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Home Care in Colchester, CT

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, sometimes they cannot live independently without someone by their side to provide care. Unfortunately, some older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live in the comforts or their home rather than in an assisted living community. Home care in Colchester, CT is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

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Home Care Colchester, CT

The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age. We are proud to have helped tens of thousands of seniors to maintain a higher level of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home care services in Colchester, CT. Always Best Care is here to help.

How does In-home Senior Care in Colchester, CT work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 In-Home Care Colchester, CT

Types of In-home Care in Colchester, CT

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

 Elderly Care Colchester, CT

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes or Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
 Senior Care Colchester, CT

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading

Respite Care Colchester, CT

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite activities and hobbies while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community Events and Social Outings
 Caregivers Colchester, CT

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy other activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress helps reduce the risks of caregiver burnout.

When it comes to non-medical home care, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible. If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

Benefits of Home Care in Colchester, CT

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Home Care Colchester, CT
  • Age in Place
    According to AARP, 9 out of 10 seniors prefer to age in place within the comfort of their own home. With in-home care, seniors have a way to stay at home, receive the care they need, and maintain a sense of independence, improving overall wellness.
  • Peace of Mind
    If you or a member of your family have assumed the role of caregiver for your senior loved one, you know how stressful the job can be. Between caregiver burnout and constant worry, being a family caregiver is hard. In-home care relieves your burden and gives you peace of mind knowing that your senior family member is in expert hands.
  • Socialization
    Unlike many senior care facilities where the staff and residents rotate frequently, seniors can foster new friendships and build bonds with their caregiver. Seniors who socialize on a regular basis are often happier, which fosters positivity and leads to increased wellbeing.
  • Personalized Care Plan
    No two seniors need the same kind of in-home care assistance. That is why each of our care plans are tailored to meet our client's individual needs. We offer plans that cover everything from light housekeeping to more involved duties like transportation to doctor's appointments. Our Care Coordinators will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan to ensure your senior's needs are exceeded.

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for clients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

 In-Home Care Colchester, CT

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

Comfort

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Colchester, CT, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

Independence

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

 Elderly Care Colchester, CT

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Colchester, CT gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

 Senior Care Colchester, CT

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

  • Veteran's Benefits: Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
  • Private Insurance: Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
  • Life Insurance: Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Colchester,CT understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

01

An assessment of your senior loved one

02

An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home

03

Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs

Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

Latest News in Colchester, CT

'Change needs to happen'| Colchester dad speaks out about fallout following Title IX investigation

Brian Hurlock said his daughter faced backlash in school after being named as the complainant in a Title IX case involving the football team.COLCHESTER, Conn. — An incident on a school bus after a football game has turned into a nearly year-long nightmare for one Colchester family."I never wanted to go in public with this. I tried like any parent would. I tried to keep it as private as I possibly could because it's still my daughter," sa...

Brian Hurlock said his daughter faced backlash in school after being named as the complainant in a Title IX case involving the football team.

COLCHESTER, Conn. — An incident on a school bus after a football game has turned into a nearly year-long nightmare for one Colchester family.

"I never wanted to go in public with this. I tried like any parent would. I tried to keep it as private as I possibly could because it's still my daughter," said Brian Hurlock of Colchester.

Hurlock said a Title IX investigation was launched in November of 2021 after an incident on a school bus that his daughter was on. She was among the cheerleaders riding the bus with the freshman football team after a game.

According to the results of that investigation, members of the freshman football team made sexually explicit and sexually violent comments, and simulated sex acts with their helmets.

"The students on the cheerleading team had to be subjected to this the whole bus ride back," Hurlock said.

Hurlock said the investigation was prompted by his complaint after his daughter told him what had happened.

The report concluded she was not sexually harassed, but it also named her.

"My daughter was getting pointed at and named and that's the girl," Hurlock said. "She spent the entire freshman school year isolated. Being tutored in the library by herself," he said.

