Newtown’s delegation of state lawmakers – Senator Tony Hwang, Rep Mitch Bolinsky, Rep J P Sredzinski and Rep Dan Carter – each expressed frustration, even exasperation after learning about an agreement on a biennium budget. That agreement reportedly emerged from a late night meeting that broke early Sunday morning, May 31.The legislature is set to deliberate and vote on the measure June 1, but the spending package was already being touted as a done deal in releases from Governor Dannel Malloy’s office and the legislative leadership Sunday. Despite the final results, it was the lead up to this latest budget disappointed local representatives.
Following a third public hearing on a proposal to construct 74 condominium units on the west side of Washington Avenue in Sandy Hook Center, the Inland Wetlands Commission on May 27 unanimously approved a wetlands/watercourses protection permit for the project known as The Walk at Sandy Hook Village. IWC members approved the project after receiving and reviewing several additional development documents from applicant Michael Burton. Those environmental protection documents concern the plantings planned for the site; the measures that would be taken to protect the water quality of the nearby Pootatuck River, which is a trout stream; how rain gardens at the site would be maintained; and a schedule for various site maintenance work.
The recently established Community Center Commission elected co-chairs and revised its vision statement Tuesday, May 26, at the group’s second meeting. The group has begun the process of planning a community center. This week, the 14-member group reworked its vision statement, talked about their charge and the community's needs, and discussed using subcommittees to develop community. Parks & Recreation staff members spoke with the committee as well, and funding was also discussed during the course of the meeting.
In two different locations Thursday, May 28, the Board of Finance and the Public Building and Site Commission (PBSC) were scheduled to lay the groundwork for the earliest stages of a planned high school auditorium renovation, which may commence as early as July 1, the date funding becomes available for the project. After an early misstep getting the appropriate budget allocation into the town’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the project is back on track, and will receive expedited handling apparently due to the abbreviated time available to complete all the necessary work. This week, the finance board was set to approve a $3.6 million special appropriation for the work, while Robert Mitchell, PBSC chairman, told The Bee that at his May 28 meeting, commissioners would likely authorize proceeding with plans to advertise for a project architect and engineer.
Michael Porco, Jr, stepped onto the sidewalk where parents and children gathered to peer over bridge rails into the Pootatuck River in Sandy Hook Center Saturday, May 23. He urged them to make room for a bucket loader that was rounding the corner from Glen Road onto Church Hill,
Newtown’s latest Charter Revision Commission is heading into June with the end of a yearlong tunnel in sight. Following a May 27 meeting, ccommission Chairman Jeff Capeci said the group was more than two-thirds finished with what will amount to a complete review and refinement of the community’s constitutional document. One of the commission’s most protracted and complicated revisions related to the acquisition and disposition of public or town-owned property was unanimously adopted this week. That final recommendation was the product of many hours of deliberation and fine tuning at both the committee and full commission level, with commission Vice Chair Robert Hall and Commissioner Deborra Zukowski shepherding the revision from the start.
First Selectman Pat Llodra is seeking residents to fill several opening on local appointed boards and commissions. In some cases the appointments are required to be affiliated with a specific political party, while in other cases unaffiliated voters are encouraged to consider serving. Inquiries should be made through the Office of the First Selectman, 3 Primrose Street, or call 203-270-4201.
With the Board of Education set to review data on the possibility of closing a school during its meeting on Tuesday, June 2, parents voiced concerns on the topic during a Community Forum on Thursday, May 28.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, explained near the start of the forum that, “You’re here because in 2006 and 2007 the district hit an all-time high with students, of 5,667 youngsters, and the projection in 2023-24 is 3,435 students, meaning your delta between your high mark and your projected low mark is 2,232 fewer students.”
Dr Erardi said the district’s enrollment is now 4,748, nearly 1,000 fewer than enrollment in 2006-07.
UPDATE: The Severe Thunderstorm Warning that went with this afternoon's storm has been cancelled. || The National Weather Service (NYC) is tracking a “strong thunderstorm [that] will affect eastern Putnam and Northern Fairfield counties” within the hour. A special Weather Statement has been issued for Fairfield County; and the area is under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 4:15. NWS expects the storm will be in Newtown before 4 o'clock. Frequent cloud to ground lightning is occurring with the storm.