It may have been one of the shortest budget public hearings the Legislative Council has hosted, but its four participants brought the same degree of passion and advocacy for the school district budget proposal as dozens have in previous years.
The four residents, plus Interim Superintendent John Reed, spent a total of about ten minutes Wednesday evening relating their support for the district’s spending plan, and calling for the council to move the budget request to referendum with no further reductions.
A piece last week in The Newtown Bee centered on prevailing wage laws applicable to public construction in Connecticut. [“Town Attorney Reviews Prevailing Wage Implications With Council.”] Unfortunately, Newtown Town Attorney David Grogins’ attempts to educate town officials on the subject was incomplete and, in part, wrong.
The Legislative Council is in the preliminary stages of initiating a new charter review process.
Council Chair Mary Ann Jacob reported to her colleagues February 19 that she is issuing a letter to all town boards, commissions, and departments soliciting input regarding issues in Newtown’s constitutional document that may need to be revised, amended, or struck, as well as any issues that need to be considered for addition.
Snow and ice have been repeatedly blanketing Newtown since late fall, pushing the Public Works Department’s winter maintenance budgets into the red in recent weeks. But a transfer of $116,106 that is expected to be approved by the Legislative Council February 19 will put those well-tapped budget lines back in the black according to Public Works Director Fred Hurley.
A growing number of officials believe that helping residents better understand the relationship between declining student enrollment and the amount school leaders will ask taxpayers to underwrite next year could help pass the annual budget referendum sooner.
Providing additional evidence to taxpayers that town and district leaders are working collaboratively, and with mutual support for each other’s spending proposals, could also go far toward propelling a first-round budget vote to passage, some officials believe.
As childhood friends, Riverside Road resident Susan Oberstadt and her future husband, George, used to play in the cow fields that were eventually developed to build Sandy Hook School.
She became one of the first students to attend that new school back in the 1950s. Ms Oberstadt never dreamed that six decades later she would be sitting in a packed town council meeting fighting to keep her homestead from being taken by eminent domain so the town could enhance the development of a new Sandy Hook School.
The Legislative Council is scheduled to consider and possibly endorse eminent domain options to acquire a privately owned parcel for the planned new access road for Sandy Hook School. The meeting is set for Wednesday, December 18 at 7:30 at the Municipal Center.
According to the agenda, the council will discuss and possibly act on acquiring a parcel for the school, "including action by eminent domain."
Town Attorney Monty Frank told The Newtown Bee that it is the council's purview to take up the action if it cannot reach an agreement through negotiation.
To the Editor:
I’m writing to say thank you to the folks who took a few minutes to cast their vote and elect me for a second term on the Legislative Council representing District 1.
This is an honor. With the interests and concerns of all residents in mind, I wish to continue moving forward finding common ground with fellow council members. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts. I look forward to continuing serving our great community.
Legislative Council – District 1
Lake Road, Newtown November 13, 2013
I’d like to take a moment to thank all the voters who cast their ballots to elect me as one of the four representatives from our district on the Legislative Council. It’s a tremendous honor, and I look forward to acting on your behalf in all the challenging decisions ahead. It has a deep personal meaning for me because my grandfather, James Knapp, Sr, who many of you may have known, also served Newtown on the Legislative Council. I know I have some big shoes to fill.