Moynihan on Superintendent’s Proposed Board of Ed Budget: ‘I Wasn’t Too Happy’

New Canaan’s highest elected official said Tuesday night that he’s unhappy with the spending plan that the superintendent of schools has proposed for next fiscal year. The Board of Education is expected to vote later this month on Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi’s $95.7 million operating budget for fiscal year 2022. Driven mainly by salary and benefits, it includes about $460,000 for what Luizzi described Monday as a student health and wellness initiative in the form of new start times. 

The approved Board of Ed budget for the current fiscal year is $90.9 million, town finance documents show. The Town Council in making its final budget vote last April reduced the Board of Ed’s requested amount by about $1 million, effectively forestalling a change to school start times. Addressing the Board of Finance during its regular meeting, Moynihan said, “The budget numbers are coming together very nicely on the town side.

Library Timeline Calls for P&Z Approvals Early 2021, Late-Spring Start of Construction 

The $36 million rebuilding of New Canaan Library will commence next spring and construction will continue for about two years, according to plans shared Tuesday with town officials. 

Under a Memorandum of Understanding or ‘MOU’ with the town that’s been under negotiation for months, the town will contribute $10 million toward the project while the library bears the balance of the cost through its own fundraising and a $15 million commercial construction loan from Bankwell, the documents show. A traffic engineer hired by the library has found that an original proposal to create covered parking is problematic, according to a letter from the library’s executive director, Lisa Oldham, and its Board of Trustees. 

Addressing questions that had been raised by the Board of Finance, it’s one of several documents sent to members of the Boards of Selectmen and Finance as well as the Town Council. “The library is committed to the incorporation of a Library Green which is an integral and important part of the overall project,” the letter said. “Therefore, in discussion with several officials at [the town of New Canaan], the Library has commissioned further studies from its engineers and are in full agreement with a plan to accelerate and resolve a plan for parking.”

Taken together, the documents—they include five-year operations budget projections, project schedule and a narrative reviewing new revenues and costs that will come with the rebuilt facility—present a new layer of detail on the widely anticipated project. The town’s funding bodies in preparing to vote on a bond resolution have called in recent meetings for additional information from the library, and the documents address their questions.

Chair: Annual Update from Board of Finance

As the Board of Finance does each year, this is an update on our current budget and tax projections as we close out our 2019/2020 budget on June 30th as well as an overview of our new 2020/2021 budget that begins on July 1st. As always, and especially this year, I can never thank our volunteers across the town, our town employees, our volunteers on many Boards and Commissions, our Town Council, our Board of Education, and our First Selectman enough – they make an incredible effort on our behalf in order to keep our town in great shape in every way. And while that is always true, the past 100 days have truly stressed the system. But our town response has been overwhelmingly positive, from our schools, our residents, the donations people have made, and all the volunteer help across the town. An extra grateful thank you to the volunteers and healthcare workers who have gone above and beyond to support our community and our region.

Moynihan: New Canaan First Responders, Municipal Workers To Be Tested for COVID-19

New Canaan’s first responders and other municipal workers will be tested for the COVID-19 virus Friday through Stamford Hospital, the town’s highest elected official said. The purpose of the testing “is really to give the employees comfort,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan told members of the Board of Finance during their regular meeting, held Tuesday night via videoconference. 

“I suspect we are going to find very few positive cases and some cases where people may have been sick and didn’t realize it. But I think our overall numbers indicate that the social distancing and the locking down of New Canaan was very successful in limiting the number of cases.”

As of Monday night, New Canaan had 206 total positive cases and 28 people who succumbed to coronavirus disease, officials have said. His update came as the town prepares to see certain business reopen after May with restrictions, as per Gov. Ned Lamont—for example, outdoor dining areas at restaurants. Right now, Moynihan said, about seven municipal workers are in Town Hall on a given day while others work from home, and that officials are working on a plan to have them starting working out of Town Hall, slowly, after May 20 and into June “and continue to not have visitors come into Town Hall to the extent that we can avoid that.”

“We certainly will not have any in-person meetings, consistent with what’s businesses are doing” and “have plans to have the office space configured so that people can socially distance and work safely with masks,” he said.