After three budget workshop meetings, the Board of Education finished hearing reports from representatives of the different areas of the superintendent’s proposed 2015-16 budget at its workshop meeting on Tuesday, January 13. The next step for the budget will be a public hearing on February 3. Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, presented his proposed 2015-16 operating budget to the school board on Tuesday, January 6, as $72,399,186, a 1.48 percent increase over the current budget of $71,345,304. Principals from the town's schools have been speaking to the board in recent works concerning the proposed budget and what it will mean for their schools.
An advisory panel charged with looking at public safety in the wake of the deadly Newtown school shooting agreed last week to include in its final report a recommendation to ban the sale and possession of any gun that can fire more than ten rounds without reloading. The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, created by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in the wake of 12/14, confirmed on January 16 plans to complete its work next month. The report will include dozens of recommendations in three categories: law enforcement and emergency response; safe school design and operation; and mental health and wellness.
Newtown Action Alliance will hold a rally outside the headquarters of the National Shooting Sports Foundation on Tuesday, January 20, "to expose the gun industry’s shameful record of selling military-style assault rifles that are routinely used in mass shootings, while at the same time it opposes gun safety laws and policies,” according to the announcement of the event released earlier this week. Organizers are encouraging members of the community to attend. The rally is timed to coincide with NSSF's annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, the largest trade show of its kind, being held in Las Vegas January 20-23.
With below zero wind chills expected tonight, Governor Dannel P. Malloy Malloy is reactivating the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol through tomorrow morning. The protocol activates a network of procedures to ensure that the most vulnerable receive shelter from cold temperatures.
As you kick off the new year, remember that the next eight weeks will likely bring bitter cold to the Northeast. And there are many who need help braving the elements. Readers are being asked to help keep someone warm this winter by donating gently used coats, hats, and gloves to The Dorothy Day House in Danbury. The soup kitchen and overnight shelter is especially in need of men’s coats, hats with flaps over the ears or that are long enough to cover the ears, and thick gloves. Carolyn Mandarano, a member of the Missions Committee at Christ the King Lutheran Church, volunteers as part of Dorothy Day’s Shelter from the Cold program, where guests can come in from the cold to be served a hot meal. She is hoping local residents will help her help others during a collection that continues until January 24.
A wide representation of Newtown staff, along with elected and appointed officials, gathered with Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) representatives January 13 for a presentation illustrating how local agencies could better attract, enhance, and retain local commercial enterprises. Robert Santy, CERC president and CEO, told The Newtown Bee ahead of the gathering that Newtown was among the first two dozen among Connecticut’s 169 communities that he was visiting to pitch for intra-agency collaboration in the interest of increasing commercial tax bases. The CEO of the statewide nonprofit CERC led the two-hour session titled, “Transformational Approach, The fundamentals of Municipal Economic Development.”
Most people at one time or another have had to sit through interviews with bank officials as part of the application process for mortgages, business loans, or personal lines of credit. But what happens when tens of millions of dollars are in play and global bond rating agencies are asking the questions? That is what several Newtown officials had to do January 12 ahead of the town’s next round of planned bond refunding. First Selectman Pat Llodra, Finance Director Robert Tait, and Economic Development Coordinator Betsy Paynter spent about an hour on conference calls with Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s responding to a series of questions posed by those agencies.
A state Department of Transportation official is offering some ideas on how the Main Street flagpole intersection’s traffic problems can be alleviated through a redesign of the five-legged intersection. William Britnell, principal engineer in DOT’s highway design unit, said that creating a “roundabout” at the flagpole intersection would improve traffic flow there, alleviating the vehicle-turning conflicts that occur at the intersection, which becomes congested at times. However, in order to create a roundabout, the state likely would need to acquire some land adjacent to the intersection, he said. Existing traffic problems at the Main Street flagpole have been under discussion at the past two Police Commission meetings. Commission members appear interested in improving the intersection in terms of public safety, but acknowledge the historic aspects of the location.
The delivery of the latest Newtown school district enrollment study has validated what current and former members of the Board of Finance have been predicting for years: student population declines that could approach 30 percent over the next decade. This prompted Chairman John Kortze to tap freshman finance board member John Godin, to initiate an analysis of budget and enrollment predictions with the goal of targeting potential cost savings if and when the district determines it is feasible to close a school. Mr Godin presented his first, and admittedly presumptive findings January 12.
The estates of two of the 20 first grade students who were killed in the December 14, 2012, shooting incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School are the plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the town, which is seeking money damages. The lawsuit alleges there was insufficient security in place in the school and its grounds, allowing the shooter to forcibly enter the building and then enter two classrooms and shoot and kill people within those classrooms.