Ad book supports overtime costs for July 3 fireworks display
WEST HAVEN, June 12, 2018 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi has rolled out an ad book fundraising campaign to help cover overtime costs for the Savin Rock Fireworks Spectacular, which is set for 9:15 p.m. July 3.
Rossi said the ad book proceeds will specifically pay for police and public works overtime during the annual fireworks display, which is launched off Bradley Point and presented by the Savin Rock Fireworks Committee.
“Your support of this ad book will directly impact the overtime costs that come along with the city holding the fireworks,” Rossi said.
Ad book forms are available in the mayor’s office at City Hall, 355 Main St., or download a form at July 3 Fireworks.
Four ad sizes are offered: $45 for a business card, $75 for a quarter page, $100 for a half page and $185 for a full page. Checks are payable to City of West Haven.
Send ads by June 29 to the Office of the Mayor, 355 Main St., West Haven, CT 06516. Or, send a business card, letterhead or other information to the mayor’s office, and the office can create an ad. Send PDF files to email@example.com.
Corporate sponsorships are also offered: $2,000 for red level, $1,000 for white level and $500 for blue level. For details, call the mayor’s office at 203-937-3510.
Rossi said the city will charge both residents and nonresidents for parking on July 3. The fee is $5 for vehicles with a valid beach sticker and $10 for vehicles without a valid beach sticker. All parking proceeds will also support overtime costs, she said.
The fireworks display, billed as “the region’s largest Independence Day fireworks show,” draws an estimated 100,000 people of all ages to the city’s 3 ½-mile shoreline each year. The rain date is July 5.
Before the patriotic event, partygoers can shake, rattle and roll to Off the Hook, “Connecticut’s premier party band,” at the Savin Rock bandstand from 6:30-9 p.m.
Rossi presents 5-year recovery plan to state MARB panel
WEST HAVEN, June 12, 2018 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi presented a draft of the city’s five-year recovery plan to the state Municipal Accountability Review Board on Thursday in Hartford.
The draft plan, which accounts for the city, Water Pollution Control Plant and City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown, has not been approved by the MARB or the City Council and is the “worst-case scenario,” Rossi said.
The draft plan includes a request from West Haven to apply for $8 million in state restructuring funding for the city’s fiscal year 2018 budget and the amounts outlined in its five-year recovery plan.
According to Rossi’s letter to the MARB introducing the draft plan, the city will reduce its reliance on state funding through government reorganization, economic development and budget reform. The five-year plan is balanced with the reliance on state restructuring money gradually decreasing.
Rossi said that although the draft plan includes additional tax increases for the years after 2019, the increases are assumptions that will be modified to include economic development and operating efficiencies, as well as a new health care plan for city employees.
“The five-year draft plan is a work in progress,” Rossi said. “Nothing has been set in stone, and everything possible will be done to lower or eliminate the tax increases.”
The city has been dealing with a deficit since 2006, when the audit was restated and a multimillion-dollar surplus in the general fund turned into a multimillion-dollar deficit.
Since 2013, however, the deficit has gone into a “downward spiral” from a $7.8 million general fund deficit to an $18.1 million deficit as of June 30, 2017.
According to Rossi’s letter, a deficit bonding package was executed in November 2017, before she took office, with the promise of a balanced budget. The soon-to-be-released audit, however, will show a $1.4 million deficit for the year that ended June 30, 2017, leaving the city with an executed, one-time deficit bonding package with a $1.4 million deficit that needs to be addressed.
The city’s existing health care plan has also contributed to the deficit.
“We will work together with a consultant and our unions to make an informed decision regarding a new path for a health care plan that will be a good plan for our employees but also cost effective for our taxpayers,” Rossi said.
Currently with inflation, Rossi said the health care line item will increase over five years to nearly $4 million, an increase of 8.4 percent per year.
At Rossi’s meeting with the MARB, Chairman Benjamin Barnes said, “I would only add that if there was one area in the city of West Haven’s budget that you could quickly identify as being a source of budget problems over the years, it has been their health insurance costs.”
Barnes later added, “Health care for active and retired employees has bedeviled West Haven, and so the significant progress on that is heartening and appropriate.”
The five-year draft plan includes $1.75 million for deficit reduction, per the MARB resolution, in the fiscal 2017 budget.
During the MARB meeting, board member Thomas Hamilton said: “I was previously chair of the Municipal Finance Advisory Commission, which West Haven has a long history with the state of Connecticut and has a long history, unfortunately, of having difficult financial operations.