Hurlock said his family spent the summer trying to figure out how to transfer his daughter to a different school district.

However, now they face another obstacle. He said the superintendent is asking him to sign a "release and settlement agreement" before she can transfer.

"It's a confidentiality agreement. This basically states that you're going to hold them not liable and in exchange, they'll pay for my daughter to go to another school. And obviously, that just defeats the entire purpose of what's right and what's wrong," Hurlock said.

He said he is not giving up and wants everyone to know it is okay to speak up if something happens to you.

"Change needs to happen. I'm standing up for my daughter. I'm proud of my daughter for stepping up and speaking against this. I'm very proud of her," he said.

FOX61 News left a message for the Colchester Schools superintendent but has not yet received a response. We have also reached out to the chair of the Board of Education.

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High school roundup: Stonington edges Bacon in ECC DI boys’ soccer semis

Colchester — Ryan Turner headed in a corner kick in the 76th minute for the go-ahead goal as third-seeded Stonington High School edged No. 2 Bacon Academy 2-1 Monday in an Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I boys’ soccer semifinal.The Bears (11-3-3) will play No. 1 East Lyme in Wednesday’s 7 p.m. final at Ledyard.Josh Lord scored and Connor Tavares and Brett Caron each had an assist for Stonington.Colby Butterfield scored for the Bobcats (12-3-2) and Drew Ferrigno had the assist....

Colchester — Ryan Turner headed in a corner kick in the 76th minute for the go-ahead goal as third-seeded Stonington High School edged No. 2 Bacon Academy 2-1 Monday in an Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I boys’ soccer semifinal.

The Bears (11-3-3) will play No. 1 East Lyme in Wednesday’s 7 p.m. final at Ledyard.

Josh Lord scored and Connor Tavares and Brett Caron each had an assist for Stonington.

Colby Butterfield scored for the Bobcats (12-3-2) and Drew Ferrigno had the assist.

In other games:

• Top-seeded East Lyme edged No. 4 NFA 3-2, getting the game-winner on an own goal with about 18 minutes remaining. Ian Cambridge scored twice for East Lyme (11-3-3), while Robert Stoddard and Connor Moran each had an assist and Connor Piper made four saves. NFA (9-6-1) led 1-0 and 2-1. The Wildcats got both goals from Louis Hawkins, assisted by Landon LeSage and Nathan Judge. Colton Hawkins had 12 saves for NFA.

• Aidan Cass scored in the first half on a feed from Jose Pacheco as second-seeded St. Bernard edged No. 3 Montville 1-0 in an ECC Division II semifinal. Dan O’Brien had eight saves for the Saints (15-1-1), who will play No. 1 Windham, a 6-1 winner over No. 4 Griswold in the other semifinal, in Wednesday’s final at Ledyard (4:30 p.m.). Mason Snurkowski had five saves for Montville (8-7-2).

Girls’ volleyball

• Skylar Bell had 25 digs and five aces and Shae McMunn added 23 assists as second-seeded East Lyme began its ECC Division I tournament title defense with a 25-22, 25-20, 25-19 quarterfinal win over No. 7 Ledyard. Addison Soleau had eight kills for East Lyme (16-4), which will play No. 3 Waterford in Wednesday’s semifinals at Fitch at 6:30 p.m. Layla Lasisomphone had 16 assists and 10 digs, Megan Tabraham had 11 kills and four aces and Grace Haydash had eight digs and six kills for the Colonels (8-13).

• Annalyn Cahill had 16 kills and Katie Tuohy added 11 as No. 5 Fitch knocked off No. 4 Woodstock Academy 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 25-17 in an ECC Division I tournament quarterfinal. Madi Aldinger had 21 digs and Tessa Cantone had six aces for Fitch (12-9), which will play top-seeded Griswold in Wednesday’s semifinal round at Fitch at 4:30 p.m.

