NEWTOWN — The Legislative Council, meeting Wednesday, June 2, unanimously approved an appropriation of $765,000 for the replacement of the Newtown High School stadium turf, which was included in the Capital Improvement Plan for 2021-22 to 2025-26.
The work will take place over the summer.
Council member Ryan Knapp questioned the timing of the appropriation, which is ahead of the fiscal year. “Did we do something different this time?”
Financial Director Bob Tait explained that the town typically waits until July 1 for this type of approval when town projects are concerned, although school projects can be addressed earlier without impacting the bonding schedule.
The council also approved the Tax Collector Suspense Listing, which Mr. Tait described as uncollectable for various reasons.
Newtown will continue to collect approximately 20 to 30 percent of these back-due taxes.
Many refer to automobiles and reflect situations such as when an owner leaves town; usually the owner will pay the taxes in order to be able to register a car in another municipality.
In his report to the council, First Selectman Dan Rosenthal said that the Public Works Department is chip sealing roads and patching streets to finish work left undone last fall.
He expects a list of roads to be addressed will be available soon.
He also spoke about the trust associated with Edmond Town Hall, which provides funding for the building.
The Probate Court approved an increase of funding from the trust to pay for maintenance projects.
“All good, not exactly what we wanted, but better,” Mr. Rosenthal said.
Chair Paul Lundquist asked if the Borough had completed a rezoning request for Edmond Town Hall, learning that the Board of Managers can now work outside the limited parameters that had been in place and seek out rentals from for-profit organizations.
Mr. Rosenthal commented on the hosting capabilities of the hall, which can be unlimited if a renter brings in their own alcoholic beverages, but the hall would like to pursue liquor sales.
Before concluding his report, the first selectman said that police have made progress in identifying and apprehending at least one juvenile responsible for a Zoom bombing.
The school cooperated with police during the investigation.
Mr. Rosenthal said the incident. involving Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, D-5, is still under investigation.
During the meeting, the council discussed the American Rescue Plan and stimulus funds anticipated for Newtown.
Mr. Tait said Connecticut will receive close to $12 billion; Newtown should see $8.1 million with another $1.1 million for the school district.
He said other funds might benefit the town as the funds are spread over the 169 municipalities through state agencies.
An update earlier in the day informed him that the town would receive $7.6 million with $580,000 going to the borough; an application for the funds is due within one week.
“Then, we’re going to have to figure out how to spend this,” Mr. Tait said in answer to Mr. Lundquist’s question, noting that the application does not require a detailed expense plan.
Mr. Lundquist said he would be reluctant to look a gift horse in the mouth, but wondered how spending requests would be associated with Covid-19. “It behooves us to be thoughtful for every one of those dollars.”
Mr. Rosenthal referenced his conversations with other town leaders to agree that evaluating projects could be a challenge. “We’re going to have some decisions to make.”
He added that more information would need to be obtained so that if a project were disallowed for funding, that rejection would not negatively impact the town.