Board of Finance

Recent Articles

Meeting Minutes Detailing Decision to Change NCHS Fields Projects Filed Aug. 30, Two Months Late

Though officials said this week that meeting minutes disclosing a controversial decision to change a taxpayer-funded project without notifying New Canaan’s funding bodies were available after that decision was made, the public record shows that those minutes weren’t filed with the Town Clerk until Aug. 30. The June 23 meeting of the Fields Building Committee was attended by four of five regular members—Chairman Bob Spangler, Secretary Mike Benevento, Scott Werneburg and Nick Williams (regular member Amy Bennett was absent)—as well as four ex officio members, Recreation Director Steve Benko, New Canaan High School Athletic Director Jay Egan, Public Works Director Tiger Mann and Parks Superintendent John Howe. First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Public Works Senior Engineer Joe Zagarenski also were present. According to meeting minutes date-stamped Aug. Continue Reading →

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‘We Feel a Bit Bamboozled’: Unhappy Finance Board Votes To Commit $3.9 Million for NCHS Fields Projects; Figure Is Up $800,000 Since April

Decrying a lack of transparency, finance officials on Tuesday night still approved a revisited bonding package of $3.9 million for fields upgrades now underway at New Canaan High School—$800,000 more in town funds than the project had been estimated to cost just five months ago. While praising the volunteer New Canaan Athletic Foundation for its fundraising, members of the Board of Finance also voiced concerns that a town-appointed committee that includes NCAF members—ostensibly a group charged with helping to oversee the fields projects—this summer withheld critical information about a higher-than-expected bid for the work as well as other costs that drove up the price tag. Instead of disclosing in late June to town funding bodies that some costs related to the fields projects had come in far higher than expected, committee members decided to change parts of the agreed-upon project on their own, spending public money in ways not vetted before the Board of Finance or Town Council, officials said. Representatives of that committee—namely, Bob Spangler and Mike Benevento (it also includes Amy Bennett, Scott Werneburg and Nick Williams)—defended their decision by saying it was the best way to ensure the fields would be completed on time. They focused on getting the baseline fields and track work done and, as a result, the existing Water Tower turf field, re-graded and with a costly repair to its former slope, will be ready by the end of this month, while the second turf field and track will be done by mid-November, Spangler said. Continue Reading →

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Selectmen, Finance Board Approve $267,000 for Land Trust To Acquire ‘Fowler’ Property in Silvermine

A local organization dedicated to the preservation of open space took a big step Tuesday toward acquiring a closely watched 6-acre parcel in Silvermine. The Boards of Selectmen and Finance in their regular meetings both voted unanimously in favor of a $267,000 special appropriation for the New Canaan Land Trust—funds that are expected to help the organization complete the $1,070,000 purchase of the “Fowler” property. Owned by award-winning zoologist Jim Fowler, the parcel abuts a 41-acre property already owned by the Land Trust and, together, they will form the “Silvermine Fowler preserve.”

“This is something we need to do as a town,” Selectman Nick Williams said during a meeting held in Town Hall in the morning, moments before the group voted 3-0 in favor of the appropriation. “These opportunities do not come around that often so we need to capitalize.”

The finance board followed with a unanimous ‘Yes’ vote at its evening meeting. The Town Council is expected to take up the matter for a final vote at its Jan. Continue Reading →

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‘A Lane To a Beautiful Nature Park’: Finance Officials Hear Land Trust Request for Funds To Acquire Fowler Property

Saying it would preserve unique natural habitat and expand an important open space greenway, members of a nonprofit organization dedicated to land conservation in New Canaan on Tuesday night urged town officials to help their group with the timely purchase of a 6.35-acre property. The would-be “Silvermine Fowler” preserve—a private property long owned by award-winning zoologist Jim Fowler and available to the New Canaan Land Trust right now in a $1.3 million deal—is accessible from Silvermine Road just below the intersection with Route 106. An east-west oriented parcel that climbs a wooded hill toward a natural pond, the property is contiguous to a 41-acre sanctuary that the Land Trust already owns (see map below). Among privately raised funds, pledges and grants, the New Canaan Land Trust and Trust for Public Land—a national nonprofit organization headquartered in San Francisco—already have secured all but $365,000 needed to acquire the property. At this time, the organization has first right of refusal, though the offer is to expire in the first quarter of 2017, according to Land Trust officials. Continue Reading →

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Did You Hear … ?

The Planning & Zoning Commission during a special meeting on Monday night reviewed some 65 yet-to-be-released conditions that it is considering as part of an approval for the closely followed Merritt Village proposal. Though still in draft form and therefore not public, the approval P&Z discussed appears to land on 105 total units at the proposed development. The specter of an affordable housing application looms over the project, should property owner M2 Partners and the town fail to reach a compromise. During an interview after the P&Z meeting, New Canaan resident and would-be Merritt Village builder Arnold Karp said he and his partners “have sat through six months of hearings.”

“We went from 160 to 140 to 123 to 116 to get 105? That doesn’t sit that well with myself or my partners, because it’s way too arbitrary and capricious,” Karp told NewCanaanite.com. Continue Reading →

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