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Town Launches eCheck for Tax Payments

By James Lomuscio

Before you reach for that credit card to pay Westport’s real estate and personal property tax bills that just arrived, Tax Collector Peggy Klein has some words of caution.WestportNow.com Image
Westport residents have been receiving tax bills this week easily spotted by the return address and bold print about its contents. Contributed photo

Credit cards charge 3 percent. If you charge $5,000 for your quarterly real estate taxes for a home with total home tax of $20,000, that translates into an extra $150.

Debit cards work much better, just $2.95 per transaction, or $147.05 saved.

But a new system that went into place Tuesday is even lower, just $1.50 to pay all of your tax bills, home, boat, and multiple cars included, online. It is called ach/echeck.

Westporter Says He Could Have Saved $$$ on AIG Bailout

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Joseph J. Cassano, the Westporter who was chief executive of the American International Group unit that insured mortgage-related securities with calamitous results, testified in Washington today that he could have saved taxpayers billions of dollars if he had stayed at the company to negotiate with banks that were demanding more collateral as the insurer hit trouble. Cassano, who learned last month that federal prosecutors would not bring charges against him (See WestportNow May 23, 2010), spoke in public for the first time about his role at AIG before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which is studying the causes of the financial crisis. Cassano left AIG in February 2008 over disagreements with the company’s auditors about how to value portions of his unit’s investments. He earned nearly $300 million from the firm. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow photo from CNBC.

Fading Glory: Bridge Flags Fall to Budget Cuts

By James Lomuscio

For the past decade, ever since 9-11, the sight of nearly 100 American flags flapping in the breeze on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge has come to define Westport.WestportNow.com ImageWestportNow.com Image
American flags are gone (top) from Westport’s Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge except for holidays (bottom). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow (top) and Helen Klisser During (bottom) for WestportNow.com

The flags, their poles affixed to permanent brackets on the downtown bridge over the Saugatuck River, would wave from late April until Thanksgiving.

The only exception was United Nations Day in October, or jUNe Day, celebrated this past weekend and every third Saturday in June, when the flags of U.N. member states flew.

But now, due to municipal budget cuts and the Department of Public Works need to slash expenses,  the flags will go up on major holidays only and come down shortly afterwards, says Stephen Edwards, public works director. 

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 83 Turkey Hill Road South

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An application is in process to acquire a permit to demolish the house at 83 Turkey Hill Road South in Westport’s Greens Farms area near Greens Farms Road. Built in 1883, the 1 3/4-story conventional-style house has 1,340 square feet and is situated on a one-acre property. Because it was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Metro-North Adds Extra Trains for 4th of July Weekend

Metro-North has announced extra trains on its New Haven Line for the 4th of July weekend, beginning with service outbound on Friday from Grand Central Terminal.

Extra trains stopping at Westport depart Grand Central at:

• 1 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Westport, and all stations between Fairfield and New Haven.

• 2:04 p.m., stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Westport then all stations between Fairfield and New Haven. 

Gubernatorial Contenders Spar on Jobs, Roads, Taxes

By Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

Let it not be said that Connecticut Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on anything.

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It took about five minutes for the three Republicans and two Democrats running for governor to agree during Tuesday’s debate that Connecticut is a poor place in which to do business.

And about the only thing harder than trying to grow a business in the state, they further agreed, was trying to drive in it.

What the five major party candidates who squared off at the Stamford Plaza Hotel couldn’t find consensus on was the role tax increases should play in resolving the largest budget deficit in state history.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


8:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – Planning & Zoning Excavation & Fill Subcommittee
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “The Kids’ Wall” 10th Anniversary
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – Solos 2010
10 a.m. – 8 p.m. – Westport Country Playhouse – Doncaster Shopping Event benefit for WCP
7 p.m. – Levitt Pavilion – The Half Family
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Board of Finance Audit Subcommittee

See more events:  Celebrate Westport Calendar

Sunday Farmers’ Market Changes Hours

Citing the requests from both customers and vendors, the Sunday Westport Farmer’s Market at Saugatuck Congregational Church has been moved to an earlier start time—10 a.m.—and ending earlier at 1 p.m, organizers announced today.

The hours had been 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“This gives everyone an earlier start time to stock up on fresh Connecticut-grown or processed market goods,” said Mary Ann West, a church official, in a news release.

She said the market visitors can choose from a wide variety of produce, gluten-free and vegan cupcakes, fresh eggs, flowers, pies and baked goods, maple syrup, grass-fed organic beef, and bacon and sausage, each from Connecticut vendors.

Leopards Are Majors Softball Champions

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The Leopards became Westport Little League Majors Softball Champions on June 12 with a 10-7 victory over the Jaguars. The game was played under the lights at Greens Farms Field. Pictured are (front, l-r) Emily Wolfe, Hannah DeBalsi, Quincy Stein, Jackie Ortega, Olivia Wiener, Maddie Bernstein, Sarah Mahoney and Sydney Robison. (back, l-r) Coach Jeff Mahoney, Coach Steve Ortega, Madeline Schemel, Asst. Coach Philip Quagliariello, Sarah Quagliariello. Not pictured:  Tessa Mall and Emily Greenberg. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo