After hearing from one resident, who spoke in support of the school district budget, the Board of Finance on March 12 unanimously recommended a 2015-16 budget proposal of $111,730,513 to the Legislative Council, representing a 0.6 percent increase over the current year. Finance Board Chairman John Kortze subsequently presented those recommendations to the council on March 18.
A partnership between C.H. Booth Library and Newtown Public Schools will offer library cards for all kindergarteners entering the district next school year. For the first time, Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi Jr announced at a recent Board of Education meeting, kindergarten packets are being sent home to families with a co-signed letter from the district and from Booth Library Director Brenda McKinley.
As officials prepare to move into the final stages of finalizing the 2016 budget proposal, selectmen on March 16 were forced to amend the current year spending plan by nearly $300,000 to accommodate the materials and overtime costs required to keep Newtown’s roads clear and safe this winter. During their regular meeting Monday and on the recommendation of town Finance Director Robert Tait, selectmen amended the current year’s budget to reflect $298,031 in added spending to cover unanticipated salt, sand, and overtime expenses. During that same meeting, selectmen approved spending $75,000 from the capital nonrecurring fund to underwrite the costs of Phase I and II of the ongoing municipal building strategic planning process.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy on March 17 announced that he is selecting Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson to serve as the state’s Under Secretary for Intergovernmental Policy, a position that will be responsible for the streamlining the investments into urban communities and regions in order to maximize their output and extend those improvements across surrounding areas. Mayor Jackson recently served as chairman of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, a 16-member panel that was formed in the immediate aftermath of 12/14. In his new role, Jackson collaborate on behalf of the state with civic, municipal, and industry leadership to determine and prioritize transformational neighborhood revitalization strategies through a range of issues areas such as quality affordable housing, development of community leadership and advocacy, workforce development, early childhood education and academic achievement initiatives, violence reduction, tax and labor policy analysis, and transportation corridor development.
First Selectman Pat Llodra is seeking residents to fill several opening on local appointed boards and commissions. In some cases the appointments are required to be affiliated with a specific political party, while in other cases unaffiliated voters are encouraged to consider serving.
The families of eight people who were killed and also two people who were seriously injured on 12/14 have filed lawsuits against the estate of the mother of the gunman in the incident. Through the two lawsuits, the ten plaintiffs, in effect, are seeking money damages from the insurance firm that provided coverage for the home of Nancy Lanza at 36 Yogananda Street in Sandy Hook. One of the two lawsuits claims that Nancy Lanza exhibited “carelessness and negligence,” resulting in the shooting incident.
At its March 9 budget review session, the Board of Finance heard details of a $300,000 savings opportunity in the town’s self-insured employee heath fund. Employee Medical Benefits Board Chairman Mark Mattioli and board member Jim Loring appeared to answer questions and to amplify significant points in a memo sent to town Finance Director Robert Tait and Newtown School District Business Manager Ron Bienkowski. According to the memo, during the first eight months of the 2014-15 plan year, claims were lower than expected. Mr Mattioli, however, told finance officials that major health insurers experienced higher trends in their books of business in 2014.
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation Giving Day, held March 5, raised more than $1 million for nearly 400 nonprofit organizations in a 24-hour period. Donations last Thursday totaled $960,991, while sponsorships from a prize pool added another $105,100, for a grand total of 1,066,091. Newtown organizations raised a total of $39,151