Patrick Barnard

Recent Articles

Town Council Mulls Development of Long-Term Plan for Budgeting

To aid in the budget process moving forward, the town government may soon be adopting a long-term financial plan (LTFP) which will essentially serve as a forecasting tool. Following the unanimous vote on the final, $151 million fiscal 2018-2019 town budget on Thursday at town hall, the New Canaan Town Council discussed a preliminary document outlining what the proposed five-year plan would include, which was drafted by vice chairman Rich Townsend. The purpose of the plan, as per the draft document, is to “provide all the town funded units the opportunity to participate in setting the financial assumptions and goals for the town” over a five year period. Basically, it would require all town departments and the Board of Education to furnish a five-year forecast including future costs, revenues, goals and needs to the Board of Finance before the budget process commences. “When we went through the budget, there were a lot of things that everybody wanted to do that would help us save money and help us work better with all the other organizations [in town],” Townsend explained after introducing the draft document. Continue Reading →

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Town Council Unanimously Approves $151 Million Town Budget

After months of intense negotiations, the 2018-2019 New Canaan town budget is finally a done deal. The New Canaan Town Council on Thursday unanimously approved a total town operating budget of $150,939,170, an increase of 1.89 percent, or $2,794,676 compared with the current budget of $148,144,503. This includes a town budget of $39,698,537, representing an increase of 1.33 percent or $522,184, and Board of Education budget of $89,763,487, representing an increase of 2.45 percent or $2,145,082, plus capital expenditures and debt service. The total amount to be collected via taxation is $139,395,729, which represents an increase of 2.08 percent compared with the current collection figure of $136,611,378. This means taxpayers are in effect facing a 2.08% percent budget hike in the coming fiscal year. Continue Reading →

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Birdcage Elevator Could be Best Option to Bring Waveny House Up to ADA Compliance

There could soon be a birdcage installed at Waveny House … a birdcage elevator, that is. Actually, a birdcage elevator is technically a “lift” and not an elevator, because it is not enclosed and utilizes hydraulics instead of cables. Aside from that trivial fact, the town is studying the possibility of installing the elevator for the purpose of bringing the historic building into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Currently, there are two ways to get from the first floor of Waveny House to the second floor: Stairs and an original “baggage elevator” that runs from the basement to the attic. However, the baggage elevator has not been used in decades and no longer works. Continue Reading →

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Selectmen Approve Funding for New Ambulance, Boiler Repairs

The Board of Selectmen at its most recent meeting unanimously approved three expenditures including $9,281.10 for emergency repairs to the boiler at Town Hall, $15,099.10 to refurbish 10 snow plows, and $182,326 for the purchase of a new ambulance. Bill Oestmann, superintendent of buildings, told the board during its Dec. 5 meeting that the boiler at Town Hall developed a problem while he was away on vacation a couple of weeks earlier. “I guess it got cold that week and the heat was not responding very well in Town Hall,” Oestmann said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. ”So, the mechanical company came down and found that there were some issues related to the valves. Continue Reading →

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Santa Arrives Safely in New Canaan

Children and adults hoping to see Santa Claus arrive in his personal helicopter at Mead Park on Saturday morning were instead greeted by New Canaan’s Tom Stadler, who was in the parking lot vigorously flapping his arms—not in an effort to fly himself, but rather to alert the incoming crowds that a snowstorm bearing down on the area had forced the Jolly Old Elf to cancel his flight. Instead, Santa was arriving via land-based transportation, Stadler told drivers as they flooded into the bustling parking areas—more specifically, via a fire truck that was bringing him directly to hardware shop Weed & Duryea, sponsor of the annual event, as well as Gregg’s Garden Center. After battling some slow-moving traffic during the 2,000-foot-long trek over to the hardware and general store, and then getting “trapped” in the store parking lot, everyone eventually made it safely to Weed & Duryea’s “Christmas Headquarters,” where local band, the New Canaan School of Rock, was cranking out “Spirit of Radio” by Rush to get everyone in the holiday mood. Sure enough, the Bearded Man of the Hour arrived right on time, waving to his adoring fans from a beautifully restored 1949 ladder truck owned by former Assistant New Canaan Volunteer Fire Chief (and Santa’s personal chauffeur) Scott Ready (the truck had been in service in New Canaan until 1973). A long line of starry-eyed children (and their parents) had already formed as Santa took his “throne” in the Christmas shop, surrounded by colorful, sparkling holiday merchandise. Continue Reading →

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