Scotland Town Hall

9 Devotion Rd.
PO Box 122
Scotland, CT 06264 [Google Map]
Phone: 860-423-9634

Town Clerk Hours
M, T, Th 9 AM - 3 PM
W 11 AM - 7 PM
Closed Fridays
Specific department hours may vary, and are on their page

For assistance on the website, contact us at 860-456-7797 x1 during normal business hours

Town of Scotland

Selectman's Corner

March 2020

CENSUS INFORMATION

The Census Bureau wants Scotland residents to know that we will all be counted in the census as Scotland residents, even if your postal address is in another town, and even if you do not correct the address when you respond to a form you receive in the mail. Here's their statement:

Census geography is different from USPS geography. Zip codes are based on USPS delivery routes and can have various municipal names associated with them. The zip code geography is not equivalent to the municipal legal geography (legal town boundary). The Census Bureau relies on accurate mailing addresses to distribute the 2020 Census. In addition to mailing addresses, the Census Bureau Master Address File contains a geographic location for every known living quarters that corresponds to the location of the physical address structure. This geographic location is either a latitude/longitude coordinate or a Census Tract and Block. It is the geographic location of the housing unit that is used for data tabulation, not the mailing address. So if a housing unit is located within the legal boundary of Scotland, CT, the housing unit will be tabulated to Scotland, CT -  even though their mailing address may have a different town name.

Previous Selectman's Corners

  • Technical Help Wanted

    The governor has issued an executive order allowing towns to exclude the public from public meetings, and to allow commission and board members to meet from remote locations, so long as the meeting is available to the public via audio or video stream. In the interests of our residents and board/commission members, I'd like to take advantage of this opportunity. It may be the only way to keep the town moving along at a time when much needs to be done.

    But I'm pretty busy right now and I don't have time to get up to speed on the various options and to implement them. I have a general idea of how to go about it and the equipment that is needed, but I need someone to help me who has experience in live streaming. I can offer pay in return for helping us set up video conferencing and streaming, and monitoring it as we work out the bugs. Please get in touch with me via email at firstselectman@scotlandct.org.

  • Tomorrow morning I will attend a meeting at the Eastern Highlands Health District. AT the same time, our Director of Emergency Management will participate in a conference call with the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. AT those meetings, we will receive the latest information on the progress of the COVID-19 virus, along with updates on measures we should take to contain the epidemic. I will pass this information along to you in this space as soon as I have it.

    The information I have now makes it clear that this outbreak poses an immediate and severe threat. .Since the infection can be transmitted by people who are not themselves ill, it is possible to infect others even if you are not feeling any symptoms. So the greatest danger is not necessarily to your personal health, but rather to the populations most vulnerable to the complications of the illness, especially the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, and people with underlying pulmonary conditions. You could be feeling healthy and still infect your grandmother--or someone else's grandmother. And a sudden spike in severe illness among the at-risk populations could overburden the health care system and lead to shortages of staff and equipment, which in turn could result in rationing of services.

    We are all used to forecasts for severe storms that result in school closures, work disruptions, and crowded supermarkets--and then fail to pan out. This epidemic is not like that. The danger is real. If it does not turn out to be as bad as forecast, it will not be because the health care experts overhyped it. It will be because we listened to them.

    Please stay tuned to this space for further information.

    3/13 update

    The meeting today at Eastern Highlands Health District drove home the point that there is a very good chance of averting a catstrophe if we follow basic public health measures. That includes especially social distancing--i.e., avoiding crowds and keeping a six foot distance between yourself and others--and hygiene measures like handwashing and using your sleeve or tissue to cover any coughing/sneezing. This virus is NOT airborne. It can only be transmitted through droplets, which means that those measures have the potential to greatly slow the spread of the illness, and perhaps even to limit the number of people who will eventually get it.

    Both of those outcomes will help to protect the health care system from overload, which is the current greatest risk. If our hospitals and clinics are unable to keep up with the influx of patients, then more people will die. According to the health district's medical director, there is no current treatment for COVID-19. In its milder manifestations, you can treat it as you would a cold. If you are sick, you should stay home unless you have a high fever (101 degrees or more)and/or you have difficulty breathing, at which point you should seek medical treatment.  

    The Scotland Public Library will be closed starting tonight at 7 pm until further notice. The community room at the firehouse is closed immediately. The Scotland BOard of Education will be meeting this evening to determine its course and I am sure they will be in touch as soon as a decision is made. We have not yet determined whether we can hold public meetings that exclude the public; we are awaiting guidance on this question from the state. 

    Remember, the people most at risk are the elderly and people with existing medical problems. Closures and directives about social distancing are designed to prevent the healthy from infecting the vulnerable. Following them is an inconvenience, and maybe even more than that, but it is the best way we have right now of taking care of each other. Please consider the seriousness of this outbreak, and your role in containing it, as you go about your daily business.

