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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Westport Projects Survive Bond Package Reductions

State lawmakers today overwhelmingly approved a revised bonding bill that includes $1.85 million for Westport projects.

The bill, which passed after months of failed negotiations, authorizes slightly less borrowing than a bill the governor vetoed last month.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she will sign the revised bill into law, calling the compromise a victory for fiscal responsibility.

As with the vetoed bill, the revised measure authorizes $1 million for the Levitt Pavilion, $600,000 for the Westport Historical Society, and $250,000 for The Saugatuck senior housing project, according to Rep. Joe Mioli of Westport, a Democrat.

The impasse between Rell and lawmakers has dragged on since the legislature ended its regular legislative session in June.

The revised bill trimmed $400 million from the version Rell vetoed in September. At the time, Rell said the bill was too expensive. (See WestportNow Sept. 21, 2007)

The bill allows the state to borrow $2.9 billion in general obligation bonds for fiscal years 2008 and 2009, plus $950 million more in bond authorizations for major renovations and improvements to the Connecticut State University campuses.

The State Bond Commission, whose agenda is set by Rell, still has to approve individual projects.

Rell cautioned that not every project listed in the bond package is a sure bet.

“These are a list of individual priorities for some members (of the General Assembly),” Rell said during a news conference. “It does not mean all will appear on the bond commission agenda now or in the next two years.”

The $1 million earmarked for the Levitt Pavilion would aid its capital campaign to replace its band shell, home to popular outdoor summer concerts for 34 years. The Levitt is currently using a temporary stage.

The $600,000 to the Westport Historical Society would help relieve some of the group’s financial burden that includes debt from its expansion project several years ago.

The $250,000 to The Saugatuck, the one-time Saugatuck Elementary School now a senior housing facility on Bridge Street, would aid in a roofing project, according to Mioli.

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Posted 10/31/07 at 02:01 AM  Permalink



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