• Kuranda Ruggiero led top-seeded Griswold with 27 assists, 11 digs, four kills, three aces and a block in its 25-17, 25-18, 25-15 sweep of No. 8 NFA in an ECC Division I tournament quarterfinal. Emily Aviles had 19 digs and three aces, Kierra Neilson had seven kills, five digs and a block and Makayla Neilson added nine kills and a block for the Wolverines (20-0). Katelyn Friday had nine digs, three kills and two aces, Stella Hogan had three aces, three kills and two digs and Evelina Klyvkin had five blocks and two kills for NFA (3-15).

• Marina Colonis had 10 kills, 11 digs and seven aces in No. 3 Waterford’s victory over No. 6 Bacon Academy, 25-16, 17-25, 25-12, 25-19, in the ECC Division I tournament quarterfinals. Lillian Steinhaus added 25 assists and eight digs for Waterford (16-5), Emerson Lane had 13 kills, five blocks, three aces and four digs and Mia Petrini had 17 digs and two aces.

• Kassidy LaTour had eight kills and four aces as top-seeded Lyman Memorial swept No. 8 New London 25-15, 25-13, 25-10 in an ECC Division II quarterfinal. Carlee DeRoehn had five kills and four aces for Lyman (16-5), which will play at No. 4 Plainfield in Wednesday’s semifinals at 6:30 p.m. The Whalers are 1-20.

• No. 2 Wheeler blanked No. 7 Putnam 25-8, 25-14, 25-16 in the quarterfinals of the ECC Division II tournament. Michelle Macina had seven kills and two aces for Wheeler (15-5), which will take on No. 3 Windham in the semis at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Plainfield. Allison Needham added five aces and 10 assists and Skyler Morgan had four aces and four kills.

Girls’ soccer

• Skylar Frost scored four times, including the game-winner with a minute left, to lift Williams to a 5-4 win over Watkinson. Lucy Fader scored for Williams and Marlee Anselmi added two assists.

Fleeing Retaliation in Colchester Schools, Student Faces Legal Hardball

COLCHESTER — The father of a Bacon Academy student who lodged a sexual harassment complaint against several members of the Colchester football team said that his daughter has nowhere to attend school this fall.Brian Hurlock, the father, released emails from interim Superintendent Timothy McDowell that show the district requesting that Hurlock sign a “Release and Settlement Agreement” before the district will allow his daughter to attend a nearby high school.“My daughter was one of the students who report...

COLCHESTER — The father of a Bacon Academy student who lodged a sexual harassment complaint against several members of the Colchester football team said that his daughter has nowhere to attend school this fall.

Brian Hurlock, the father, released emails from interim Superintendent Timothy McDowell that show the district requesting that Hurlock sign a “Release and Settlement Agreement” before the district will allow his daughter to attend a nearby high school.

“My daughter was one of the students who reported the behavior that led to the football season getting canceled last year. The district continues to try to cover it up, and now the district is refusing to allow my daughter to transfer to another district, even if we pay for it, unless we sign an agreement that releases them from all liability. So everyone starts school tomorrow except my daughter,” wrote Hurlock in an Aug. 29 post on a local Facebook discussion group.

Hurlock says that his daughter does not feel safe attending local schools after her name was released to the families of the accused football players during the Title IX investigation. School officials told Hurlock in an email that they were obligated to release her name as part of the investigation.

“The federal regulations require that both the respondent and the complainant are listed on the letters that are sent. Unfortunately, this is the process that the district is required to follow,” former Director of Pupil Services and Special Education Kathleen Perry wrote in an email to Hurlock dated December 1, 2021.

The incident

According to the findings of the Colchester School District’s Title IX investigation, in November 2021, members of the boys freshman football team and girls cheerleading team and coaching staff were riding on a bus together after an away game in Waterford, when members of the football team made “sexually explicit” and “sexually violent” comments. One player mimicked sexual actions “by placing his hands on his football helmet and thrusting his hips repeatedly towards the helmet.”

