‘Counselor, Partner, Sounding Board and Thinker’: Board of Finance Thanks Neil Budnick, Stepping Down After 15 Years

Members of the Board of Finance last week offered high praise for a fellow member of the appointed body who is stepping down after 15 years. Neil Budnick has been “a phenomenal counselor, partner, sounding board and thinker,” Board Chair Lavieri said during the group’s regular meeting held June 7 at Town Hall and via videoconference. 

“You have added so much value to this board on all of the things you’ve done,” he said. “On anything you’ve done. And you always raise your hand, and you’re always willing to help and you always go the extra mile. Town pensions are overfunded, and there’s a lot of guidance there from the committee, yourself included, of course.

New Canaan Library: $1.5 Million Needed Now to Move ‘Legacy’ Building in Time for Feb. ‘23 Opening of New Facility

New Canaan Library officials said Tuesday that unless their organization is able to secure funding to move the original 1913 building to the western edge of its campus—as conditioned by the Planning & Zoning Commission via approvals last July and December—they could end up with two facilities, the present-day library and a new one, sitting next to each other. The library has already has raised more than $33 million toward its new approximately $40 million building, including a $10 million gift from the town, Executive Director Lisa Oldham told members of the Board of Finance at their regular meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. 

Yet the library sees the P&Z-approved project of preserving and moving what remains of the 1,200-square-foot 1913 or “legacy” building as a separate project, and need $1.5 million now in order for that structure to be secured on a new foundation behind the Sunoco gas station by the time the new facility opens to the public Feb. 1, 2023, Oldham said. (A further $1 million will be needed to fit out the building for use, such as by getting insulation, heat, bathrooms and plumbing in it.)

Asked by Board of Finance Chair Todd Lavieri how the library is going to get the $1.5 million, Oldham said, “That is a good question.”

“As our primary investors, our biggest investor, you will appreciate that I am full focused on fundraising the last $6.5 million for the main project,” she said. “This [new library] can’t wait for me to finish that [legacy building] job, so we need a source of funding immediately.

Moynihan: Playhouse To Have New Movie Operator in September at the Earliest

The town-owned Playhouse on Elm Street likely will have a new operator in September at the earliest, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said this week. The town “may have news about a potential operator soon,” Moynihan told members of the Board of Finance during their regular meeting Tuesday, held via videoconference. Municipal officials “are working on the assumption that the town wants a first-run movie theater and that’s what we’re working on,” he told the Board during a general update. “If we can’t achieve that, we would look to other things,” he said. “But I think that’s a consensus in the town and certainly it supports restaurants and merchants to bring people to New Canaan.