Freshman State Senator Tony Hwang, who represents Newtown, understands the long-term effects the Sandy Hook tragedy will have on the community. Among his strongest initiatives in Hartford so far this first session is trying to ensure that posttraumatic fallout from 12/14 is not continually exacerbated by individuals who initiate threats resulting in lock-ins, evacuations, and other disruptive reactions at local schools, as well as in other school districts across the state. On Friday, March 20, flanked by Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe and School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, Sen Hwang will formally introduce Senate Bill 1108 — The Zero Tolerance Safe School Environment Act. If successful, the bill would elevate Threatening in the First Degree to a Class C felony from a Class D felony, and Threatening in the Second Degree to a Class D felony from a Class A misdemeanor.
The Police Commission has scheduled a special meeting for next week to discuss the traffic safety issues that exist at the flagpole intersection of Main Street, Church Hill Road, and West Street. The Police Commission is the local traffic authority.
The meeting is slated for 7 pm on Tuesday, March 24, at Town Hall South at 3 Main Street.
Police Commission members have been reviewing traffic data which indicate that during a six-year period, representing calendar years 2009 through 2014 inclusive, there were 94 reported traffic accidents in the area of the five-legged flagpole intersection.
After hearing from one resident, who spoke in support of the school district budget, the Board of Finance on March 12 unanimously recommended a 2015-16 budget proposal of $111,730,513 to the Legislative Council, representing a 0.6 percent increase over the current year. Finance Board Chairman John Kortze subsequently presented those recommendations to the council on March 18.
A partnership between C.H. Booth Library and Newtown Public Schools will offer library cards for all kindergarteners entering the district next school year. For the first time, Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi Jr announced at a recent Board of Education meeting, kindergarten packets are being sent home to families with a co-signed letter from the district and from Booth Library Director Brenda McKinley.
As officials prepare to move into the final stages of finalizing the 2016 budget proposal, selectmen on March 16 were forced to amend the current year spending plan by nearly $300,000 to accommodate the materials and overtime costs required to keep Newtown’s roads clear and safe this winter. During their regular meeting Monday and on the recommendation of town Finance Director Robert Tait, selectmen amended the current year’s budget to reflect $298,031 in added spending to cover unanticipated salt, sand, and overtime expenses. During that same meeting, selectmen approved spending $75,000 from the capital nonrecurring fund to underwrite the costs of Phase I and II of the ongoing municipal building strategic planning process.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy on March 17 announced that he is selecting Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson to serve as the state’s Under Secretary for Intergovernmental Policy, a position that will be responsible for the streamlining the investments into urban communities and regions in order to maximize their output and extend those improvements across surrounding areas. Mayor Jackson recently served as chairman of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, a 16-member panel that was formed in the immediate aftermath of 12/14. In his new role, Jackson collaborate on behalf of the state with civic, municipal, and industry leadership to determine and prioritize transformational neighborhood revitalization strategies through a range of issues areas such as quality affordable housing, development of community leadership and advocacy, workforce development, early childhood education and academic achievement initiatives, violence reduction, tax and labor policy analysis, and transportation corridor development.
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.