Over $2 million in road work is part of town’s budget plans

“We have a wish list, and we have a list of roads we’re going to be paving,” Public Works Director Peter Hill told the selectmen. Repaving work on some 25 roads is planned as part of $148-million proposed town and school budget for 2019-20. The budget proposals are working their way through review and amendment by town boards — the … read more

Highway department navigates job cuts

A road crew from the town highway department was out on East Ridge filling potholes with cold patch on Monday. From left are Robert Sommerer, Jim Fortin and Evo Falcinelli. —Macklin Reid photo

Two job cuts saving $141,000 would lead to a nearly 7% decline in highway department spending in the $2.8 million proposed 2019-20 budget for the coming fiscal year. But the Board of Selectmen agreed to consider adding a position to the department’s crew of driver-laborers.  “Let’s talk about it, see what we can do, get creative,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi … read more

Anyone for tennis? Parks and Recreation Commission proposes $4.7-million budget

From pickleball prices and parking plans to staffing shuffles, ramped-up recycling and some 700 acres of grass to be mowed, a wide-ranging discussion framed the Parks and Recreation Commission’s presentation to the selectmen on a $4,736,000 budget proposal that represents a less than 1% increase — up $18,600, or 0.39% — for 2019-20. This request is part of a more … read more

Sheep will return to Ridgebury pasture

Sheep, maybe some goats and llamas, will continue to spend warm weather months in a town-owned pasture off Ridgebury Road. “I’ll bring the sheep back in May, if April is warm enough,” Whitney Freeman, owner of Henny Penny Farm in Ridgebury, told the Board of Selectmen. The farm animals are popular with local residents and people passing through. “People who … read more

Ridgefield Playhouse gets lease expansion

A 20-year lease renting the Ridgefield Playhouse — the auditorium it has filled with music, movies and shows for close to two decades, as well as additional space in the town-owned Venus Building on East Ridge — has been approved by the selectmen. “I started at the Playhouse 18 years ago, believe it or not,” Playhouse executive director Allison Stockel … read more

Closing in on a zero increase: Marconi trims town departments’ spending

There’s a zero percent increase, and there’s a zero increase. The selectmen started their budget work Monday looking at a $38-million budget proposal for town departments and road work next year that would amount to a 0.58%. Getting it down to 0.00% would mean finding about $223,000 in cuts — in a budget proposal where jobs have already been reduced … read more

School repairs spark debate

Sometimes snippy exchanges gave way to a more collaborative mood as the selectmen and a trio of school board members talked their way through a long and costly-looking list of needed repairs to school buildings and grounds. “Coleytown Middle School in Westport is a good warning to us here,” said Doug Silver, referring to a mold-plagued building that’s been making … read more

Selectmen agree on senior tax break

Settling on one of the three senior tax breaks suggested to them, the selectmen agreed to propose to voters that the upper income limit for participation in the town’s senior tax deferment program be raised from $55,000 to $65,000 a year. Under the deferment program, qualifying seniors can live in their homes for years without paying annual tax bills from … read more

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