohol.

“Is there going to be music at the event?” Doby asked Johnson. 

“Yes, sir, there will be,” Johnson said. “The stage will be facing northbound. The staff with Vistabeam has agreed to work with us to make sure that that is reasonable, and it will be projecting right into where everybody is enjoying the various booths and vendors.”

Wiggins explained she was new to the marketing position with Vistabeam but she was excited to kick off the event in Torrington, should the council approve the request.

“Our goal with hosting this event is to connect with the community on a deep level,” Wiggins said. “To provide a family-friendly atmosphere and to be able to really display the heart and soul of Vistabeam.” 

After a brief discussion on traffic impacts and businesses impacted and the addition of portable restroom facilities, the council moved to approve the special permit for Wiggins, with the addition of a liability waiver for a bounce house.

The council then quickly moved on to action item two, the annual write-off of accounts where Doby called on clerk/treasurer, Lynette Strecker for background information. 

“Attached to your agenda is a list of those write-offs,” Strecker said. “We are required to do this annually, per state statute. They are all uncollectable. Some of them are deceased. There is one bankruptcy and then the statute has just expired, over the ten years. Our total for the accounts receivable 2024 write-offs for utility bills is $8,388.89. We also have a second list for accounts receivable write-offs for $2,248.97.”

Strecker went on to mention, in the year 2023, the city billed $12.4 million in services and the write-offs total .08% of what was billed.

“I don’t like to write these off, but I don’t think we can collect them,” Strecker said. “We’re going to have to just to keep our books straight and clean and to abide by the state statute as a requirement.”

After a brief discussion of accounts receivable write-offs, Patterson made a motion to approve the annual write-off of accounts which was seconded by Dealh. The motion carried. 

Next, the council moved on to the approval of the bills from June 19 to July 2. 

After a brief discussion, Deahl made a motion to approve the bills which was then seconded by Vikortin. The motion carried and the bills were approved. 

During the public comment portion of the council meeting, Luis Correa, Torrington Volunteer Fire Department Chief, gave the council and public the fire report where he explained the numerous calls the department responded to. 

“On the 24 and the 25 (of June), we spent quite a few hours on a rather large grass fire in the Pine Ridge Road area. We sent about 12 firemen and five pieces of apparatus, [on] the first day. The second day it was two firemen and one apparatus,” Correa explained.

“I am not an official spokesman for them, but on behalf of the Pine Ridge property owners up there, we very much appreciate the work that was done,” Patterson explained. “Everything was saved and no real damage, but there were a couple of sections that burned, and they burned very quickly. The wind was blowing, and it was dry, and I didn’t know how they would get it under control, but they did. Then they stayed there and kept tamping it down as it popped up again. Job well done. It was very much appreciated.”

Correa went on to explain, it was a large team effort to control the blaze.

“At one point, Lance (Petsch) and I were in charge of a division, and I think at one point we were in charge of 22 apparatus and two aircraft,” Correa explained. “That was our section of the fire. There were other people there.”

Correa also reported all equipment is in service at the department. 

Up next, Johnson reminded the community about National Night Out in the park on August 6 and the DARE Camp which will be held in August for Goshen County students entering the sixth grade. 

The council meeting was adjourned at 6:16 p.m.