Washington – Saying that more than 18,000 Connecticut homeowners will be socked with soaring flood insurance premiums, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Rosa DeLauro are pressing the House of Representatives to pass a bill that would stop those increases.
“Tens of thousands of families are suffering from the uncertainty of not knowing whether they will be able to pay their flood insurance premiums,” DeLauro said.
Flanked by New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and Milford Mayor Ben Blake, the lawmakers held a news conference today in Stratford with Connecticut residents who want to sell their homes but say flood insurance premium increases are scaring prospective buyers away.
Premium increases in the federal flood insurance program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are the result of a bill approved by Congress in 2012. The legislation, known as the Biggert-Waters Act, aimed at making the program—hard hit by Hurricane Katrina claims—solvent. The flood insurance program went further into the red after Hurricane Sandy, which led to nearly $10 billion in claims. The program is now $24 billion in debt.
The Westport Assessor’s Office and the Human Services Department are now taking applications for the state and local tax relief programs.
The local programs are open to homeowners who are totally disabled or who have reached the age of 65 by the date of application. For state programs, homeowners must have reached the age of 65 by Dec. 31, 2013.
Qualified applicants for the state program are citizens who own their own homes or hold a life- use title to their home, have resided in Connecticut for one year prior to filing application, and whose qualifying income does not exceed $34,100 for single, or $41,600 for married couples.
Westport’s local program provides qualified homeowners either a tax credit with a maximum income level of $55,000 and/or a tax deferral with a maximum income level of $75,000. Qualified homeowners with incomes of $75,000-$100,000 are able to defer tax increase from the previous year only.
The house at Westport’s 9 Harding Lane, off Hillspoint Road, was demolished Thursday. Built in 1960, the two-story colonial had 2,692 square feet, was situated on a 1.05-acre property and changed ownership in October 2013 at $1,237,000. It was the WestportNow Teardown of the Day on Sept. 20, 2103. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Westport award-winning pianist Dalia Lazar will help honor the Town of Fairfield’s 375th anniversary with a free concert Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Pequot Library in Southport. The concert also helps mark the year-long 125th anniversary celebration of the Pequot Library. The classical music program includes works by Beethoven, Schumann, and Rachmaninov. Born in Croatia, Lazar began studying piano at an early age. She has performed a broad repertoire as a soloist in concerts and recitals worldwide, including the United States, Russia, Venezuela, Israel, Switzerland, Croatia, Mexico and Romania. The concert is presented by the Lazar Foundation for the Performing Arts.Contributed photo
A motorist whose car stalled today just before the busy intersection of Westport’s Myrtle Avenue and Post Road East got some help from Westport police officers in getting off to the side of the road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
A two-vehicle accident today in the southbound lane of I-95 just prior to the Hillspoint Road overpass in Westport sent the driver of a pick-up truck to Norwalk Hospital. A passenger in the truck was not injured and was able to drive the vehicle from the scene. One lane was closed to traffic for about half an hour during the morning rush hour. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Despite the cold and snow, more and more robins are being spotted in Westport, perhaps meaning an early spring. This one was found in a cedar tree on Kings Highway North. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Molesworth for WestportNow.com
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – “On the Wire: Veiled Rebellion” by Lynsey Addario 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport” & “Can’t Tell a Book by its Cover … “ 10 a.m. – Westport Library – Maker-in-Residence Gar Waterman: Designing & Building a Mobile Office 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. – Westport Library – Drop-in Tech Help 6 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – ArtCafé Happy Hour: Westport author Suzanne Krauss discusses her book “To Vegas and Back” 8 p.m. – MTC MainStage Studio Theatre (246 Post Road East) – “God of Carnage” 8 p.m. – Town Hall – Westport Community Theatre: “The Crucible”
Westport’s Board of Education in a special meeting tonight voted unanimously to set aside $240,000 taken from its $104 million operating budget to help offset a more than $1.9 million health insurance shortfall this year due to unexpected large claims.
The vote followed more than three hours of discussions on another matter—ways to trim Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon’s proposed $110.8 million 2014-15 operating budget, a 6.56 percent increase. The jump is due to the insurance shortfall plus new educational strategies, including the STEM (science, technology engineering and math) program.
“It’s a significant increase (6.5 percent), and we’re trying to be as responsible as we can, looking for areas where we can tighten our belts a bit,” said Elaine Whitney, school board chairwoman.
Whitney noted that if the health insurance shortfall had been figured into the current year’s budget, the adjusted increase for next year would be only be 4.8 percent.