After a series of line item approvals and minor adjustments, Westport’s Board of Finance tonight voted 5 to 2 approving First Selectman Gordon Joseloff’s $73.48 million budget for 2012-13.
“I’m very proud of this budget,” said Finance Board Chairman Avi Kaner. “It’s a very good budget. “
Kaner, a Republican, also expressed his dissatisfaction with the two of the three Democrats, Helen Garten and Brian Stern, who voted against the total budget after approving the budgets for each town department.
“I’m disappointed you’re voting against this as all votes leading up to this were unanimous (in approval),” he said. “To vote against, I don’t think that’s a good thing to do.”
Second graders from Westport’s Long Lots Elementary School traveled to Greenwich today to visit the Bruce Museum to see the exhibit “Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos and Toys in the Attic” only to get a surprise visit from Wick himself. The retrospective spotlights the playful and interactive world of Wick, best-selling author and artist-creator of the “Can You See What I See?” series and co-creator, with writer Jean Marzollo, of the “I Spy” books for children. Approximately 40 large-scale color photographs from his books, as well as several of the models used to craft the images are on view. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
The U.S. Senate campaign of Linda McMahon is stepping up criticism of former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, including his hiring of the Westport Republican Town Committee chair, a tacit acknowledgement of the bounce that her rival for the GOP nomination is getting from a poll showing him in a tie with leading Democrats.
Shays is trying to turn the Republican primary into a test of electability in November, a message that some GOP leaders say is resonating with a party that holds no statewide or federal office in Connecticut.
“The winning candidate will have to demonstrate electability by any means possible,” said Jerry Labriola, the new Republican state chairman, who is publicly neutral in the race.
There is the sense that a door could be shutting on the GOP in Connecticut for a long time if McMahon or Shays cannot exploit the opportunity presented by the retirement of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman after 24 years in Washington.
Westport teen Alye Pollack who received national attention a year ago with her YouTube video complaning of bullying at Bedford Middle School (See WestportNow March 25, 2011 has posted a one year update in which she uses the same silent written poster technique. Now 14 and in high school, she says the bullying has stopped, urges bullying victims to get help, and sends a message of love. YouTube.com video
As international obituaries painted the legendary Hilton Kramer as a harsh, poison pen critic who could send shivers through the art world, even shutter galleries, one local artist recalled the former Westporter who died at 84 from heart failure in Maine Tuesday as “very kind and inspirational.”
Hilton Kramer: art critic lived in Westport 34 years. File photo
“Everybody has a different opinion of him, but we loved him,” said Ann Chernow who with her late husband Burt Chernow, an art historian, were close friends of Kramer and his wife Esta. “He was very different from what people thought of him as a critic, and he was always very kind to us.”
Kramer has been described as a no nonsense, acerbic critic who embraced modernism while deriding postmodernism, pop art and conceptual art during his tenure at The New York Times from 1965 to 1982.
According to The Times, he once called postmodernism “a revolt against the basic traditions of Western civilization.”
The House and Senate voted unanimously today to adopt a circuit-breaker measure that would freeze state fuel taxes for the next 15 months, giving some protection to consumers who pay the nation’s highest gasoline taxes and some election-year cover to state legislators.
But majority Democrats in both chambers also rejected Republican amendments to cancel a gas tax hike slated to take effect in July 2013. While the circuit-breaker will shave about 1.4 cents off the state’s fuel tax burden, the next tax hike would add almost 4 cents per gallon.
The House of Representatives voted 146-0 to adopt the circuit-breaker measure following a one-hour debate that ended shortly before 5:20 p.m. The measure, which cleared the Senate on a 36-0 vote, now heads to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is expected to sign it.
“The governor is obviously concerned about the rising cost of gas and its impact on Connecticut residents and businesses,” Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba said. ” … This proposal may be somewhat helpful in that it could potentially slow the increase of gas prices , and so the governor is supportive. That said, we need to be realistic about the limitations of what this legislation will achieve. What we really need are state and national policies that move us toward energy independence.”
UPDATE A Westport engine company provided backup coverage in Norwalk today as all on-duty Norwalk firefighters battled a blaze a LaJoie’s Auto Parts and scrap metal yard on Meadow Street. Heavy smoke could be seen over the city when the blaze broke out at about 2 p.m. The fire was declared under control shortly after 3 p.m. View is from 50 Washington St. Meanwhile, Weston firefighters were battling a blaze at 6 Woods End Lane in northern Weston. The fire heavily damaged a home assessed at $1.175 million. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lauren Siegert for WestportNow.com
The building at Westport’s 100 Post Road East was demolished today. Built in 1960 by Westport Bank & Trust Co., the one-story bank drive-in had 474 square feet and was situated on a .42-acre property. Town records show that Lafayette American Bank, which took over the property from Westport Bank & Trust Co., occupied it from 1997 to 1999, then Hudson United from 1999 to 2006, then TDBankNorth from 2006 to 2010 when it was purchased by its present owner. Although the structure was built more than 50 years ago, the application did not require review by the Westport Historic District Commission because it is under 500 square feet. It will be replaced with a 4,200-square-foot commercial building (see WestportNow March 20, 2012). It was the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on Aug. 19, 2011. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Westport’s Board of Finance spent more than four-and-a-half hours Tuesday night voting on most of First Selectman Gordon Joseloff’s proposed $73.9 million municipal budget, letting most of the departments’ proposed budgets stand with minor adjustments.
Police Chief Dale Call addresses the Board of Finance Tuesday night. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Hardest hit was the Westport Transit District which had $113,753 slashed from its $248,000 request by a unanimous vote because of increased costs and low usage.
One of the evening’s most dramatic discussions came at the the beginning when finance board member Brian Stern said he would not vote for the proposed $5.2 million general government budget unless there were “structural changes” combining different departments.
Stern suggested combining the tax collector and tax assessor offices and eliminating a clerk’s position for $62,500. He also suggested saving the same amount by joining the Planning and Zoning and Conservation departments.