According to the report, the football team members made comments that included “‘I would slap that bitch while I fuck her’ ‘let those girls give pleasure until they can’t breathe’ ‘oh, she’s not done,’ ‘go for another round,’ ‘I’m going to fuck [someone],’ ‘[if] your woman’s out of line, you’ll have to put her in her place’ and ‘kill her.’”

Those comments were not directed at any Colchester students, according to the findings of the investigation, although one football player did refer to one cheerleader as a “slut” and a “triche” — terms that imply sexual promiscuity.

The investigation was spurred by a complaint by Hurlock alleging sexual harassment against his daughter and other members of the cheerleading team by the football players.

A number of coaches at the school were placed on paid administrative leave in November as part of the investigation, and the remainder of the Fall 2021 football season was canceled. The head football coach later resigned, according to a Hartford Courant report.

After interviewing the students and reviewing video footage taken from the school bus camera and one of the football players’ cell phones, in February the district engaged the law firm Pullman & Comely to oversee the investigation.

A May 2 report concluded that while the behavior of the football players was “highly disturbing and inappropriate,” it did not constitute a violation of Title IX.

Hurlock said that after the targets of the investigation were informed that his daughter had filed the complaint, she was ostracized at school by the other students, and the subject of threats. He said that his daughter had to be privately tutored for the rest of the year in what he described as “a closet in the library.”

Even outside of school, Hurlock said, his daughter didn’t feel comfortable going out.

“She literally lives at the house and goes to tutoring and comes back to the house,” he said. “Whenever we go to the grocery store, she gets glared at, pointed at — like, ‘That’s the girl.’”

Hurlock said that in early August he made a formal request that the district send his daughter to another school.

Emails provided to CT Examiner show that the district administration agreed to send Hurlock’s daughter to school in nearby Griswold on the condition that Hurlock sign a “Release and Settlement Agreement.” When Hurlock asked what the terms were of the agreement, Dr. Timothy McDowell, the district’s interim superintendent, told Hurlock that he would send the document the next day, August 19.

According to Hurlock, he has yet to receive the agreement, despite that the school year started this week.

On August 24, he filed a lawsuit against five of the boys on the football team alleging infliction of emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and an inability to participate in extracurricular activities.

“Ultimately, what I would like to see happen is the school do the right thing,” he said. “We have tax paying money that goes to this school for my daughter to go here. If they cannot facilitate a safe and productive learning environment, then they need to facilitate a safe, happy, productive learning environment for her to go somewhere else.”

Reached by phone, McDowell told CT Examiner he was unable to comment on the matter.

Board of Education member Margo Gignac told CT Examiner that the board was not aware of the details of the investigation, saying that it was being addressed by the superintendent and the school administration.

Gignac also said that the football team was “making great strides” under the direction of their new coach.

“The new coach is phenomenal. He is very on top of things, very strict with the boys,” she said. “He’s definitely the right pick for a coach.”

Emilia Otte covers health and education for the Connecticut Examiner. In 2022 Otte was awarded "Rookie of the Year," by the New England Newspaper & Press Association.

After 2-1 Vote Rejecting Colchester’s Latest Budget, Bisbikos Calls for Spending Freeze

COLCHESTER — The town has entered a budget freeze effective immediately, according to an email from First Selectman Andreas Bisbikos sent to all department heads on Wednesday.According to the email, the town will only be giving overtime in emergency situations and that all purchases will need approval either from the first selectman or from the town’s finance director.Bisbikos also said that he will not be filling the position of Director of Operations for the Public Works Department, which he said would open up $90...

COLCHESTER — The town has entered a budget freeze effective immediately, according to an email from First Selectman Andreas Bisbikos sent to all department heads on Wednesday.

According to the email, the town will only be giving overtime in emergency situations and that all purchases will need approval either from the first selectman or from the town’s finance director.

Bisbikos also said that he will not be filling the position of Director of Operations for the Public Works Department, which he said would open up $90,000 to use for “inflationary concerns.” According to Bisbikos, the consulting group SLR, which was hired to evaluate the Public Works Department, agreed that the position “will not be needed moving forward.”

