With votes scheduled Wednesday, Connecticut is poised to become the first state to adopt a $10.10 minimum wage, delivering on an election-year priority of Gov Dannel P. Malloy. The Democratic leaders of the Senate and House plan final votes Wednesday, first in the Senate and immediately following in the House, spokesmen for the two Democratic majority caucuses said Monday. Legislation increasing the $8.70 state minimum to $10.10 by January 2017 was sent to the Senate floor Monday by the Appropriations Committee, the final hurdle before a floor vote. Under legislative rules, the Republican minority could delay a vote in the House until next week, but House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. (R-Norwalk) said he sees nothing to be gained by a one-week delay. “What’s the point?” Cafero said.
Girl Scout Troop 50166 and the Reed Intermediate School PTA has launched Sheets From Home: Sheets Drive 2014. The groups are collecting new sheets for children who are in hospitals for a lengthy period of time. Their hope is to bring a smile to their faces while they undergo some tough health situations. Donated sheets must be new. The public is invited to help the groups achieve their school goal of 100 sheet sets. Collection bins have been set up near the security desk in the main lobby of the school, at 3 Trades Lane, and will remain in place until April 4.
Sandy Hook resident Richard Fenaroli firmly believes an informed taxpayer will tend to be more involved in the budget process. To that end, on March 19 he formally requested the Legislative Council act to publish the entire town roster of employees by name, the position they hold, and the gross amount of income and benefit costs of those employees to taxpayers. He also requested that similar data be posted for all current town pensioners. After some discussion among council members, First Selectman Pat Llodra, and Finance Director Robert Tait, a motion was approved unanimously taking most of Mr Fenaroli’s request into consideration. The council did, however, limit the scope of his request. The list will not include pensioners, it will only identify positions tied to annual payroll figures, and it will not include the names of those employees on the list.
A Trumbull firm has gained Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approval to construct a gas station/convenience store, including a food service area, at 67 Church Hill Road, at that street’s western corner with Edmond Road.
Following two March 20 public hearings on the matter, P&Z members unanimously approved the project, which is known as Wheels, submitted by Consumers Petroleum of Connecticut, Inc (CPCI).
To make way for the new construction, CPCI would demolish an existing deteriorating building on the one-acre site that formerly held a Shell gas station/convenience store. As a condition of the special permit approval, the P&Z is requiring that the structure be demolished by mid-May.
As part of C.H Booth Library’s search for a new director, a series of focus groups have been scheduled, facilitated by the State of Connecticut Library Development office. Young adults are invited to participate in the first session, scheduled for Monday, March 31; adults are invited to attend either of the sessions scheduled on Mondays, March 31 and April 7.
The public is invited to celebrate the reopening of the C.H. Booth Library, Saturday, March 22, during regular library hours, 9:30 am to 5 pm. After remediation for flooding that occurred January 4, newly painted walls and woodwork, new carpet, and upgraded utilities, alarms, computers, and more mean that patrons of the C.H. Booth Library will find the library an even more welcoming space to visit. Balloons will decorate the library, and refreshments and treats will be offered all day long. Extra staff will be on hand to explain any changes or updates, said Acting Director Beryl Harrison. In addition to the temporary decorations and new additions, Saturday will include a full schedule of entertainment and presentations for visitors of all ages. Plans include everything from make and take crafts and board games to the talents of a modern day vaudevillian style entertainer and a performance by a recording studio singer-songwriter. Visitors can even check out a book or two if they want to.
Following a closed session during its March 19 meeting, the Legislative Council reconvened in public and unanimously endorsed the acquisition of a 36.89-acre parcel off Chestnut Hill Road that will become permanently preserved for the community as open space. While the cost of the acquisition is $255,000, the town anticipates receiving a grant from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) that will offset about 60 percent of that purchase price. The balance of funds that would be required to complete the purchase, after the grant, are already available and bonded as part of a long-term open space program established during the administration of former First Selectman Herb Rosenthal.
Toll Brothers, Inc, a major Pennsylvania-based homebuilder, is well into the construction of Newtown Woods, an age-restricted 178-unit condominium complex at a 50-acre site off Mt Pleasant Road in Hawleyville. The project represents the fourth time since 1998 that various firms have sought to develop the site with a large-scale, high-density housing project for people over age 55. All three previously proposed projects, two of which gained approvals from the town, failed to materialize. Toll gained approvals for Newtown Woods from the town in October 2011, and the rocky site was humming with activity this week as dozens of workers plied their respective trades in assembling the dwellings.
How much is Newtown’s latest bond rating increase worth to taxpayers? According to finance officials, almost a three quarters of a million dollars. Finance Director Robert Tait is touting the rock bottom 2.71 percent interest rate Newtown received March 12 on that bond sale as proof that seeking and achieving a AAA bond rating upgrade pays off. Ahead of the town’s latest $6.5 million in bond offerings to underwrite municipal and school capital projects, Mr Tait and a group of town officials traveled to Boston to meet with representatives of two major bond rating agencies, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s.
The developer of a planned major commercial project in the borough said this week his firm soon plans to start site work at the 30-32 Church Hill Road property where more than 60,000 square feet of enclosed retail/office space would be built. Alan Weiner, president of Mesa General Contractors, Inc, of New Milford, said March 18 said that within the next month, the firm plans to start work at the property which formerly held Lexington Gardens, a plant nursery and gift shop which went out of business in January 2011. Mr Weiner said that the tough winter season has resulted in frost penetrating deep into the ground, delaying the start of work on the project. Under the best circumstances, the project, known as The Village at Lexington Gardens, could be constructed within eight to ten months. However, the project might take as long as 18 months to construct, he said.