Steve Karl

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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‘We Would Have To Move Our Business’: Local Business Owners on the Prospect of Reduced Rail Service to New Canaan

Delivered with a thud last month and underscored by state transportation officials during a recent forum in town, proposed severe cuts in train service on the New Canaan branch line has prompted residents to decry the effect it would have on property values and the ability of visitors—for example, those traveling up from New York City to see the Philip Johnson Glass House—to get here. Less obvious though no less important is the effect that proposed elimination of weekend service as well as off-peak weekday service to New Canaan would have on local businesses, merchants and service providers say, largely because those who work here rely on the train. Steve Karl, vice president at Karl Chevrolet, said that as a business owner in New Canaan, “the news of limiting the train service to our community is the last thing we want to hear.”

“By cutting back the off-peak service and the complete elimination of weekend service it affects our business in a number of ways,” Karl told NewCanaanite.com. “First of all, the employees who use the train to commute will be affected and these are some of our hardest working employees who rely on the train every day. Secondly, due to the proximity of the train station to our store, we frequently sell vehicles to clients who travel by rail to pick them up at our location. Continue Reading →

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Citing Need for Decision on Future Use, Finance Board Puts Off $50,000 Study of Former Outback Building

Saying that the town first must decide how the building will be used, members of New Canaan’s funding bodies decided last week to put off a vote on $50,000 in studies that would be needed in order to make repairs and code-compliant upgrades to the former Outback Teen Center building. It’s too early to discuss an investment in architectural and engineering plans for what some now call the ‘Town Hall Annex’ when its future use remains unclear, Board of Finance members Todd Lavieri and George Blauvelt said at the group’s regular meeting, held Tuesday at Town Hall. Town Councilman Steve Karl voiced that thought during the legislative body’s regular meeting the following night. “This is about a building and about a hardship, basically, that the town inherited—we inherited what amounts to a dilapidated barn and we need to figure out what is a post-and-beam barn that is 17 years old with two bathrooms, how much is a couple of bathrooms and a barn worth?” Karl said at the meeting, held at Town Hall. “And there is no property underneath it, because it’s the town’s property. Continue Reading →

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Audit Committee Chairman: New Canaan Should Review Bonding Practices

New Canaan’s bonded debt is the highest among all neighboring towns, the chairman of the Audit Committee said Wednesday night. What the town has bonded and plans to fund through bonding—typically large capital projects and equipment—would come, together, to nearly 100 percent of its revenues, Bill Parrett told members of the Town Council during their regular meeting. “It was a surprise to me,” Parrett said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. The question of just what New Canaan funds through bonding is “a significant issue,” according to Parrett, because though the IRS has rules and regulations around the practice, “that should not govern what we do as a town, as to what we in fact bond or don’t bond. “And when you bond something, as you all know, that is borrowing money±—sort of like a home equity loan, you have to pay it back … and we bonded quite a bit over last couple of years. Continue Reading →

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Town Officials to Committee Steering NCHS Fields Project: ‘It’s Like We Ordered a Rolls Royce and We Ended Up with a Toyota’

A building contractor of 30 years experience who sits on the town’s legislative body said last week that he sees two major signs that spelled failure on recently disclosed cost overruns for a widely anticipated sports fields building project at New Canaan High School. According to Town Council member Joe Paladino, it’s never advantageous to be under a “tight time crunch” with respect to deadlines in a large project. “It’s not a great idea to have gun against your head and you folks truly did because you are under a time crunch, and there’s no way out of it,” Paladino told the chairman and secretary of the town-appointed committee that’s overseeing the turf fields and track project at the high school, now estimated to cost $5.8 million. “When your architect says he is ‘shocked’ by the number and your committee is ‘shocked’ by the number you are getting from your contractor, how do you know you got the right number?” Paladino told Bob Spangler and Mike Benevento of the Fields Building Committee during a meeting of the council’s Land Use and Recreation Subcommittee, held Sept. 20 at Town Hall. Continue Reading →

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