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Vaccines and other updates for Corner

Northwest Hills Council of Governments

GOSHEN — At the Jan. 14 meeting of the Northwest Hills Council of Governments (held online), John Fields, the regional coordinator for the state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, spoke about the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The Northwest Hills COG is an organization of the first selectmen of 21 area towns.

Field said that there had been some confusion in the initial round of vaccinations over who was eligible. He said part of the problem is that different health districts interpret the vaccinations guidelines differently.

Field also said that local health departments and hospitals have been told not to waste vaccines, with the result that people receive the vaccination earlier than they otherwise would.

“That’s the reality of it,” Field said.

Later in the meeting Field said he doesn’t see testing for COVID-19 ending “anytime soon.” 

He also mentioned that President Donald Trump signed off on federal relief relating to last summer’s Tropical Storm Isaias.

Field said that requests for personal protective equipment continue, and are becoming harder to fill. “Gloves and other items are getting hard to get.”

He also said the recent federal stimulus package includes funding for “farm-to-table” operations to get food to people in need.

The legislative session

Joe DeLong, the executive director of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), briefed the COG members on the current session of the Connecticut General Assembly. 

He said his organization was watching for “well-meaning proposals” that will impose “unsustainable and uncontrollable costs” on municipalities, causing them to choose between raising property taxes, cutting services or some combination of the two.

DeLong said he expects action from the Legislature on codifying some of Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive orders from early in the pandemic, especially those that allow boards of selectmen to pass budgets without the usual town meeting.

He also said CCM is keeping an eye on zoning reform proposals.

He said a top priority is making sure state funding for towns is not cut, and criticized the Legislature for allowing such funding to “continue to be in significant jeopardy, year after year.”

Dan Jerram, first selectman of New Hartford, said the state has not adjusted town aid for the cost of living, adding additional financial burdens to towns.

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