Updated, 3 p.m.: additional information; 7:39 a.m.: Copy edits
NORWALK, Conn. – Some political developments for you:
- Torre lists flood-prone areas as Council approves $1 million appropriation
- Ad Hoc Committee on School Funding set to begin work
- West Avenue-Wall Street plan ready to unveil – again
‘Preliminary’ list for flooding work consideration
The Common Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a $1 million special appropriation requested by Mayor Harry Rilling to begin addressing flooding issues.
The conversation was brief, with Minority Leader Doug Hempstead (R-District D) asking Department of Public Works Superintendent of Operations Chris Torre for a “preliminary list” of projects under consideration.
Mayor Harry Rilling said he’d met with Torre and DPW Principal Engineer Lisa Burns on Tuesday morning, and they’d gone over the list.
The $1 million is not for the tidal flooding that you see on Water Street or Calf Pasture Beach Road, Torre said, going on to list “long-term” projects that include:
- Lloyd Road
- The Friendly Pond area, Assisi Way, Saddle Road, Surrey Drive
- West Avenue
- Clinton Avenue
- Christy Street
- Benedict Street
- Sention Avenue
- North Taylor Avenue
- Teakettle Place
- Kettle Road
- June Avenue Area
- Glendenning Street
- Heather Lane
- Fitch Street
- Raymond Terrace
Torre said there are also “short-term things we are looking at”:
- Williams Street
- Cavanaugh Street
- Stonecrop Road
- East Rocks Road
- Smith Street
- Margaret Street
There are “major cleanings” that would need to be contracted out:
- Bouton Street
- Scribner Ave, Chatham Drive
- Thorp Lane
- Harstrom Place
- Columbine Lane
Torre also said DPW will be “monitoring and observing for pipe sizes and some infrastructure improvement work”:
- Rebel Lane
- New Canaan Avenue
- Strawberry Hill underneath the railroad bridge
- Harstrom Place
- Glover Avenue
Torre and Rilling stressed last week that the work will be guided by consultants, as previously reported.
“Their plan is to identify the areas that have the most serious flooding issues and prioritizing each of those in order,” Rilling said Tuesday, clarifying the situation by explaining that some flooding is caused by private issues, not the City’s infrastructure, and property owners will have to be told that repairs are their responsibility.
“Don’t forget our infrastructure in some areas is over 100 years old and woefully inadequate to accommodate the amount of rain we’ve been getting lately,” Rilling said. “So this is going to be an ongoing project probably for many years because it’s been ignored for many years.”
“I don’t disagree,” Hempstead said, and Rilling replied, “This is just the tip of the iceberg, believe me.”
District C has been flooding for decades, Council President John Kydes (D-District C) said.
“It would have been easy, say ignore it, hope for the best, fingers crossed, not going to have another 200-year storm for years to come but I am very happy to see we are actually being proactive, we are actually addressing this, rather than ignore it, like it’s been for a very long time,” Kydes said.
The appropriation does not involve raising the City’s debt but rather reassigns funding that had been planned for Keeler Brook, as reported in Tuesday’s NancyOnNorwalk story.
Education funding task force formed
“We are cautiously optimistic that we have all the members” for the Ad-Hoc Committee on School Funding that was promised in April, Mayor Harry Rilling said last week.
“The problem was putting together a Board where people were willing to serve,” Rilling said. He explained that people would indicate a willingness and say they would think it over but then decline because “it’s a daunting task to really start to work on how we can fund the Board of Education but still be aware of the fact that we have residents who are being taxed to a point where they are struggling.”
The City and BoE agreed in April to create an Ad-Hoc Committee on School Funding, a task force which would study “the historic underfunding of Norwalk schools and long-term education financing in Norwalk,” a statement said at the time.
Norwalk needs to get the state to give it a fair share of education funding, Rilling said. He added that he was an advocate for tax reform long before he was Mayor. Connecticut is one of four states that is heavily reliant on property tax and “we cannot continue to do that and be able to sustain ourselves as a state,” he said.
RPA’s Wall Street-West Avenue Neighborhood Plan – 2.0
The Wall Street-West Avenue Neighborhood Plan is ready, once again, for your review.
A January version of this plan was pulled back for revisions, and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) subsequently performed a market study and economic analysis, Director of Community Development Planning Tami Strauss said in an October memo to Council members.
The Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday approved a public hearing on the new plan, for Jan. 8, Strauss said Wednesday. The Planning Commission is expected to review the draft plan for compliance with the Plan of Conversation and Development – the 2008 plan and the plan now under development – in December.
This plan has been posted on the City’s website. It will be posted Wednesday on the Norwalk tomorrow website, Straus said.