Fear of change met Ledge Light Health District officials at the Wednesday night joint Stonington Borough Board of Warden and Burgesses and .
Representatives from the Ledge Light Health District including Director of Health Baker Salsbury and Deputy Director Steve Mansfield presented local officials, business owners and residents with a proposal for .
Look through the video short takes to hear the thoughts and questions from Stonington residents and business owners including Tim Murray of in Mystic, Stephanie Houlihan of , of Stonington Borough and Tricia Cunningham of the .
If Stonington decides to accept the proposal it would come at an additional cost of $15,000 to the town and also increases in various fees to local businesses. At the current fees it would cost local businesses a total of an additional $15,000 per year.
The increase in worried and Salsbury said Ledge Light Health District would work with businesses to ease them into the new fees.
“We’re highly sensitive to the costs of doing businesses,” Salsbury said, adding that in the first year Stonington businesses would pay the same fees they pay currently, in the second year they would pay licensing fees that would bring them to 50 percent of the increase and in the third year they would pay the full licensing fee.
Salsbury noted that Stonington’s fees have not raised in ten years and that joining the district includes other benefits such as businesses and residents no longer having to pay $2,000 to $3,000 for septic tank if they needed one and a Stonington Police Officer no longer having to drive up to Hartford for animal control issues.
Residents from other towns including the Waterford Chief of Police, a Groton business owner and a New London business owner spoke in support of the district.
“Health departments always worry restaurant owners, but they do help us, they do work with us,” said New London Business Owner and Ledge Light Board member Candace Devendittis.
If Stonington accepts the proposal before May 1, 2012 the state would pay $15,000 to Ledge Light reducing the initial cost. Current Stonington Sanitarian Karen Weiss would become a full-time employee of Ledge Light Health District. A Stonington Borough resident would have one seat on the board and two Stonington residents would have a seat on the board.
First Selectman ., said he expects the town to make a decision at the board of selectmen’s March 28 meeting. Haberek encouraged the public to email or call him with additional comments.