Branford’s $112M Town-School Budget Arrives at RTM

by Marcia Chambers & Sally E. Bahner | Apr 11, 2018 8:52 am

Sally E. Bahner PhotoA $112M town-school budget approved by the Board of Finance (pictured) formally heads to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight with a tiny mill rate increase, following the pattern of a number of shoreline communities this year.

The RTM will examine the RTM budget as it seeks to find additional ways to decrease it. The formal process begins at the RTM meeting tonight at Fire Headquarters at 8 p.m. But the RTM “cannot increase it,” Joseph Mooney, chair of the BOF, said late last month when the BOF unanimously adopted it. Under state law, the BOF consists of three Democrats and three Republicans. At this point, the mill rate would increase a smidgen from 28.47 mills to 28.67 mills over the previous rate. But it might go lower.

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P&Z Approves New Deadlines for PDD’s

by Diana Stricker | Mar 19, 2018 7:49 am

File Photo“It effectively resets the clock,” said Town Planner Harry Smith after the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission voted 4-1 Thursday to approve zoning regulation changes for Planned Development Districts (PDDs).

The time limit change was requested by developers Charles E. Weber Jr. and Al Secondino, whose property is part of the 44-acre PDD at Exit 56. The proposed commercial complex includes seven retail buildings and it also included Costco before the retailer withdrew in 2017.

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Will the Community House/Senior Center Be Delayed?

by Sally E. Bahner | Mar 2, 2018 9:00 am

Bill O'Brien PhotoThe Public Building Commission this week grappled with the possibility of a later completion of the Community House/Senior Center due to a delay in the fabrication and delivery of structural steel. It’s a delay that shines a light on the logistics of the town handling two major construction projects at one time.

Sally E. Bahner PhotoOne project centers on the $12.1 million Community Center and the other on the $88.2 million renovation of the Walsh Intermediate School.  The topic was raised at the most recent Building Commission meeting held at Fire Headquarters.

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Exit 56 Developers Want More Time to Submit Plans

by Diana Stricker | Feb 19, 2018 9:16 am

Diana Stricker PhotoThe owners of property at Exit 56 are trying to change zoning regulations that would affect the proposed 44-acre retail complex at Exit 56, which once included Costco and may again center on a big box store. The changes would allow developers more time to gain site-plan approval for any Planned Development District (PDD).

Chuck Andres (see top photo), who chairs the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission, said regulations were amended in 2011 to provide a deadline because previous PDDs were not being developed. “So we wanted some timeframe to get it done so it’s not left lingering,” Andres said at Thursday’s meeting.  “If you get the benefit of a PDD, which is not your standard zoning, which is something special …. we want you to move forward.”

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A School Budget Without Dollars

by Sally E. Bahner | Feb 17, 2018 9:29 am | Comments (1)

Sally E. Bahner Photo .Schools Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez gave his FY19 Budget Presentation Wednesday night with the theme “Responsiveness.” Hernandez typically provides themes to his presentations, which, in the past, have included “Sustainability,” “Synergy,” and “Coherence.”

The PowerPoint presentation included various priorities, projected average class sizes and grade level counts, anticipated accomplishments, major “drivers” (salaries, benefits, etc.) as a percentage of the proposed budget, a list of previously requested increases (in percentages), enrollment numbers, numbers and percentages concerning students eligible for free and reduced meals and the English Language Learning population, and graphs concerning “critical data.”

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Are You a Gold Star Parent or Spouse?

by Staff | Jan 20, 2018 9:51 am

Republican RTM Majority leader Ray Ingraham is asking the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) to adopt an ordinance that would give a property tax break to those Gold Star parents and spouses whose military family member was killed during military operations.

Towns and cities in Connecticut have the option to adopt such a law though they are not required to do so by a recent state law that took effect in October 2017. The state law provides a “municipal option property tax exemption for gold state parents and spouses.”

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Wreaths Across America Makes for ‘Branford Proud’

by Bill O'Brien | Dec 16, 2017 8:55 am

Bill O'Bien PhotoDespite the inclement weather on Tuesday, many Branford residents came out to support the Wreaths Across America convoy as it passed through town on its journey from Harrington, Maine, to Arlington National Cemetery.

Bill O'Brien PhotoThe convoy was led by Medal of Honor recipient Roger Donlon and his wife Norma. He serves as the Grand Marshal of this year’s convoy to Arlington. Col. Donlon was the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War.

“We were overwhelmed and very proud when we pulled off Exit 55,” said Dottie Packer. She and her longtime friend and neighbor Pam Bold organized the stop in their home town. Packer is a retired Lieutenant Commander US Navy Nurse Corps, and Bold is a retired Chief Petty Officer, U.S Coast Guard.

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Foote Park Trail Named for Tiskus Father and Son

by Bill O'Brien | Dec 12, 2017 8:59 am | Comments (3)

Bill O'Brien PhotoThe end of an era was recognized recently with the unveiling of “Joe Tiskus Way,” a trail dedicated to a father and son who served almost half a century as park managers at Foote Park. 

The late Wallace H. Foote established “The Foote Family Charitable Trust” in 1966 and instructed the trustees “to purchase real estate to be used for parks and recreation for the benefits only of the inhabitants of the Town of Branford and their guests.”  The 44.6 acre site was acquired and the park was opened in 1970 with Joe Tiskus, Sr. hired as the first manager.

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Branford Prepares for Next Natural Disasters

by Diana Stricker | Dec 9, 2017 10:24 am

Diana Stricker PhotoIt’s time to update the regional Hazard Mitigation Plan that has already succeeded in bringing federal dollars to Branford projects, particularly Linden Avenue.

Town Engineer Janice Plaziak discussed the process with the Board of Selectmen (BOS) at their meeting Wednesday evening. One of the first steps to update the plan is for Branford residents to complete an online survey that’s on the town’s web site.

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Representative Town Meeting Begins New Term

by marcia chambers | Nov 22, 2017 10:20 am

Marcia Chambers PhotoTwelve hours after he was sworn in as the town’s first selectman, Jamie Cosgrove presided over the town’s newly elected Representative Town Meeting (RTM). As required, he took their attendance, witnessed their swearing-in, oversaw the appointment of the RTM’s top officers and welcomed the town’s legislative body to its new term. 

The voters who gave Cosgrove a resounding victory over Democrat Lynda Mollow did so as well for the RTM. While the Democrats picked up one RTM seat, the Republicans won an 18-12 majority. Since 2013, the R’s have held a majority on the RTM.

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