In a special meeting Wednesday, January 29, the Board of Selectmen continued the process of reviewing and approving recommendations for a dozen department budget requests, including several of the largest spending proposals tendered by the police, Public Works and Parks and Recreation departments. The selectmen’s budget request for next year currently stands at a 1.22 percent increase totaling $483,058 over the current year’s spending. Debt service on all capital projects including all school projects represents $10,110,702 of the selectmen’s requested $40,203,958. Perhaps the biggest news came when Police Chief Michael Kehoe and Police Commissioner Brian Budd took their turn before the selectmen.
Over the next ten nights, temperatures across the state are expected to be near zero or subzero. Governor Dannel P. Malloy has ordered the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol to be extended and remain in effect through Sunday, February 8, as dangerously cold temperatures continue to affect the state. The order activates a network of procedures among the relevant state agencies to ensure that the most vulnerable receive shelter from the cold. Residents calling 211 from anywhere in the state will find the latest list of warming locations around Connecticut.
The Board of Education is scheduled to conduct a public hearing on its 2015-16 operating budget on Tuesday, February 3, and its decision on the budget is expected during a meeting on Thursday, February 5. Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, said on January 28 that he hopes community members are willing to be informed voters. “The opportunity for the community to be an informed voter really has begun, but really commences on Tuesday, when the electorate will have the opportunity to voice opinions and ask questions,” said Dr Erardi.
The superintendent also said he plans to share a report with the school board on Tuesday that will list all of the expected meetings between now and the referendum in April that will include discussion on the budget. In all, Dr Erardi said there are about 35 meetings that will be held by the Board of Education, the Board of Finance, or the Legislative Council.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is next scheduled to meet on Friday, January 30 at 9:30 a.m. in the hearing room 2B of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. The group plans on holding a discussion among its members regarding the relevant issue areas that will be incorporated into its final report, including mental health/mental wellness, law enforcement, and safe school design and operation.
Newtown resident Barbara Cottingham sits on the board of the Women’s Center, and is always trying to get the word out on the many services provided by the Danbury-based support service that assists more than 25,000 men, women, and children every year. The Women’s Center relies on donations for more than half of the funds required to run the center. This coming year, The Women’s Center will have the assistance of Yoga Dimensions, 87 South Main Street, Newtown. One Sunday a month, beginning Sunday, February 1, Yoga Dimensions will host an afternoon yoga workshop fundraiser, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to support the Women’s Center.
The Planning and Zoning Commission has postponed until next month what is expected to be the last installment of an ongoing public hearing on The Preserve at Newtown, a 23-lot residential subdivision proposed for a 167-acre site in Dodgingtown. P&Z Chairman Robert Mulholland announced at a January 15 session that the public hearing will continue at the P&Z’s February 5 meeting. The P&Z had not yet received from the developer a report of the archaeological significance of the property, he said. P&Z regulations require developers to have the archaeological aspects of properties proposed for subdivisions and resubdivisions reviewed by archaeological experts. Such reviews are intended to preserve any significant archaeologic, historic, and cultural features of the land.
On an electronic weather map, the distance between Newtown and Norwich appears to be inches. But residents on the opposite ends of Connecticut were measuring their differences in feet today, as Winter Storm Juno dealt eastern counties significantly higher snow totals than the most affected neighborhoods in Botsford, Sandy Hook or Dodgingtown. Newtown Emergency Communications Director Maureen Will told The Newtown Bee just after noon, that town Highway Department crews are "doing a great job but we still want people to stay home, visibility is low in some places and nothing open." The Newtown official echoed Governor Dannel Malloy, who held a second press conference of the day at noon, announced that he would lift the statewide travel ban as of 2 pm today.