Saying she was presenting a spending plan that the Board of Education believes “helps us meet our budget goals,” which in part, plan “for the future needs of the Newtown public school system,” board Chair Debbie Leidlein reviewed a number of points in the proposal that will face further Board of Finance deliberation in the coming days.
On Thursday, February 27, the finance board was set to take up the issue of school security, and was planning to return to a comprehensive discussion on the school board’s budget proposal March 6.
Following lengthy discussion at a special town meeting, voters by an 81-to-11 margin have approved borrowing $2.8 million to expand the Hawleyville sanitary sewer system to spur local economic development.
Approximately 100 people attended the February 26 standing-room-only meeting held at Newtown Municipal Center.
At the outset of the session, First Selectman Pat Llodra stressed that false information on the sewer expansion project had been posted on the Internet by an anonymous person who opposes the project. Mrs Llodra said that the information that questions the motives of town officials is “insulting.”
Fred Hurley, town public works director, said the sewer expansion project has evolved during the past three years, adding that the $2.8 million in bonding for the project reflects a scaled-down version of what earlier had been a $5 million expansion concept.
Adding sanitary sewers to the area, which already has public water, natural gas, electric, and communications utilities, is intended to make large undeveloped properties there more attractive to developers of commercial/industrial projects.
Newtown’s recovery website address has changed to www.onenewtown.com. The previous address was a .org address. The change is reportedly being required by the corporate provider that is underwriting the site costs and domain name on behalf of the town.
Ice hockey, figure skating, theaters on ice, skating programs, and skate clubs are on the list of possibilities Newtown Nighthawks high school hockey coaches are working to make a reality. Head hockey coach Paul Esposito and goaltender coach Kris Kenny introduced the idea of a Newtown Ice Arena, a project that will cost an estimated $10 million or more, to Fairfield Hills Authority members Monday night. “Newtown has a rich athletic culture,” Mr Esposito said. “My mission? To see a [skating] facility here in town, and not just hockey … we’re looking for a facility that is a benefit to everybody.” Authority members were receptive to the proposal, which included architectural renderings of a building that will complement those already on the campus. A location has not yet been committed to, but Fairfield Hills Authority members on February 24 seemed willing to move the plan forward.
Sandy Hook resident and world class cyclist Monte Frank will be coordinating a second ride from Sandy Hook to Washington featuring Team 26 — a group of similarly motivated riders looking to honor Newtown’s and all victims of gun violence, support stronger gun violence prevention laws and to spread a message of peace, hope and love.
According to Mr Frank, also a local attorney, the ride will depart Newtown on March 8, make two more ceremonial departure stops in Connecticut, coordinate appearances at several other rallies along their planned route, and arrive at the steps of the US Capital on March 11.
The Newtown Emergency Communications Center’s (NECC) ability to manage emergency calls for service has been enhanced with its use of a large flat-panel monitor that now hangs on the center’s eastern wall. The Center handles all local police, fire, and ambulance calls. It is the answering point for local Emergency 911 calls. Maureen Will, town director of emergency communications, said the monitor can be used to display the visual/graphic information that is viewable on emergency dispatchers’ multiple smaller desk-mounted monitors. The wall-mounted monitor measures five feet diagonally. As she spoke on February 18, the large monitor displayed a repetitive multicolored digital radar loop depicting the advance of a snow/rain storm that was underway that day. Besides providing dispatchers with current weather information, the large monitor can be used to display the current positions of police cars on patrol in town.
Connecticut municipal CEOs and Emergency Management Directors received a Snow and Ice Accumulation Caution Notice last week from the CT Dept of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). The Town of Newtown forwarded the information to residents with a February 21 posting on the town website. Current weather models were forecasting an active storm pattern which is expected to continue for the next few weeks, said the state department. For the weekend, temperatures were above normal for this time of year, which caused some limited melting of the deep snowpack.
As a means of educating and updating town officials ahead of a period of expanded capital projects including a new Hook & Ladder fire company headquarters, Parent Connection office, and community center, Town Attorney David Grogins appeared before the Legislative Council February 19 to review the implications of Connecticut’s Prevailing Wage law.He started his presentation by reminding the council that wage protections for those engaged in government work have been around since the Davis Bacon Act in the 1930s. Since 1977, Connecticut’s Labor Commissioner has adopted and used prevailing wage rate determinations similar to those enacted by the United States Secretary of Labor under the provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act, according to the state Department of Labor (DOL) website.
The majority of the 20 residents who participated in the Board of Finance public hearing ahead of 2014-15 budget deliberations February 20 either asked officials to hold the line on the zero increase requested by the Board of Education, or to restore the $139,000 reduction made by the school board members before endorsing the final budget request.Among the few other residents offering opinions on the district’s budget request was Stephen Rosenblatt of Watkins Drive, who argued that although the budget request represented a net-zero increase, that residents are “still paying the same for less.”
Newtown officials hope to receive about $4.3 million from a US Department of Justice grant that is being administered through the Connecticut Judicial Department’s Office of Victim Services (OVS). The total amount of that grant application stood at about $8 million as The Newtown Bee went to press February 20, according to an OVS spokesperson. The grant, which officials initially hoped would be ready to submit this week, will be delayed by about a week as the remaining agencies and organizations applying for part of the $4 million balance submit final documentation, and the OVS refines the total based on other logistical issues, according to Linda Cimino.