New Canaan residents share their thoughts and raise issues of importance to our community, on matters touching local residents—property and business owners, taxpayers, students, nonprofit leaders and caregivers. This is a space for New Canaanites to recognize good works that may otherwise go unnoticed or to raise questions and concerns for public vetting. To submit a letter to the editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will New Canaan property taxes be affected by the Oct. 1, 2018 real estate revaluation that’s currently in process? The answer to this question will vary by homeowner, but it’s worth thinking about its effect on taxpayers in general. For simplicity, let’s set aside the budget’s other moving parts and examine the impact of the revaluation alone. After every real estate revaluation, the Board of Finance determines whether the tax rate (the “mill rate”) needs to be adjusted to keep tax revenues constant.
The New Canaan Board of Education is evaluating a change to school start times to allow our older, sleep-deprived students more time for sleep. A group of New Canaan parents created the Healthy School Start Times website to inform parents about this important health concern and to collect signatures on a petition asking the BoE to prioritize changing start times. Over 700 New Canaan families have signed the petition and commented on why they consider the issue to be a priority. Some of the comments are included here and the rest can be found on the website. We hope New Canaanites will read what their neighbors are saying and add their own voice to the petition:
“I have two boys who are currently in elementary school and will go through the entire NCPS system.
In a letter to the New Canaanite published on Nov. 10, Chris DeMuth voiced concerns that we would “immediately [enact] a tax hike.”
We feel the need to set the record straight. Throughout our campaigns we emphatically stated that we would not raise the income tax. Instead, we’ve proposed real solutions to address the state’s fiscal and pension crises, transform our transportation infrastructure, reduce taxes like the estate and gift tax, and bring businesses and young people back to Connecticut. All of these measures will reduce financial stress on towns like New Canaan and keep our property taxes low.
We also campaigned on the need to put aside political party labels and partisan rhetoric and instead focus on working together to ensure a successful future for Connecticut.
Congratulations to Connecticut Democrats on their trifecta in Hartford—our new Democratic governor will be utterly unconstrained by Republicans in any position of authority. In fact, any effective pressure on Governor-elect Ned Lamont will all come from his left. Progressive voices in both the upper and lower chamber are now a majority of the majority party.
What does that mean for New Canaanites? The most immediate impact is likely a tax hike by the middle of next year. The top marginal rate (the one that matters when it comes to economic growth and incentives) will get a big hike.
We are part of a growing group of more than 600 parents of adolescents or soon-to-be-adolescents in the New Canaan Public School system who are concerned that children in Grades 7-12 begin their school day at 7:30 a.m., a start time that doctors have told us is harmful to an adolescent’s health. It is time for New Canaan to prioritize fixing this problem. Later School Start Times Improve Teen Health
Most adolescents are chronically sleep-deprived and early school start times are a big part of the problem, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All three medical organizations recommend that 7th-to-12th-graders start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.
Teens have trouble falling asleep before 11 p.m. due to a biological shift in circadian rhythms that occurs in all adolescents; they are simply not sleepy earlier. With a 7:30 a.m. start time, the window for sleep is not long enough for them to get the required 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep.