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Kill the comments? Part three…

(Claire Schoen)

First of all, thanks to everyone who participated in our surveys. We are very grateful for your feedback.

It’s probably no real surprise to anyone, but the majority of you – 71%, in fact – think we should continue the comments section.

And 75% of you said that you find the comments section to be valuable; 27% find it to be extremely valuable.

(Claire Schoen)

But for those of you who said that the comments are driven by a small group of frequent commenters, you’re correct. Only 20% of survey respondents say that they comment more than once a month. The rest of you either comment really infrequently or not at all.

(Claire Schoen)

That’s a shame, because the whole point of the comments section is to hear from everyone, to provide what we like to call a ‘digital town square.’ Our readership is diverse, and includes many who are presently or formerly involved in a wide range of civic activities. If we only get to hear the loudest voices, we all lose out.

But what’s most encouraging to us is the encouragement we get from you. When asked if our news coverage meets your needs, 95% gave us a positive response, with only 5% responding ‘not so well.’

(Claire Schoen)

So, as you may have noticed, the comments section remains. But we’ll ask again, nicely: please be civil. Keep your comments relevant to the article at hand. And again, thanks for the input.

We will get back to you on the second and more complicated question of anonymous postings…

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Lamont administration limits tax hike on prepared meals

Gov. Ned Lamont telling reporters that the flap over the meals tax would be resolved administratively. (Mark Pazniokas, CTMirror)

Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration unveiled  tax guidelines late Thursday that narrowed the Department of Revenue Service’s original interpretation of a budget provision that adds one percentage point to the 6.35% sales tax on meals and prepared foods on Oct 1.

In a memo aimed at grocery stores, DRS  essentially advises them to apply the new 7.35 percent sales tax rate on prepared foods only to items already subjected to the sales tax, as legislators have said was their intent. Continue reading Lamont administration limits tax hike on prepared meals

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NPS sees ‘fairly large influx’ of immigrant students

Norwalk Public Schools has seen a 4% increase in English Language Learners, the Connecticut School Finance Project reports. That calculation does not include the influx reported Tuesday by Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski.

NORWALK, Conn. – A large influx of immigrant children is bumping up the already burgeoning English Language Learner population at Norwalk Public Schools, Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski said Tuesday, calling it “a fairly unique situation.”

Every day, for the last four or five weeks, students have been registering “and these are primarily immigrant students who are arriving from primarily from Nicaragua and Guatemala, staying with families or friends in the Norwalk,” Adamowski said. Continue reading NPS sees ‘fairly large influx’ of immigrant students

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Lamont: Prepared food tax hike will be narrowed in scope

Gov. Ned Lamont fielding questions. (Mark Pazniokas, CTMirror.org)

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Tuesday he expects the new sales tax surcharge on prepared foods will be scaled back — and applied to a narrower range of items — before it takes effect on Oct. 1.

The Democratic governor, who made the announcement following the State Bond Commission meeting, echoed concerns raised over the past week by legislators from both parties. Continue reading Lamont: Prepared food tax hike will be narrowed in scope

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Three words: Big argument on what they mean

Sen. Len Fasano and Rep. Themis Klarides, the GOP leaders at center, call for a special session. (Mark Pazniokas, CTMirror.org)

Republicans and Democrats dug in Wednesday on whether Connecticut law clearly defines what is a meal subject to the sales tax. At issue is the impact of two words in the new budget, “grocery store,” on a longstanding interpretation by state tax collectors of one word, “meal.”

GOP leaders pressed for a special legislative session to correct what they insist is a badly written law that is about to make certain groceries subject to the sales tax for the first time, while Democrats say the Republican minority is playing politics. Continue reading Three words: Big argument on what they mean

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Norwalk business owner asks: Is this a mistake?

New striping on River Street. (Kieran Droney)

Updated, 1:43 p.m.: Comment from Kieran Dorney.

NORWALK, Conn. — Efforts to alert the public to a major shift in the Wall Street area failed in at least one case.

“Did someone make a mistake by painting the new parking space lines on River Street, the wrong direction? The are angled AWAY from the direction of travel, on one side of the street. Are cars supposed to back in? Are cars going to need to make U-turns to cross traffic to pull in front first?” Kieran Droney wrote to Mayor Harry Rilling on Tuesday. Continue reading Norwalk business owner asks: Is this a mistake?

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Norwalk Council moves to ban plastic stirrers

From left, Norwalk Common Council President Tom Livingston (D-District E) and Ordinance Committee Chairwoman Eloisa Melendez (D-District A) listen to a citizen explain what “splash sticks” are, Tuesday in City Hall.

NORWALK, Conn. — Plastic straws are set to become an “opt in” situation in Norwalk, in a proposal moving to the full Norwalk Common Council for approval on Oct. 8.

The Council Ordinance Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously not to ban plastic straws but to institute an “ask first” policy City-wide. Plastic stirrers are set to be banned.   Continue reading Norwalk Council moves to ban plastic stirrers

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Senate Dems say tax officials inflated prepared foods levy

State Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven), right, and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25). (Keith Phaneuf)

Senate Democrats backed away Monday from the new sales tax surcharge on prepared foods, saying Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration made it far broader in scope than lawmakers intended.

The announcement comes on the heels of objections raised last week by House and Senate Republicans, as well as new cost projections from nonpartisan staff that showed consumers will pay $44 million more than originally projected over the next two years. Continue reading Senate Dems say tax officials inflated prepared foods levy

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Some Norwalk photos #2

NORWALK, Conn. — Today we bring you photos taken Tuesday in South Norwalk, showing the state of the Ryan Park construction and the progress made in building Soundview Landing phase II, the development replacing Washington Village.

Above is a view of a recently installed Ryan Park playground, with SoNo 19 Day in the background. The former is a Spinnaker development referred to as Maritime Village when it was going through the Zoning approval process in 2014.  Continue reading Some Norwalk photos #2

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Norwalk looks to address long-standing ‘pain point’

A screenshot of the Eproval website.

NORWALK, Conn. — A $28,000 expenditure would end the “onerous process” citizens face when they attempt to arrange a public event in the City of Norwalk, City Clerk Donna King said last week.

“We have found that in 2019, it is actually ridiculous that we have a paper process like this, and we are aware that there is a better way to do this. Not only are we aware, but the public is aware that there has to be a better way,” King said to Common Council members. Continue reading Norwalk looks to address long-standing ‘pain point’

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Norwalk plans nationwide search for tax assessors as ‘uncertain’ appeal processes wear on

Then-Norwalk Tax Assessor Michael Stewart speaks to the Board of Estimate and Taxation in March. (File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. — Given the historically low salaries and small pool of potential applicants, Norwalk faces an uphill battle in its search for qualified tax assessors to fill the vacancies left by Michael Stewart and Bill O’Brien, according to a pair of local professionals familiar with the field.

Successful candidates will also have their work cut out for them, due in large part to the number of property owners looking to challenge their new valuations within the narrow window of time the state provides, they said. In addition, there are deadlines looming for the new Grand List. Continue reading Norwalk plans nationwide search for tax assessors as ‘uncertain’ appeal processes wear on

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