Council Approves Emergency Storm Fund in Split Vote

An excess of $121,976 in FEMA funds from last year's storms will be used to jumpstart the account.

The council approved the creation of an emergency storm fund in a 4-2 vote Tuesday night, which will be seeded with an excess of $121,976 in FEMA funds that Tolland received for last year's storms.

"We're going to dedicate the FEMA funds to the purposes for which we received them," Town Manager Steven Werbner said of the appropriation of the excess balance.

Werbner went on to explain that he would be able to allocate the money in the account during emergency situations to serve the public safety of Tolland residents. The town manager's expenditures would then need to be presented to the council for approval.

Werbner added that the same process was followed during Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm; the main difference lies in the fact that the money for last year's storm expenses was taken from the town's general fund, while a storm fund would simplify the budgeting process for such events.

"This makes sense and it's responsible," council member Jan Rubino said of the resolution. "It makes sense to have a contingency fund."

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Several members of the town council expressed concern that the fund could make it easy for town officials to spend money inappropriately.

"I think this is a great fund, but I'm disappointed that there is no check and balance," said council member Sam Belsito. 

Belsito and Benjamin Stanford voted against the resolution. Chairperson Jack Scavone, Vice-Chairperson Rick Field, Mark Gill and Jan Rubino supported the fund. Fellow council member Josh Freeman was absent from the meeting.

For a look at the complete text of the storm fund ordinance, take a look at the meeting agenda.

The council also approved the nomination of Joe Sce to the school board. The council's next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m.


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