“West Haven had carried an operating budget deficit of some, roughly $15 million for more than 10 years, despite a state law that said you have to extinguish any deficit over the next fiscal year and despite repeated — sort of — admonitions from the commission that I was on, which again is the Municipal Finance Advisory Commission. I put the emphasis on ‘advisory’ because the powers of that commission are rather limited, and so the commission could make recommendations but could not compel change in the way that West Haven put its budgets together. So there is some history here that does give me pause for concern. With that said, I think we have absolutely seen good faith from the mayor here and from her new finance person that she’s brought in.”
Hamilton, who was West Haven’s finance director from the early to mid-1990s, later added: “Frankly, part of the problem in the past — in my view — has been just some lack of political will to make tough decisions. If the city is willing to make some tough decisions on the spending side of the budget as well as willing to make some tough decisions in terms of being willing to adjust the mill rate as necessary to maintain a balanced budget, then I think West Haven can get to where they need to get to.”
Barnes concurred with Hamilton, saying: “I’ve been at those subcommittee (meetings). I agree with Tom.”
View the Draft Five-Year Recovery Plan.
Watch Thursday’s meeting of the MARB at http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ctnplayer.asp?odID=15366.
Tax bills payable in 2 installments
WEST HAVEN, June 12, 2018 — City tax bills — real estate, personal property, motor vehicle and sewer — have been mailed and are payable in two installments: July and January.
Each tax bill, which is sent out once a year, has three parts: a payment coupon for July, payment coupon for January and payment coupon for taxpayers’ records.
Taxes are due July 1. Payments after Aug. 1 are considered delinquent and subject to interest, Tax Collector Dorothy Chambrelli said.
The tax office is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays on the first floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.
For the convenience of taxpayers, the city has an ATM outside the office.
Please note that City Hall is closed for business June 29, a furlough day for city employees.
Taxpayers can see their tax bills, make a payment, and print their payment history for income tax purposes at Tax Collector. Sewer bills are on the same page but under a separate heading.
In July and January only, current taxes can be paid by mail to a tax office lockbox, P.O. Box 150461, Hartford, CT 06115-0461. When paying by lockbox or the drop box outside the tax office in City Hall, the canceled check is the receipt.
After Aug. 1, taxes with interest can be paid by mail to the Office of the Tax Collector, P.O. Box 401, West Haven, CT 06516. Payments can also be made in person.
Anyone needing a motor vehicle clearance must pay in person with cash, credit card, bank check or money order.
City Hall, municipal buildings closed June 29 for furlough day
WEST HAVEN, June 12, 2018 — Working with the unions that represent city employees, police, Allingtown firefighters and wastewater treatment workers, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi has instituted a furlough day for all union and nonunion personnel, including the mayor and her staff, on June 29.
The furlough day means that City Hall and other municipal buildings are closed for business June 29. All affected buildings will reopen July 2.
As a labor cost-cutting measure, all union and nonunion employees of the city, Police Department, City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown and Water Pollution Control Plant will give up a day’s pay, Rossi said.
The one-day move will save the city $73,000, she said.
Only employees of the city and non-sworn employees of the police and fire departments will not report to work, Rossi said.
Members of the Police Department, Allingtown fire department and wastewater treatment plant — departments that operate 24/7 — will give up a day’s pay instead of the furlough day, she said.
Rossi pointed out that the city’s two independent fire districts, the West Haven and West Shore fire departments, are not affected by the furlough day. The West Haven Fire Department serves the First Fire Taxation District, also known as the Center District.
The Board of Education is also not affected by the day, but it will close for business because board offices are in City Hall.
The city’s three public libraries are not affected as well.
Rossi said the furlough day of June 29 was discussed with union stewards and Personnel Director Beth A. Sabo.
“I appreciate the financial sacrifice our employees are making,” Rossi said. “I know this is not easy for anyone, but I also know our taxpayers expect everyone to share the burden of budget cuts.”
The mayor is informing residents ahead of the furlough day to give them ample time to plan accordingly.
The furlough day will affect the following city programs and services:
- Senior activities, including the senior fitness class at 9:30 a.m., and the senior shuttle service are suspended.
- The West Haven Child Development Center, based in the Robert A. Johnson Community Center at 201 Noble St., is closed.
- The compost site and all public restrooms, including those at the beach, are closed.
- Day camp programs are suspended: Jr. C.I.T., Painter Park; Summer Camp, Painter Park; Jr. Day Camp, Mackrille Elementary School; and Tiny-Tot Camp, Pagels Elementary School. Refunds will be given.
- Aquatic programs at the West Haven High School pool are suspended: Sunrise Swim, 6:15 a.m.; Aqua Zumba, 7:15 a.m.; Afternoon Swim/Laps, noon; and Public Swim, 7:30 p.m. Refunds will be given.
- Beach lifeguard service and athletic field maintenance are suspended.
Register for tai chi, yoga classes
WEST HAVEN, June 12, 2018 — The Department of Parks and Recreation is registering residents and nonresidents 16 and older for six-week tai chi and yoga programs.
Tai chi classes, instructed by Jonathan Davis, meet 1-2 p.m. Tuesdays, July 10-Aug. 14, at the Johnson Community Center, 201 Noble St., and 6-7 p.m. Thursdays, July 12-Aug. 16, at the bandstand on the Green. Bring a portable chair.
The fee is $50 for residents and $55 for nonresidents.
Yoga classes, instructed by Mary Beth Colleran, meet 6-7 p.m. Tuesdays, June 19-July 31, at the Johnson Community Center and 6:50-7:50 a.m. Thursdays, June 21-July 26, behind the Savin Rock Conference Center, 6 Rock St.
The fee is $48 for residents and $58 for nonresidents.
The programs are for participants of all levels. Register at the department’s Painter Park office, 190 Kelsey Ave., or at www.whparkrec.com.
(Contributed Photo/Audubon Connecticut)
Audubon CT launches program to protect species of concern
WEST HAVEN, June 12, 2018 — Beginning this summer, sharp-eyed bird-watchers in Connecticut will start noticing something new about the state’s treasured American Oystercatchers (AMOY) — yellow leg bands.
The birds aren’t making a fashion statement, this bling is part of Audubon Connecticut’s American Oystercatcher Banding Program, an exciting effort designed to help protect the species of conservation concern across the state and throughout the Atlantic Flyway.
The city is participating in the project at the Sandy Point Beach & Bird Sanctuary.
Read the official Audubon Connecticut news release at Banding Program.
West Haven residents reminded to renew dog licenses by June 30
WEST HAVEN, June 5, 2018 — As part of Dog Licensing Month, residents who own dogs must renew their licenses before the current ones expire June 30 or face a $1 monthly fine, City Clerk Deborah Collins said.
State law requires dog owners to submit a current rabies vaccination certificate when applying for the new dog tags. Expired certificates are not accepted.
The fee for the two licenses, which are available in the city clerk’s office at City Hall, 355 Main St., is $8 for neutered or spayed dogs and $19 for other dogs.
Failure to renew a license can result in a $75 fine.
Residents can also send vaccination records and checks in a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the city clerk’s office, P.O. Box 526, West Haven 06516.
Also, in conjunction with Dog Licensing Month, the city clerk’s office will hold its first Dog Contest.
Residents who license their dogs before June 30 will have their canines entered in the contest. The office will draw a winner in early July, and the winning dog will receive a gift basket and have its photo published in local newspapers.
Savin Rock Museum open
WEST HAVEN, May 31, 2018 — The Savin Rock Museum, which chronicles West Haven’s 370-year history, is open to the public for the season.
The museum is in the lower level of the Savin Rock Conference Center, 6 Rock St., and is open 1-4 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through Aug. 30.
Admission is $4, or $2 for adults 60 and older and children under 12.
The museum displays artifacts from the old Savin Rock amusement park and its fire service, Engine & Hose Company 1, as well as Colonial pieces.
It also has a theater and learning center with exhibits, events and notable city figures, including 1933 Miss America Marian Bergeron and World War II Medal of Honor recipient William A. Soderman.
The gift shop sells official Savin Rock memorabilia; call museum volunteer Norma Kahl at 203-934-7234 to arrange a private tour for 10 or more. For information, call the same number and leave a message.
Digital copy of The Haven site plan available for public review
WEST HAVEN, May 31, 2018 — A digital copy of the site plan for The Haven development is available for public review.
View the Site Plan.
West Haven/Allingtown Senior Center schedules summer party
WEST HAVEN, May 31, 2018 — The West Haven/Allingtown Senior Center is holding a “Welcome to Summer” party from noon-3 p.m. June 19 at the Savin Rock Conference Center, 6 Rock St., with entertainment by Ashly Cruz.
Catered by Cusano’s Catering by Maria, the buffet menu includes chicken Parmesan, ziti, salad, bread and dessert.
Coffee, soda and wine are also included.
The cost is $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers.
For reservations, call the senior center at 203-937-3507.
Simon and The Haven Group LLC commence entitlement process for The Haven luxury outlet center
WEST HAVEN, May 31, 2018 — Simon Property Group and The Haven Group LLC applied on May 21 for site plan approval before the Department of Planning and Development at City Hall, the first entitlement step toward building The Haven, a 235,000-square-foot luxury outlet center.
Read the official news release at Simon.
View a Rendering of The Haven development provided by Simon Property Group.