Bob Spangler

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The town on Feb. 27 received an application to build Merritt Village, the 110-unit complex on the Maple and Park Streets block at the edge of downtown New Canaan, approved in November 2016 by the Planning & Zoning Commission. The application calls for four multi-family residential buildings with 167,746 gross square feet and a combination of underground and surface parking. ***

And now, a photo of Parking Enforcement Officer Mike McCargo with New Canaan’s Lummi Roscoe, a Pomeranian. ***

The Board of Finance on Thursday night voted unanimously to approve a town-wide budget for next fiscal year of $150.9 million—an overall increase of 1.89 percent—including a Board of Education operating budget of $89.7 million. Continue Reading →

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‘It Will Not Be Easy and It Will Not Be Pleasant’: Board of Finance Hears Passionate Calls for Fiscal Prudence, Full District Funding as Vote Nears

New Canaan must be careful as a community to have frank, detailed conversations about its financial situation and not “succumb to the tyranny of the parent,” a homeowner and mother of four children in public elementary and middle schools here told members of the Board of Finance on Tuesday. Everyone loves their kids and wants a good school district, yet this idea floating around New Canaan now that spending on the public schools somehow fuels property values is false, according to Rita Nagle. “That is simply not the economic relationship that exists,” Nagle said during a budget hearing held at Town Hall. “Property values fund taxes, which fund school spending. That is the way the relationship works. Continue Reading →

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Board of Finance to Keep 2 Percent Budget Increase as ‘Strong Guideline’ for Town Departments

Members of the Board of Finance on Tuesday night discussed the effectiveness of an October memo instructing all departments to present their budget proposals for next fiscal year with no more than a 2 percent budget increase, especially in light of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi last week opened Board of Education budget talks with a request for a 3.5 percent increase. Finance board member Colleen Baldwin said during the group’s regular meeting that while there were discussions before the memo was sent about making the 2 percent a “hard number,” the idea was eventually scrapped “for this very reason.”

Instead, she said that the number was “put out as a starting discussion” with a strong suggestion that the budgets should be presented with “no more than 2 percent.”

But member Thomas Schulte questioned whether the departments are taking the memo seriously enough, considering the financials challenges that the both the town and the state are facing in the coming years and urged the board to bring up these concerns at department meetings. “We tried to do our best to share with them the concerns that we had,” he said at the meeting, held at Town Hall. “I think that the world is very different. It is a more expensive one for people to pay their state and local taxes [in]…and we can’t ignore that, and I think [in terms of] real world budgeting, all of the departments need to be aware of that—whether they’re halfway or all the way through creating their budgets. 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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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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