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
The families of eight people killed in the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school shooting have filed lawsuits against the estate of the gunman's mother. The lawsuits contend Nancy Lanza failed to properly secure the rifle her troubled adult son used to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. The lawsuits seek to collect on Nancy Lanza's homeowner's insurance.
The Water & Sewer Authority (WSA) is reviewing a request for sanitary sewer service at an 11.8-acre site at 10 through 22 Washington Avenue in Sandy Hook Center, where a local builder/developer proposes the construction of a 74-unit multifamily apartment complex known as The River Walk at Sandy Hook Village.
WSA members decided on March 12 that the sewering proposal would be the subject of a public hearing on April 1.
The Children's Department reopened to the public, Friday, March 13, after burst pipes and flooding shut it down for nearly a month. “Yes, we’re back,” said Children’s Librarian Lana Bennison. New carpet tiles were in place, ceiling tiles replaced, and all was “cleaned and freshened up,” she pointed out. Looking over the shelves located near the check out, all appeared as it was prior to the flood. Moving toward the rear corner of the room, though, the loss of 10,000 books to water damage was apparent.It will take time, said Ms Bennison, before gaps in the collection are replaced. She had ordered 1,800 books the day before, but patrons must understand that replacement is a process of many steps.
Newtown residents Christine Rowan and Kerri Williams spoke before the state’s Appropriations Committee on Friday, March 6, sharing concerns, private stories, and fears regarding the proposed 2016 and 2017 state spending plan presented by Governor Dannel P. Malloy on February 18.
If proposed cuts to the state’s Department of Developmental Services Voluntary Services Program are approved in the budget, Ms Rowan and Ms Williams are fearful of the consequences for their families and others who use these services.
The DDS Voluntary Services Program, according to the department’s website, “supports children and adolescents who are clients of DDS and have emotional, behavioral, or mental health needs that result in the functional impairment of the child and substantially interfere with or limit the child’s functioning in the family or community activities.”
Newtown’s two registrars of voters were unable to catch the “Checks and Balances Express,” a bus full of Fairfield County registrars and voting rights supporters, as it carried opponents of a proposal to eliminate elected registrars to a hearing on Monday, March 9, in Hartford. But Democratic Registrar LeReine Frampton and Republican Registrar Joanne Albanesi stood with their colleagues in spirit, while providing written testimony against SB1051, legislation proposed by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill which eliminates the balance of power between two registrars of opposite parties, in favor of an appointed administrator.
The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to consider a range of topics at its March 19 meeting, including the planned Hawleyville sanitary sewer system expansion project. The panel also is slated to discuss some open space acquisition proposals, plus three sets of proposed changes to the zoning regulations. The session is scheduled for 7:30 pm on Thursday, March 19, at Newtown Municipal Center.
Plans for a community center, which would begin with a Phase I senior and aquatic center construction, are cause for concern to former Commission on Aging chairman Ross Carley. Plans to accept a GE Foundation gift of $15 million — $10 million of which is for the design and construction of Phase I — is slated for a vote at the April 28 annual town budget referendum. Phase II and III are intended to build a connector to the NYA Sports & Fitness Center in Fairfield Hills, where the new senior and aquatic center will stand. Phases II and III could also include building additional space on the site, or purchasing the NYA facility.The remaining $5 million of Phase I is intended for use over five years to help toward operating expenses.
Opponents of a large multifamily housing complex proposed for a 35-acre site near Exit 10 of Interstate 84 are urging the Water & Sewer Authority (WSA) to reject a developer’s dual requests to provide the project with sewer service and to designate certain wastewater treatment capacity for its use.