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Rilling looking to hire Norwalk city planner

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling

Mayor Harry Rilling met Tuesday with Planning Commission Chairman Torgny Astrom, Zoning Commission Chairman Adam Blank and Personnel Director Emmet Hibson to discuss a city planner, he said.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk is trying to figure out the best way to hire a city planner, Mayor Harry Rilling said Tuesday night.

A meeting was held Tuesday to address that topic, as Norwalk Planning and Zoning Director Mike Greene prepares to retire, he said. There are many questions to be answered, such as which Norwalk agency a city planner would answer to, he said. “We are looking to see what the best organizational structure would be,” Rilling said. “If we brought in a city planner, where would that city planner operate from? From the mayor’s office? Where would that city planner fit in the overall organizational structure and what ordinances we would have to change in order to bring that city planner in at the level necessary to be able to do his or her job?” Continue reading Rilling looking to hire Norwalk city planner

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City, BoE at odds over budget recommendation

Norwalk Finance Director Bob Barron says the Board of Education can absorb getting $600,000 less than it requested without undue hardship. (file photo)

Norwalk Finance Director Bob Barron says the Board of Education can absorb getting $600,000 less than it requested without undue hardship. (file photo)

NORWALK, Conn. – It was too good to last.

The spirit of cooperation between the city and the Board of Education that has marked the past few budget cycles has ended – at least for the time being.

Board of Education members, including Chairman Mike Lyons (R-District C), have publicly complained about Norwalk Finance Director Bob Barron’s recommended 2016-17 operating budget, claiming they were cut out of discussions after they thought the schools’ funding request had been approved. In comments left on other sites, others complained that they only found out about the situation when they read about it in news reports.

Continue reading City, BoE at odds over budget recommendation

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Norwalker feels the Bern in New Hampshire

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To the Editor:

A friend of mine who is a hedge-fund manager and I drove up to an affluent suburb of Manchester, New Hampshire, last Sunday morning to help other volunteers get out the vote for Bernie Sanders. Over three days, we knocked on 121 doors of voters identified as having voted in the 2008 primary and voted for Obama in the 2008 and 2012 general elections. Our task was to ask voters if they intended to vote and if they needed a ride. Only one man said he wasn’t planning to vote and everyone had rides to the polls.  On Tuesday, several people said they had already voted.

Continue reading Norwalker feels the Bern in New Hampshire

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The irrelevance of the presidential debates

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To the Editor:

Every candidate, as well as nearly all pundits, economists, historians, politicians and social scientists, agree that we must grow. Consumerism is our contemporary religion. Growth is essential to human institutions, so say the experts.

Continue reading The irrelevance of the presidential debates

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Opinion: More changes in education requirements? been there, done that

Barth Keck

Barth Keck

Barth Keck is an English teacher and assistant football coach who also teaches courses in journalism and media literacy at Haddam-Killingworth High School.

We’ve passed the halfway point of the school year and that means one thing for teachers: mid-year evaluation meetings!

I prepare as any high school English teacher would — by updating my Excel spreadsheets, chock full of student scores.

Continue reading Opinion: More changes in education requirements? been there, done that

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The SoNo Collection said to be ‘moving along nicely’

 

The most recent artist's rendering of The SoNo Collection, from the southwest.

The most recent artist’s rendering of The SoNo Collection, from the southwest.

Updated Thursday, 12:30 a.m., with minor editing,  photo and video of Wednesday morning LDA signing.

NORWALK, Conn. — General Growth Partners (GGP) is looking to begin construction on The SoNo Collection this summer, GGP Senior Planner Doug Adams said Tuesday.

His optimistic comment came after Mayor Harry Rilling announced that, Wednesday (today), the city would sign the reformulated Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for GGP’s property at the intersection of Interstate 95 and West Avenue and after the Common Council unanimously agreed that GGP has met the conditions defined in the revised Concept Master Site Plan (CMSP) in October. Continue reading The SoNo Collection said to be ‘moving along nicely’

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Today in the state …

New coalition will lobby for tax increase, equality: A new coalition of labor, community and civil rights groups said they don’t accept the premise of the new economic reality Gov. Dannel P. Malloy laid out in his State of the State address one week ago.

 

School officials want the state to take the lead on changing school start times: Educators and officials are nearly unanimous in believing that teenage children would be better students if high school classes started later in the morning.
Merrill calls for abolition of party loyalty tests: A state law that allows registrars to impose a loyalty test on voters should be stripped out of the statute book, Secretary of State Denise Merrill said.

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Norwalk telling BoE: Use your insurance surplus to fund special ed, keep tax increase low

Norwalk Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons, left, and Mayor Harry Rilling confer in last week's joint BoE/Common Council meeting regarding the Board's 2016-17 operating budget request.

Norwalk Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons, left, and Mayor Harry Rilling confer in last week’s joint BoE/Common Council meeting regarding the Board’s 2016-17 operating budget request.

NORWALK, Conn. — A sharp difference of opinion is brewing between Norwalk’s city-side officials and the Board of Education over the funding of the universally agreed upon need to reform Norwalk Public Schools’ special education department.

