As a means of educating and updating town officials ahead of a period of expanded capital projects including a new Hook & Ladder fire company headquarters, Parent Connection office, and community center, Town Attorney David Grogins appeared before the Legislative Council February 19 to review the implications of Connecticut’s Prevailing Wage law.He started his presentation by reminding the council that wage protections for those engaged in government work have been around since the Davis Bacon Act in the 1930s. Since 1977, Connecticut’s Labor Commissioner has adopted and used prevailing wage rate determinations similar to those enacted by the United States Secretary of Labor under the provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act, according to the state Department of Labor (DOL) website.
The majority of the 20 residents who participated in the Board of Finance public hearing ahead of 2014-15 budget deliberations February 20 either asked officials to hold the line on the zero increase requested by the Board of Education, or to restore the $139,000 reduction made by the school board members before endorsing the final budget request.Among the few other residents offering opinions on the district’s budget request was Stephen Rosenblatt of Watkins Drive, who argued that although the budget request represented a net-zero increase, that residents are “still paying the same for less.”
The Newtown Emergency Communications Center’s (NECC) ability to manage emergency calls for service has been enhanced with its use of a large flat-panel monitor that now hangs on the center’s eastern wall. The Center handles all local police, fire, and ambulance calls. It is the answering point for local Emergency 911 calls. Maureen Will, town director of emergency communications, said the monitor can be used to display the visual/graphic information that is viewable on emergency dispatchers’ multiple smaller desk-mounted monitors. The wall-mounted monitor measures five feet diagonally. As she spoke on February 18, the large monitor displayed a repetitive multicolored digital radar loop depicting the advance of a snow/rain storm that was underway that day. Besides providing dispatchers with current weather information, the large monitor can be used to display the current positions of police cars on patrol in town.
Newtown officials hope to receive about $4.3 million from a US Department of Justice grant that is being administered through the Connecticut Judicial Department’s Office of Victim Services (OVS). The total amount of that grant application stood at about $8 million as The Newtown Bee went to press February 20, according to an OVS spokesperson. The grant, which officials initially hoped would be ready to submit this week, will be delayed by about a week as the remaining agencies and organizations applying for part of the $4 million balance submit final documentation, and the OVS refines the total based on other logistical issues, according to Linda Cimino.
Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz is suggesting that members of the public with comments or concerns about their experiences with electric suppliers consider attending one of the remaining regional hearings being held on the topic. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) will hold Public Comment Hearings on February 24 at Brookfield Town Hall and February 27 at City Hall in Waterbury. All Connecticut residents are invited to attend. PURA opened a docket in light of recent legislative changes and due to the spike in customer complaints against various electric suppliers in recent months.
A week after presenting the first designs for the new Sandy Hook Elementary School to members of the Public Building and Site Commission and the Board of Education, representatives of Svigals + Partners were back with more concepts on Wednesday, February 19.
Svigals + Partners representatives explained they had advancements to share on the concept of one of three schemes the company presented for the boards during the joint meeting on February 11.
At the February 11 meeting it was explained that from mid-October until mid-November representatives of Svigals + Partners met with community members during workshops and interviews. The Board of Education approved the educational specifications for the new Sandy Hook School in December.
BBB Military Line is sharing information from the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CIC) warning about a new website scam in which criminals are attempting to take advantage of soldiers and their families. The “My Army Benefits” website at usmilitarybenifit.org is a fraudulent site designed to “collect soldiers’ Army Knowledge Online, e-mail accounts and passwords,” according to BBB Military Line. The site also falsely claims that “the US military has granted access to unclaimed and accumulated benefits for active duty soldiers, and that benefits not claimed within the stipulated period will be available for claims after 60 months,” according to investigators. The website is not affiliated nor endorsed by the US Army.
When Charles Dumais first arrived in the Newtown school district in January 2008, he was the fifth principal to take the helm at Newtown High School in four years.“There were kids that were graduating that year for whom I was the fifth principal,” said Mr Dumais, while reflecting on his last six years spent at NHS.Mr Dumais was chosen to be the new superintendent in Amity Regional School District #5 and is set to assume his new responsibilities on March 1.On February 11, the Newtown Board of Education unanimously selected former Ridgefield High School principal Jeffrey Jaslow to be interim principal at NHS, effective February 19.
Residents are reminded that while C.H. Booth Library is undergoing its restoration following water damage last month, an information desk is being offered twice each week at Edmond Town Hall. Library staff is available, Thursdays from 2 to 6 pm and Saturdays from 9 am until noon, to help locate books are area libraries. Tax forms and other help is also available. The staff is situated in the building’s old courtroom, which is easily found by using the entrance on the southern side of the building at 45 Main Street.
Residents are called to a special town meeting scheduled for 7 pm, February 26 in the Newtown Municipal Center’s main council chambers to approve or deny a special appropriation of $2.8 million for the construction phase of a Hawleyville sewer line extension, and to authorize the town issuing bonds to cover those costs.
In recent weeks, the Boards of Selectmen and Finance and the Legislative Council all endorsed the project, which is expected to serve as a catalyst for significant economic development in the Hawleyville area.
Officials believe when large-scale commercial developments tie into that new sewer extension, it will help offset residential taxation in the coming years.