NORWALK, Conn. – In what was described as a “great bang for the buck,” the Board of Estimate and Taxation approved a $20,000 special appropriation for the Code Enforcement department.
Four BET members got the work done Monday, without the three new members expected to be appointed by Mayor Harry Rilling. That meant there was a quorum even without the former BET members whose terms have run out — Fred Wilms, John Federici and Michael Kolman.
The Common Council meeting planned for Nov. 26, when the appointments could have been made, was canceled. Majority Leader Jerry Petrini (R-District D) said there was “nothing to discuss.” Petrini has since said that the Republican caucus is working with Rilling and Minority Leader John Igneri (D-District E) on appointments.
“We’re working together,” he said before Thanksgiving. “It’s a good thing. They’ve got names, we’ve got names. We’re trying to whittle it down to a short list. … see if we can all be on the same page when the time comes.”
Monday’s meeting featured three BET members in person – Rilling, Jim Clark and Jim Feigenbaum – and Erik Anderson present by telephone.
Code Enforcement Manager Bill Ireland requested the $20,000 to cover $15,000 in additional part-time wages and $5,000 in overtime for his office, citing an estimate of $750,000 in increased permit activity, according to a letter submitted to the BET.
Management and Budgeting Director Bob Barron said that is a conservative estimate. A projection shows that the department will actually have $1.5 million in increased permits, but Ireland was hesitant to use that projection because the second half of last year was “incredible.”
“Suffice it to say it is a very strong performance and we believe 750 is guaranteed,” he said.
Spending $20,000 on additional man hours will prevent a backlog, and keep people from waiting in line, Finance Director Thomas Hamilton said. That is why Barron described it as “a great bang for our buck.”
The part-time workers are retired building inspectors, Hamilton said.
The BET also discussed the financial state of the Oak Hills Park Authority. As stated by authority members, it looks like there will be no need for a loan to get the park through the winter this year, as happened last year, Hamilton and Barron said.
The golf course’s revenue is up about $80,000 from where it was a year ago, Barron said.
“Last year they owed a lot of people money,” Barron said. That is down $115,000 from where it was a year ago, he said.
Add that together and the authority is up $205,000 from where it was last year.
“They’re still a tight operation, there’s no doubt about it,” Hamilton said. “They’re not rolling in money over there but they’re definitely in better shape than they were last year heading into the winter.”