Proposed Spending Plan Calls for $250,000 Toward Land Acquisition

The proposed capital spending plan now with the Board of Finance includes $250,000 for land acquisition, a figure that represents five times current spending. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, a longtime proponent of creating and building up the Land Acquisition Fund, noted during a press briefing last week that Westport puts about $250,000 into its own similar fund “and they have $3.2 million” in it now. “I would like to have more built up for land acquisition,” Moynihan said during the briefing, held Feb. 6 in his Town Hall office. “So I am in favor of that general direction.”

The $250,000 request for fiscal year 2021 appears under the Conservation Commission in the proposed capital spending plan that the Board of Selectmen recommend 3-0 last month.

‘I Will Not Be Harassed Nor Bullied’: Despite Acrimony, Town Council Votes To Create ‘Land Acquisition Fund’

Saying they felt bullied after fellow members of New Canaan’s legislative body took an unusual step to force a specific item onto their meeting agenda, two officers of the elected Town Council on Wednesday night abstained from voting on it. Ultimately, the Town Council voted 7-0 in favor of establishing a “land acquisition fund”—a state law-sanctioned vehicle that’s designed to allow New Canaan to purchase property and use it for open space, recreation or housing. Yet the Town Council’s secretary, Penny Young, and chairman, Bill Walbert, abstained from voting. Originally discussed in January after councilmen John Engel, Kevin Moynihan and Cristina A. Ross argued in favor of its immediate creation, the land acquisition fund item was to be taken up again in March, according to Young, under an agenda set by herself, together with Walbert and the Town Council’s vice chairman, Steve Karl. Under the Town Council’s own rules, if five members of the body sought to add it to the agenda for this month, they could have done so, according to Young.