‘People Are Really Upset About This’: Town Council Pushes Back on Snub of VFW’s Funding Request

Members of the Town Council are pushing back on decisions made by other municipal bodies that deny a request from local veterans for funding through the American Rescue Plan Act. The Boards of Selectmen and Finance both voted in support of a $582,600 ARPA package for nonprofit organizations that left out a $15,000 request from the local VFW. During their own July 20 meeting, Town Councilmen tried to get answers as to why the snub occurred and to urge the selectmen and finance board to fill the funding request. “If it wasn’t for our veterans this town would not exist,” Councilman Kimberly Norton said during the meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference. “So I think it’s of paramount importance that we take this seriously, and all of these people are volunteers that volunteered their service to our country, and then volunteered in our parade, and mapping the graves of the veterans in the cemetery.

ARPA: Health and Human Services Commission Should Advise Town on Future Allocations, Members Say

An appointed body that oversees New Canaan’s Health and Human Services departments should be doing more to help the town set priorities on spending what remains of $6 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding, its members say. The Town Council last month approved about $2 million in “ARPA” spending, including allocations for “premium pay” for school and town workers, greenlink sidewalks, year-round public bathrooms, a generator and marketing. Yet the Health and Human Services Commission “should be giving more assistance and support to our elected officials on priority funding,” Russ Barksdale Jr., a member of the Commission, said at its Jan. 6 meeting. “I did not see any priority funding given to our local or town Health Department, as an example,” Barksdale said at the meeting, held via videoconference.

Library Attorney: Decision on Fate of 1913 Building Must Come During P&Z Process

Though a clause inserted last week into a draft agreement between the town and New Canaan Library would appear to forestall a decision on whether to demolish the original 1913 library building for at least two years during construction, the fate of that structure must be decided far sooner, an attorney said Tuesday. While it’s true that the library will operate out of its existing building until the new one is completed and ready for move-in, the Planning & Zoning Commission must approve the library’s full plan for the site even before construction starts, including for the century-old structure overlooking Main and Cherry Streets, according to Ted O’Hanlan, a longtime partner at Stamford-based Robinson + Cole who was nominated last week as a state Superior Court judge (the class of nominees awaits confirmation by the General Assembly). P&Z “has to approve a plan before we can start anything, so this will be resolved by then,”” O’Hanlan told members of the Board of Selectmen during their regular meeting, held via videoconference. “I don’t believe it can be an open issue,” O’Hanlan added, where construction can commence without a final plan for the 1913 library. “The library plans to put forward a very articulated reason why it’s not proposing to save the 1913 building,” he said.