    The best source of information about COVID-19 is the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Preventino (CDC). It is updated frequently, and it is avaialble at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html  Eastern Highlands Health District is another good source. www.ehhd.org 

    Here is quick summary from EHHD about measures you should take:

    1) Wash your hands often (2) Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth (3) Stay home when you’re sick (4) Avoid close contact with those that are sick (5) Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze (5) Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (7) Always be prepared with extra food and medication and finally (8) Stay informed - call 211, go to www.ct.gov/coronavirus or www.ehhd.org ”

     

    And as always, feel free to email me or call me at Town Hall 860 456 7797 with questions or concerns.

  • Last week, a barn in the village burned down. The barn, located just eight feet from one of our oldest homes, was fully involved by the time the alarm came in at 2:30 a.m., but firefighters from Scotland and surrounding towns were able to prevent the house from catching fire. As anyone who has leapt out of bed in the middle of the night, put on many pounds of protective gear, and hauled hoses and other equipment at a fire scene knows, this is very hard and dangerous work. And every person doing it the other night was a volunteer.

    Volunteer firefighters are the most visible example of a very important truth about small towns: we are dependent on volunteers for basic services. We do have paid employees, of course--our two-man road crew, for instance, and our part-time Town Hall staff, some of whom perform multiple functions.  But our schools, library, recreation programs, fire department, and town boards and commissions cannot function without volunteers.

    There was a time when there were sufficient volunteers for all the jobs that needed to be done. But that's not the case anymore. Town boards and commissions have longstanding vacancies. Because of the lack of volunteers at the fire department, we recently had to switch to a paid ambulance service, at the cost of more than $150,000 a year.  I'm sure there are many causes for this, including the fact that we're all working as hard as we can to support our families. But if we are to remain viable as a town, we need your help.

    Some volunteer roles are very time consuming. The training course for an EMT is more than 200 hours long. But some are much less so. The Board of Assessment Appeals meets only a few times a year. The Recreation Committee has small projects that might require just part of a single day. The library has gardens that need to be tended for a few hours every couple of weeks in the growing season. Our historic and beautiful Town Hall needs some loving attention that could be provided by volunteers.

    So please consider stepping up.  You might get to meet people you don't already know. You might learn to do something new. You might get the satisfaction of knowing you helped out. For information about volunteer opportunities, please email me at firstselectman@scotlandct.org or call Town Hall at 456 7797

  • The controversies about Regional District 11 have been festering for far too long. They've pitted neighbor against neighbor and town against town, and they don't reflect well on Scotland. Just the other night, at a meeting in another town held to discuss possible consolidation of services, an official told me he was reluctant to deal with our town because "Scotland can't get along with anyone."

    But the arguments are also inevitable, as Parish Hill, for all its virtues, is very expensive, and the taxpayers of Scotland, the smallest town in the district and the one with the smallest grand list, pay more toward its $6.4 million budget than either of the other towns in the district. That's because we happen to have more students in the district than the other towns, and regional schools are funded on a per-student basis, rather than having their costs distributed equally among taxpayers, as is the case with local schools.

    We can try harder to be kind to and understanding of each other. I personally would like that a lot. But so long as our only alternatives are the status quo or dissolution of the district, the kinds of argument we've suffered through are bound to occur again and again.  We are not going to solve this problem ourselves, at least not without further discord. We need the help of the state officials and legislators in charge of the system that determines how school districts are funded.

    There are many ways to make this situation better, and the legislature is likely to consider only one of them this term: a proposal that makes it possible for districts to dissolve even if all the towns in them do not vote for dissolution. It's a proposal that will likely lead to another dissolution battle.

    Other possibilities hold the prospect of keeping the district alive while making it significantly less costly for the town.  One of them is a proposal to use a five-year average of the school population from each town to calculate the town's contribution. The recent steep increases in our RD11 costs have been directly the result of sharp changes in that population. These spikes would be smoothed out under this proposal.

    Another proposal is to fund the district on  per capita basis, so that the larger towns pay a larger share of the costs, regardless of how many students attend the school. That would also reduce the spikes in cost, and it has the added benefit of making common sense. If RD11 were funded this way, our costs would be reduced by $500,000 in this fiscal year--a nearly 5 mill difference in our tax rate. (Here's the math: Divide the total budget by the number of people in the district, and multiply by the number in each town.  $6.4 million/5700 people = $1122/person. $1122 x 1700 Scotland residents = $1.9 million. We are currently paying over $2.4 million.)

    Only the state legislature can make this change. They will only make it if our legislators propose it. And they will only propose it if their constituents demand it. To that end, I've written up a petition. It's available in Town Hall and online at  http://chng.it/8N8kFjvg . Please consider signing it. It's the only way we will be heard.