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Town Budget And Business Incentive Focus Of Legislative Council



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The Legislative Council had a teleconference on March 31, approving the business tax incentive for 201 South Main Street and the transfer of money in town to Public Works. There was also discussion on the municipal and education budget.

Country Camper

Economic Development Chair Wes Thompson and Economic & Community Development Deputy Director Christal Preszler explained to the council that they are looking for the approval of a business incentive program for 201 South Main Street.

The business tax incentive has been reviewed and approved by the EDC on March 10, the Board of Selectmen on March 15, and the Board of Finance on March 25. [See the article, “Business Tax Incentive, Town Money Transfer Approved” from the April 2 issue of The Newtown Bee that explains their presentation in detail from the Board of Finance meeting.]

Country Camper LLC is interested in purchasing the property at 201 South Main Street for its Connecticut location. The business is family owned and operated, and it currently has locations in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Country Camper has partnered with Claris Construction in Newtown for the project. Layne and Logan Gregoire of Country Camper were on the call to answer any questions the Legislative Council had.

Legislative Council member Jordana Bloom inquired about Country Camper’s business focus.

“We are predominantly a business that sells RVs, services RVs, and we also sell parts and other services, as well, through the dealership,” Logan said.

Multiple Legislative Council members voiced that they feel Country Camper would be a great fit for Newtown.

The motion to pass the business incentive for Country Camper LLC at 201 South Main Street passed unanimously by the Legislative Council.

Town Budget

Legislative Council Chair Paul J. Lundquist reminded members that the night’s agenda indicated it is a discussion only and no actions would be made until next week, after all the committees have made their final reports.

Dan Wiedemann, chair of the Legislative Council Education Committee, reported, “The Board of Ed came to us last night, and they came with a list of subtractions that we can make to the budget due to grants that are going to be received and also where we can use some fund balance to make up some of the difference.”

Board of Education Chair Michelle Embree Ku shared a budget chart that included the Board of Finance’s $140,000 reduction adjustment.

She added, “Then there was the additional monies that were intended to be taken from capital nonrecurring [fund], at least that was the Board of Finance’s intention. And that would be used for technology and building and site projects. So that was about $349,491 from capital nonrecurring.”

As for the Legislative Council adjustments, Ku said they come from receiving the NoVo Grant and the ESSER III funding, the latter coming from the federal government based on COVID grants. As for the line marked “undesignated” for $150,000, she said she believes it was the amount Town Finance Director Bob Tait mentioned possibly coming from the capital nonrecurring fund.

After Ku presented, Lundquist summarized, “The big highlight is $345,000 additional dollars… that can be reduced due to grant funding coming in to cover those items. And between diversity content and technology, that’s really the essence of what those grant funds are able to cover.”

Next, Legislative Council Municipal Operations Committee (LCMOC) Chair Phil Carroll said that at their last meeting they “went through a whole host of things to reduce the budget, because we had to adhere to our policy of not exceeding 12% and had too much in there.”

The LCMOC approved reducing $220,000 for the capital nonrecurring and to be readjusted with the general fund at a later date, post-budget.

There was discussion on how the budget would be amended in the future and how it would be a change in where the money is coming from.

A vote on the town budget could not be made until the Legislative Council’s next meeting.

Town Money Transfer

Tait gave a breakdown of the proposed money transfer of $47,000 from Contingency to Public Works. [See the article, “Business Tax Incentive, Town Money Transfer Approved” from the April 2 issue of The Newtown Bee that explains his presentation in detail from the Board of Finance meeting.]

Tait explained that the Public Works transfer from Contingency would be broken down to three specific parts: $7,500 for construction supplies, $30,000 for contractual services, and $10,000 for water and sewer.

“Just a little bit about the Contingency account: we started off with $140,000 appropriation. We have $135,000 left and if this is approved we will have about $88,000 left in Contingency at this point in time in the fiscal year,” Tait said.

Legislative Council member Judit DeStefano amended the motion for the approved money transfer of $47,000 to $47,500 to accurately total the requests. There had been an error on the agenda of a $500 difference.

The motion made to pass the transfer of $47,500 from Contingency to Public Works passed unanimously by the Legislative Council.

For more information about upcoming Legislative Council meetings, visit newtown-ct.gov/legislative-council.

Economic and Community Development Deputy Director Christal Preszler shows the Legislative Council a Google Maps photo of the 201 South Main Street property Country Camper is interested in purchasing in Newtown. A business tax incentive was presented for consideration to the Legislative Council during its meeting March 31.
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