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RTM meeting to resume Monday after evacuation

January 28, 2019

GREENWICH — The Representative Town Meeting will be reconvening Monday night at Central Middle School after an emergency evacuation last week caused the sudden interruption of the board’s work.

The RTM had been in the middle of its regularly scheduled meeting Jan. 21 when a gas leak caused things to be cut short. A gas leak was found outside the school after several RTM members reported smelling a gas odor when they walked in for the meeting. The fire department was called, and the meeting had to be adjourned when the evacuation was ordered.

The RTM will go into session at 8 p.m. Monday at Central Middle School.

While the January RTM call was a relatively light one, only about 25 minutes of the meeting was completed before the adjournment last week. The meeting will be brought back into order Monday night to complete the rest of the call.

That includes consideration of $420,000 in funding for improvements on the playing field at Hamilton Avenue School. The field is uneven and in poor condition; community members and school officials have been calling for the work to be done for years.

The RTM could also, if the members allow it, consider the town’s participation in a state policy to help federal workers affected by the recent government shutdown. The state law, passed last week, would allow municipalities to provide extensions on property tax payments for federal workers who were furloughed or forced to work without paychecks during the shutdown.

Last week, the Board of Selectman approved a request from Tax Collector Howard Richman to grant a 60-day extension for federal employees who had property taxes due on or before Feb. 1, which is the deadline for town residents. The extension, if approved, would go into effect retroactively to Jan. 25, which is the day the shutdown ended.

The extension is not currently on the RTM’s call for January, but Moderator Tom Byrne said last week it can be added if the body’s members approve by a two thirds majority.

Before last week’s evacuation, the RTM approved $750,000 in funding for two major projects at Greenwich High School. Both the science wing and the performing arts center, as well as the nearby gymnasium, suffered flooding damage after two separate incidents. Approval from the RTM was needed to pay for those repairs.

kborsuk@greenwichtime.com

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