Popularity of Platform Tennis Soars Amid COVID-19

Municipal officials say they’ve seen a steep increase this fall and winter in the number of people playing platform or “paddle” tennis on New Canaan’s town-owned courts at Waveny Park. Revenues generated through selling permits and guest passes for the outdoor sport already have surpassed $70,000 for the paddle tennis season that started in early-October, compared to anticipated revenues of about $46,000, according to Recreation Director Steve Benko. In the past two paddle seasons, which run through mid-April, the town has taken in a total of about $56,000 (fiscal year 2020) and $46,000 (fiscal year 2019) in revenues, Benko told members of the Board of Finance Park & Recreation Budget Subcommittee during a regular meeting Monday. “Paddle is going crazy,” he said during the meeting, held via videoconference. 

“We’ve had an outstanding year so far in paddle tennis. Our revenues are way up in paddle.

Board of Finance Member: New Canaan Should Consider Charging Nonresidents Using Waveny Park

A Board of Finance member said this week that if a substantial number of Waveny Park visitors are from out-of-town, as has been suggested, then New Canaan should consider charging them for entry. The town should consider granting each New Canaan household two or three car passes to Waveny “and then, I don’t know, maybe at some point we charge for parking or something,” Amy Murphy Carroll said during a meeting of the Board’s Parks & Recreation Budget Subcommittee, held Monday via videoconference. “Because it’s expensive to maintain and we have the Waveny Conservancy doing incredible things, we have the paths for doing all that stuff,” she said. “And I just think, you know, we do a lot of stuff in New Canaan that benefits people in a broader way and our taxpayers pay for it all. And I’m not trying to be exclusive, and to the extent that if we did something like this, I think it could go toward the Conservancy or toward [the Recreation Department] budget or something.”

The comments came while Murphy Carroll and two other finance board members, Michael Chen and Tom Schulte, reviewed Recreation Director Steve Benko’s proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2022 in advance of a full Board of Finance meeting.

Did You Hear … ?

First Selectman Kevin Moyinhan said during a media briefing Thursday that he’s asked one of New Canaan’s foremost nonprofit figures—Leo Karl III—to lead the New Canaan Athletic Foundation. Karl, known for his extensive volunteer work with organizations that include the New Canaan Community Foundation, where he had served as president, agreed to take on the role, according to Moynihan. Praised by Moynihan for its fundraising ability, the NCAF among other organizational priorities is seeking to establish its own nonprofit arm along the lines of what a similar  group has in Darien, the first selectman said. ***

A Darien homeowner is taking a New Canaan man and his company to small claims court for $4,660.32, saying he committed breach of contract by failing to complete painting work, sealing broken plumbing behind “impenetrable tile and drywall work” and incorrectly installing tile, according to a complaint filed in May. In an answer and counterclaim, the New Canaan man said he’s owed $2,089.63 and that the plaintiff is suing for work not included in the contract.

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.