The freeze comes after the Board of Selectmen last week rejected the Board of Finance’s proposed budget — after two previous budgets failed to receive sufficient public support in town-wide votes – by a 2-1 vote.

Bisbikos said that if the budget failed a third time, it could mean drastic measures in terms of town operations.

“The bottom line is, if this budget goes down, there will most likely be layoffs and there will most likely be services that are cut,” said Bisbikos. “There’s no way around that. And I do not want to be in that position.”

Republican Selectman Jason LaChapelle explained in a post on Facebook that he voted against the latest proposal because he felt that there was a lack of transparency in how the budget had been developed. LaChapelle said he disagreed with the way the board had decided to keep or discard certain items and questioned both the calculations of fuel costs and the revenue estimates that the board put forward.

“While I understand the town needs a budget to operate under, it needs to be a budget that has been presented to the citizens both honestly and transparently. I do not buy into the Board’s doom and gloom that we need a budget now and, therefore, it doesn’t matter how they get to a number so long as they get to one,” wrote LaChapelle.

In a Board of Finance meeting on August 4, board members discussed cutting multiple items from town department budgets in order to reach a budget of $15,636,525, which the Board determined would result in a mill rate of 26.88 for the town.

But on August 10, Board of Finance Chair Andrea Migliaccio expressed concern about the costs of gasoline, diesel fuel and salt for the town. The town’s initial estimates for the cost of fuel was $2.78 per gallon for gas and $3.00 per gallon for diesel. She said she believed the town would need to increase its budget by $85,000 for gasoline and $29,000 for salt to keep up with the rising prices.

In a meeting a week later, Migliaccio said she felt the estimates she had been given for the fuel increases were no longer accurate, and questioned whether it was the purview of the Board of Finance to incorporate fuel costs into their calculations for the budget. She pointed out that the cost of gas had dropped below $4 per gallon.

“That’s not our skill set, to keep up with the cost of fuel — it just isn’t,” she said.

Democrats Mike Egan and Mike Hayes pushed back against the proposed budget, saying that they needed to account for the expected fuel costs.

“If we know the fact that certain costs are actually going to be incurred and we’re not being up front and honest with the taxpayers, that’s a hit to this whole board,” said Egan.

Board members also expressed disagreement over whether to remove certain new items in the budget, including a software program called ClearGov and a driver for the Senior Center to transport seniors to medical appointments. In the latest budget, the board kept the ClearGov software but eliminated the driver at the Senior Center.

Migliaccio said she also felt the town could increase its revenue by $150,000 using ambulance fees, building permits and delinquency collections.

Ultimately, the Board of Finance voted 4-2 on party lines to send a budget of $15,636,525 to the Board of Selectmen, where LaChapelle and Selectwoman Denise Turner voted against sending the budget to a town meeting.

Selectwoman Debbie Bates, who voted in favor of sending the budget to the town, told CT Examiner in an email that she feared that, if the budget did not pass this time, it could potentially change the bond rating for the town. She also said that she was concerned that the delay would push the date that people would receive their car taxes out into the holiday season.

At the meeting, Bisbikos confirmed that a third failed referendum could place the town’s bond rating at risk. He also said that the Board of Selectmen should not be obstructing the budget from going forward to the town. He said it was not their job to scrutinize the numbers that the Board of Finance put forward.

“The Board of Selectmen have one job and one job alone: find the town meeting date, identify that,” said Bisbikos. “At that town meeting date, the public can weigh in. That is their God-given right. And they can make some adjustments, as they deem necessary. And once that is done, we can move forward to a budget referendum.”

Democratic Board of Finance member Mike Egan told CT Examiner that, as he interpreted the town charter, the Board of Selectmen had the right to send the budget back to the Board of Finance for further discussion if the selectmen had concerns.

