With COVID-19 deaths rising to 34 in Ridgefield and the number of cases in town counted at 166, the town’s Department of Emergency Management update for Friday, May 1, also delves into economic news.

Governor Ned Lamont’s plans for allowing some businesses to re-open is discussed, as well as the two tax relief programs recently adopted by the Ridgefield Board of Selectmen.

The May 1 release from town Department of Emergency Management public information officer Gerri Lewis follows:

RIDGEFIELD, CT: May 1, 2020 PM:

  Health Director Ed Briggs reports that the number of cumulative positive COVID-19 tests to date is now at 166.

The total number of deaths is 34, all but two from nursing homes and assisted care facilities. These increased numbers may be a reflection of the state reporting software finally catching up.

  Those businesses that have applied for masks should check their email for details. Pick up will be on Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club.

  Governor Lamont issued his four-level plan of reopening businesses by May 20, which includes restaurants for outdoor dining only, retail, offices with the recommendation that those who can work at home continue to do so, personal services, museums, zoos for outdoor only, additional recreation and university research programs.

The plan is based on certain criteria being met including: a 14-day decline in hospitalizations, increasing testing available, sufficient contact tracing capacity, protection of high-risk populations, adequate healthcare capacity, adequate supply of PPE and appropriate physical distancing regulations.

  The Town of Ridgefield will provide a Tax Deferral Program to Ridgefield taxpayers under Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7S issued on April 1, 2020, and Executive Order 7W issued on April 9, 2020, and approved by the Board of Selectman (BOS) on April 22, 2020.

The Tax Deferral Program is available by application, with documentation of proof of residency and loss of income, submitted to the Tax Collector by email no later than May 15, 2020, for the April tax quarter; and no later than July 1, 2020, for the July tax quarter. The program is an extended grace period on tax payments for April 2020 and July 2020 tax bills, so that any payments made anytime within three months from each bill’s due dates will not incur interest charges or penalties.

If accepted into the program, the new last day to pay without penalty is July 1 for the April installment and October 1 for the July installment.

  The Low Interest Program is available to everyone. For April payments made during the quarter after May 1, the interest rate will be 0.25% per month or part thereof, down from the statutory 1.5% per month, for the months of April, May and June. For July installment, the same logic applies.

  For more information call (203) 431-2779 or taxoffice@ridgefieldct.org and go to the town website at ridgefieldct.org. Click on the red banner for emergency updates and go to Town of Ridgefield COVID-19 Relief Program.

  The Annual Town Budget Meeting (May 4, 2020) and the Budget Referendum are canceled due to the COVID19 pandemic. Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7I gives the Board of Selectmen the authority to permit the “budget making authority” of the Town—the Board of Finance (BOF)—to adopt a budget for the July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 fiscal year and set a mill rate.

  Webinars of interest include one for residents and one for businesses from the state’s public utilities:

Taking Action on Behalf of CT’s Residents: Public Utility Companies’ Response to COVID-19, will take place on May 5 at 10 a.m.

Taking Action on Behalf of CT’s Businesses: Public Utility Companies’ Response to COVID-19, will take place on May 5 at 1 p.m.

Interested parties are encouraged to pre-register for the webinars by visiting: https://portal.ct.gov/PURA.

  Residents are asked to continue social distancing, wearing masks and sanitizing.

Stay home, stay safe, stay healthy.