United Way of Connecticut released, on November 16, a 121-page, statewide report, documenting Connecticut households struggling to afford living expenses that exceed the official federal poverty level of $11,670 for an individual or $23,850 for a family of four. In Newtown, one in five people meet these criteria and live with these daily economic challenges.
After clearing trees and stumps from the footprint of the new Sandy Hook Elementary School, site work to make the new foundation area stable will commence in the coming days according to a Consigli Construction spokesperson. At the same time, the State of Connecticut has scheduled the next installment of an approved $50 million in funding by awarding the latest round of grants requested to cover costs related to the construction project. Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced November 19 that the State Bond Commission approved a $5 million grant to finance ongoing planning and design costs for the new school. “The State of Connecticut joins the people of Newtown in their resolve to move forward despite the most challenging of circumstances,” said Gov Malloy. “This project is a necessary part of the recovery process, and will continue to be a priority even after students are attending classes in their new school.”
Just two weeks shy of her first year in elected office, District 2 Legislative Council Representative Lisa Romano has tendered her resignation to Town Clerk Debbie Aurelia Halstead and Council Chair Mary Ann Jacob. In her brief notice, Ms Romano states, “I have made the difficult decision to focus my energies on professional and career commitments as well as projects in the community where I can make an impact. It has certainly been an honor to serve in an elected capacity with such a dedicated group, and I have no doubt that we will continue to cross paths around both town and issues of concern to the community.”
An industrial firm’s proposal for a zoning rule change, which would allow scrap tire storage and recycling in M-1 (Industrial) zones under the terms of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s special permit process, has drawn stiff opposition from some High Road area residents.
MAAK Environmental Corporation, which lists its address at 40 High Bridge Road, is seeking the zoning rule change. If such a rule change is approved, the firm would then submit a zoning application to the P&Z for a special permit to conduct such scrap tire storage and recycling at 40 High Bridge Road. That six-acre site with M-1 zoning holds a 59,000-square-foot industrial building that was constructed in 1965. About 25 people attended a November 6 P&Z public hearing on the proposed zoning rule change.
The Inland Wetlands Commission last week granted a wetlands/watercourses protection permit to the developers of The Preserve at Newtown, a proposed 23-lot residential subdivision in Dodgingtown. IWC members unanimously approved the application on November 12, following several months of review and public hearings on the plans for the 167-acre site. The project is proposed by developers KASL, LLC, and IBF, LLC. The firms are represented by local developer/builder George L. Trudell. The proposed development would be built along Robin Hill Road #2 and off Scudder Road.
Newtown, by Charter provision, currently has its maximum allowable force of seven appointed, nonsalaried constables on the books. But according to Police Commission Chairman Paul Mangiafico, the local police chief apparently does not know who they are; they are vested with very limited legal responsibilities; and it appears that Charter Commissioner Robert Hall may have been one of the last local court officers to use one to serve civil papers — and that was “15 or 20 years ago.” The matter of weighing whether to keep these appointed by seemingly ceremonial officials in the Newtown Charter came before the commission November 12 as they continued examining revisions to Newtown’s constitutional document. After about 40 minutes of discussion with Mr Mangiafico, it was determined that more information may be needed before charter officials could adequately consider whether constables should be kept or eliminated from the document.
Town finance officials have announced a planned January “refunding” or refinancing of debt on a number of municipal bond offerings which they hope will generate at least $925,000 in interest savings. While those projected savings are based on interest rates and the financial formulary in place today, Town Finance Director Robert Tait told The Newtown Bee that there are no present indicators that interest rates will fluctuate significantly. “We’re not borrowing, but we are swapping one debt for another that is less expensive,” Mt Tait said. “This is not going to show up as revenue, but it will effectively lower our debt service budget, hopefully by about $925,000.”
Following discussion at a November 12 session, Inland Wetlands Commission members unanimously endorsed, after the fact, the recent construction of a 576-square-foot concrete pad at a 34-acre site at Fairfield Hills to be used as a pedestal for sculpture at a planned animal sanctuary. PH Architects of 22 Old Farm Road submitted the application on behalf of The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary project. The recent construction of the concrete pad, without prior formal town wetlands/watercourses protection approval, drew sharp criticism from Candlewood Valley Trout Unlimited.
Members of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission heard presentations from two area artists during the commission’s regular meeting on November 13, conducted at Newtown Municipal Center. The presentations were at the requests of the artists, said Kyle Lyddy, SHPMC chairman. Mr Lyddy stressed to both David Merrill and Richmond Jones that the commission cannot endorse any plan at this time, and is still heavily invested in gathering information. The commission is charged with determining if a permanent memorial is desired, and if so, the location, nature, and design of any memorial. The commission is also charged with how to fund and maintain any memorial.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy is directing US and Connecticut flags to half-staff in memory of the Honorable John T. Downey, a Connecticut judge who passed away early this morning. Flags will remain at half-staff until services for Judge Downey are held, the date of which has not yet been determined.