Finance Director Debbie Kratochvil said that if the budget passed, she planned to implement a stricter system of checks and balances in which either she or the first selectman would have to sign off on any expenditures that would place a department over its budget.

Bisbikos said he planned to call a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, August 31.

Town Clerk Gayle Furman said that if the Board of Selectmen moved the budget forward on August 31, it can go to referendum as early as September 28th. Michele Wyatt, the town’s tax collector, said that car tax payments would then be due between November 1st and November 30th.

Wyatt said she had been getting “inundated” with phone calls from people wondering where their car tax bills were.

“I hope we can come to a conclusion soon so my office can do our job,” she said. “It’s very frustrating for my office and it’s frustrating for the customer, the taxpayer.”

Emilia Otte covers health and education for the Connecticut Examiner. In 2022 Otte was awarded "Rookie of the Year," by the New England Newspaper & Press Association.

Residents Plead for Civility as Colchester Selectmen Send Budget to Town Meeting

COLCHESTER – In a contentious meeting, residents pleaded for civility, and the Board of Selectmen voted 4-1 to move the town’s latest budget proposal to a town meeting and referendum, the third attempt to sell voters on a budget for a fiscal year that began two months ago.The $15,636,525 proposed budget will first go to a town meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19 in the Colchester Town Hall, where town officials will try to convince residents to approve the budget in a referendum set for Wednesday, Sept. 28.Sele...

COLCHESTER – In a contentious meeting, residents pleaded for civility, and the Board of Selectmen voted 4-1 to move the town’s latest budget proposal to a town meeting and referendum, the third attempt to sell voters on a budget for a fiscal year that began two months ago.

The $15,636,525 proposed budget will first go to a town meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19 in the Colchester Town Hall, where town officials will try to convince residents to approve the budget in a referendum set for Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Selectman Jason LaChapelle was the lone vote against sending the budget forward, but the 4-1 vote was not a sign of reconciliation. Selectwoman Rosemary Coyle, who pushed to restore funding for a senior center bus driver, made clear that her vote was to send the budget to voters, not to give her own approval of its priorities.

Some members of the board bristled at First Selectman Andreas Bisbikos for bringing town Chief Financial Officer Debbie Kratochvil and Board of Finance Chair Andrea Migliaccio into the discussion to pressure them to advance the budget after they voted it down in a 2-1 vote in August.

Bisbikos and Kratochvil warned that if Colchester failed again to pass a budget, it would harm the town’s credit rating – saying that bonding companies don’t look favorably on towns that fail to pass their budgets. Bisbikos has already warned of layoffs and service cuts if the budget fails to pass.

“What does it mean for us? It means higher rates, more fees that we will pay. It will cost us more for the projects that we have going forward,” Kratochvil said. “We’ve got some pretty big projects going forward. We’ve got $4.5 million for fire apparatus, we’ve got $9.5 million for the senior center – so it’s definitely going to impact us the longer we delay the budget.”

Bisbikos insisted that the Board of Selectmen’s only job was to move the budget the Board of Finance approved to a town meeting for voters to decide, and that failing to do that was obstructing the voters’ right to decide – and would open the town to lawsuits as a result.

LaChapelle, Coyle and Selectwoman Denise Turner pushed back on the idea that the Board of Selectmen had no right to question and reject the budget. Turner said the board had every right to reject the budget in August, and that she resented being “reprimanded” by Kratochvil and Migliaccio for that decision.

“I understand inviting people to talk to us about the budget,” Turner said to Bisbikos. “I am a little dismayed that you invited people to more or less reprimand the board for the vote that we took last time. We don’t need to be reprimanded, we’re not children.”

During public comment, two residents implored the board to learn to work together and keep decorum during their meetings.

“In terms of a working relationship, there’s always room for improvement,” Bisbikos said. “And, you know, the holidays will be approaching, so maybe we’ll soften up our hearts a little bit.”

Brendan Crowley covers energy and the environment for CT Examiner. T: 860 598-0050

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