Also causing disagreement is the city’s announcement of a $600,000 cut to the BoE’s requested operating budget, over and above the $1.5 million reduction agreed to by the Board. Continue reading Norwalk telling BoE: Use your insurance surplus to fund special ed, keep tax increase low

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Norwalk Council votes 7-6-2 to send ConnDOT another ‘message’ on East Avenue

Norwalk Common Councilman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large), right, on Tuesday in City Hall, expresses a commonly held observation about Darien's railroad bridge over Route 1. Listening from left are Councilman Nick Sacchinelli (D-At Large), Councilman Rich Bonenfant (R-At Large), Councilwoman Michelle Maggio (R-District C) and Councilwoman Shannon O'Toole Giandurco (R-District D).

Norwalk Common Councilman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large), right, on Tuesday in City Hall, expresses a commonly held observation about Darien’s railroad bridge over Route 1. Listening from left are Councilman Nick Sacchinelli (D-At Large), Councilman Rich Bonenfant (R-At Large), Councilwoman Michelle Maggio (R-District C) and Councilwoman Shannon O’Toole Giandurco (R-District D).

NORWALK, Conn. — Michelle Maggio’s cry of frustration was met with a perhaps unexpected victory Tuesday as a few members of the Common Council’s Democratic majority sided with Council Republicans in a move that Bruce Kimmel said could cost the city big money.

See video at end of story

“I know, I should have stayed home and talked to myself in the mirror with this one,” Maggio, an East Norwalk Republican Council member, said at the beginning of a discussion of a $359,000 contract for preparatory study and design on expected East Avenue road work to be done in conjunction with the state’s massive Walk Bridge project and the lowering of the road under the East Norwalk railroad bridge. But a charge led by Councilman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) to send yet another “message to the state” regarding the height of the railroad bridge succeeded, with an amendment to the contract passing 7 to 6, with two abstentions. Continue reading Norwalk Council votes 7-6-2 to send ConnDOT another ‘message’ on East Avenue

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Senior Tax Relief workshop on tap for Saturday

Senior tax relief is available for Norwalk homeowners.

Senior tax relief is available for Norwalk homeowners. (stock photo)

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk tax officials will host a Senior Tax Relief Workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 13, in the Community Room of Norwalk City Hall.

Norwalk Tax Assessor Michael Stewart invites all Norwalk property owners 65 or older to attend. Residents will be able to ask questions and learn if they qualify for city tax relief programs.

Continue reading Senior Tax Relief workshop on tap for Saturday

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Duff renews push to let Tesla sell cars directly to Connecticut consumers

Sen. Bob Duff with Rep. Antonio Guerrera (left) and Jim Chen of Tesla Motors (right) (Christine Stuart photo)

Sen. Bob Duff with Rep. Antonio Guerrera (left) and Jim Chen of Tesla Motors (right) (Christine Stuart photo)

HARTFORD, Conn. – With Tesla Motors in mind, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff renewed a push for legislation that would allow electric vehicle makers open up to three retail locations in Connecticut.

Currently, Connecticut law requires that any new vehicle be sold to a consumer by a dealer franchise that is not owned by the manufacturer. Each dealer location must be at least 14 miles away from another dealership selling the same brand.

Continue reading Duff renews push to let Tesla sell cars directly to Connecticut consumers

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Proposed Norwalk budget would increase average mill rate .46 percent, fund BoE

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Norwalk’s Board of Estimate and Taxation listens to Finance Director Bob Barron explain his 2016-17 recommended operating budget.

Finance Director Bob Barron shows off the 2016-17 budget book Monday in City Hall.

Finance Director Bob Barron shows off the 2016-17 budget book Monday in City Hall.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk’s piggy bank is going to allow the city to fund the Board of Education’s “critical programs” and not tax the taxpayers too much, according to the proposed $337 million budget unveiled Monday by Finance Director Bob Barron.

The city’s average mill rate would go up .46 percent, Barron said to the Board of Estimate and Taxation. If you own a house assessed at $300,000 and you pay according to that average mill rate, your tax bill would go up $35.10.

“This is by far the lowest tax rate increase we have seen in years,” Barron said. Continue reading Proposed Norwalk budget would increase average mill rate .46 percent, fund BoE

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Barron underscores reasoning behind $2M Norwalk fund drawdown

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Norwalk Finance Director Bob Barron explains his 2016-17 recommended operating budget Monday in City Hall.

NORWALK, Conn. — Numbers, as in dollars and cents – or maybe sense – were laid out Monday by Norwalk Finance Director Bob Barron at the close of the Board of Estimate and Taxation meeting.

The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report of Norwalk’s fiscal year 2015 is on the city’s website. Barron laid out a series of bullet points from the audit, with notations of the page where the information can be found in the CAFR: Continue reading Barron underscores reasoning behind $2M Norwalk fund drawdown

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About this site

NancyOnNorwwalk.com was conceived as the place to go for Norwalk residents to get the real, unvarnished story about what is going on in and around their city. NancyOnNorwalk does not intend to be a print newspaper online; rather, it exists to pull the curtain back and shine a spotlight on how Norwalk is run and what is happening regarding issues that have an impact on taxpayers’ pocketbooks and safety. As an independent site, NancyOnNorwalk’s first and only allegiance is to the reader.

About Nancy

Nancy came to Norwalk in September 2010 and, after reporting on Norwalk for two years for another company, resigned to begin Nancy On Norwalk so she engage in journalism the way it was meant to be done. She is married to career journalist Mark Chapman, has a son, Eric (the artist and web designer who built this website), and two cats – a middle-aged lady and a young hottie who are learning how to peacefully co-exist.