Sunday, March 03, 2024


Joseloff to Seek Budget Restoration

By Jennifer Connic

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said today he is planning to ask the Board of Finance to restore at least some of the $876,000 cut it made to his proposed 2007-08 budget.

The board voted on the cut—which includes reductions to the fire department, parks and recreation, health district and general government budgets—during its meeting Monday night. (See WestportNow March 26) But it will consider restoration of some or all of those cuts before its final budget vote during a meeting scheduled for April 11.

With the cuts, the selectman’s proposed budget is $56.6 million, which is a 4.3 percent increase over the current budget.  Joseloff had originally proposed a $57.5 million budget, which is a 5.9 percent increase over the current budget.

Joseloff today identified several areas he’d wish to seek restoration in his budget, including salary funding at the fire department, hybrid cars for departments that do home inspections, and parks and recreation field maintenance funding.

Saugatuck Fire Under Investigation Image
Fire Marshal Ed Zygmant (r) investigates a fire at 580 Riverside Ave. this morning. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for
A fire erupted in an empty Saugatuck business today but quick work by Westport firefighters confined the damage to a rear room used for storage.

No one was injured in the 9 a.m. blaze in at 580 Riverside Ave., which once had been home to the Laura Bazante Salon.

Firefighters at the Saugatuck fire house, which is just up the street at 555 Riverside Ave, received a walk-up report that there was smoke in the area.

When firefighters investigated, they found the fire in the rear of the building which is slated to be demolished as part of a project to revitalize Saugatuck Center (See WestportNow March 12), and it currently stands empty.

Board of Finance Cuts School Budget by $500,000

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Board of Finance Monday night cut $500,000 from the proposed 2007-08 school budget in a vote that came after midnight in a room that earlier had been filled with parents concerned with a potential large cut.

The cut brings the proposal to $88.7 million, which is a 7.8 percent increase over the current budget. The Board of Education had proposed a $89.2 million 2007-08 operating budget, which is a 8.4 percent increase over the current budget, and will have the opportunity to seek restoration at an April 11 final budget hearing.

Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon sent an e-mail to parents Monday morning encouraging them to attend the meeting because it was vital they attend to support the proposal. Many of the seats in the Town Hall auditorium were filled, and there was an overflow crowd in the lobby.

Earlier in the evening, Kevin Connolly, finance board vice chairman, proposed an almost $1.9 million cut to the proposed budget, but other members said they could not be on board with the large cut.

Finance Board Cuts $876,000 from Selectman’s Budget

By Jennifer Connic

The Westport Board of Finance tonight cut $876,000 from the selectman’s proposed 2007-08 budget, but left a number of issues on the table to be resolved at the April 11 restoration hearing.

It was the first time the finance board cut a significant amount of money from the proposed selectman’s budget in nearly a decade.

With the cuts, the selectman’s proposed budget is $56.6 million, which is a 4.3 percent increase over the current budget. First Selectman Gordon Joseloff had originally proposed a $57.5 million budget, which is a 5.9 percent increase over the current budget.

Board of Finance Chairman Jeffrey Mayer said there are a number open items and invite town officials to bring back new information and seek restoration of the cuts at the April 11 session, which is when the board will make its final vote on the budget.

League of Women Voters Plans Bridgeport Volunteer Fair

The Westport League of Women Voters is sponsoring a Bridgeport Volunteer Fair on Sunday at 4-6 p.m. at the Center for Senior Activities.

The league is sponsoring the event following sessions where Bridgeport Mayor John Fabrizi and Schools Superintendent John Ramos spoke in Westport.

League planners said Westporters asked at those sessions what they can do to help build an alliance with Bridgeport, and the fair is the beginning of going that.

At least 15 organizations will be at the event, and there will be a presentation on volunteer opportunities in Bridgeport. Active volunteers will also be present to discuss their experiences.

For more information, contact Jane Eyes at (203) 227-0782 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Former Westport Teacher Pleads Guilty on Child Porn Charges

Retired Westport middle school teacher Paul Held, 68, pleaded guilty today on federal child pornography charges, and federal officials called him “one of the most prolific collectors of child pornography” ever seen in Connecticut.paulheld75.jpg
Paul Held: sentencing set for June 14. File photo

Held, who taught at Bedford Middle School, was in New Haven U.S. District Court before Judge Mark R. Kravitz, and he pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography.

He was initially arrested in August 2005 on federal child pornography charges after he left a CD full of child pornography in a computer he loaned to his neighbor (See WestportNow Aug. 3, 2005).

Federal officials said at the time of his arrest, Held possessed “numerous computers, compact discs, magazines, photographs and VHS tapes containing child pornography.”