City Notes
Rossi announces another budget surplus

Rossi touts another budget surplus

WEST HAVEN, June 11, 2019 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi announced that the city will close fiscal year 2019, which ends June 30, with an estimated $3.5 million general fund operating budget surplus.

The surplus represents the second consecutive fiscal year with positive operating results. Fiscal 2018 ended with an audited $3.1 million surplus.

Both years include state restructuring grant funds, approved by the state Municipal Accountability Review Board, that gradually decrease and finally phase out after 2022.

The MARB originally approved $6 million in restructuring funds for fiscal 2020. The MARB recently reduced the $6 million to $4.1 million after the city documented a second year of positive operating results and the MARB determined that West Haven was ahead of its five-year plan objectives.

The projected surplus of $3.5 million will bring the city’s fund balance, or rainy day fund, to more than $5 million after closing out general fund deficits from previous years.

The other major city funds — the Allingtown Fire District and the sewer fund, which is operated by the Water Pollution Control Authority — are also projecting surpluses for the current year.

“The $3.5 million surplus is a direct result of higher-than-expected revenue of $1.3 million and expenditures coming in $2.2 million lower than budgeted,” Rossi said. “Higher tax collection rates and commercial building permit fees are driving the additional revenue, while departmental and overtime savings are bringing the expenditures in under budget.”

For fiscal 2020, which begins July 1, the city will implement additional efficiencies. Among them is a new health insurance plan, the state of Connecticut’s Heath Insurance Partnership Plan 2.0, for all city employees beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Board of Education employees will join the State Partnership Plan 2.0 on July 1, 2020.

The state plan will provide employees with better health coverage and will save the city about $4 million annually.

“It is important to note that this plan truly is an improvement for employees; it is not a high-deductible plan,” Rossi said. “I want to thank city and Board of Education employees, not only for their personal sacrifices but for working together to make our government operations more effective and less costly to our taxpayers.”

The mayor continued: “The city’s financial situation is improving. We are not out of the woods yet, and we still have a difficult period of recovery; but I can confidently say we are making the necessary decisions and are on the right path.”

Police announce ‘large-scale’ traffic plan for July 3 fireworks

‘Large-scale’ traffic plan announced for July 3 fireworks

WEST HAVEN, June 11, 2019 — In preparation for the annual Savin Rock Fireworks Spectacular on July 3, the Police Department is rolling out a comprehensive traffic management plan aimed at protecting the public.

The large-scale traffic plan will close many shoreline roads in the hours before the 9:15 p.m. fireworks display in an effort to protect pedestrians and allow for the safe passage of emergency vehicles.

The rain date is July 5.

Residents and nonresidents should take note that “No Parking” signs will be posted on both sides of Platt Avenue from Ocean Avenue to Randall’s Restaurant; Dyke Street from Captain Thomas Boulevard to Educational Way; Kelsey Avenue from Captain Thomas Boulevard to Graham Avenue; Ocean Avenue from South to Ivy streets; and the even side of all side streets off Ocean Avenue from South to Ivy streets.

Also, “No Parking” signs will be posted on the north side of Connecticut Avenue; the even side of all side streets off Ocean Avenue to Highland Avenue; the even side of Highland Avenue from Arlington to Linden streets; and the even side of all side streets off Beach Street to Thomas Street.

Police can tag and tow vehicles violating the traffic plan at the owner’s expense. Violators are also subject to a $100 fine.

All municipal beach parking lots will open at 9:15 a.m. July 3. Both residents and nonresidents will be charged for parking per entrance. The fee is $5 for vehicles with a valid beach sticker that is adhered to the windshield and $10 for vehicles without a valid beach sticker.

Metered parking in all beach lots will be suspended July 3. However, metered parking will be offered on Palace Street, a pay-for-parking site for both residents and nonresidents. Beach stickers are not valid on Palace Street.

Please be advised that at 6 p.m. July 3, the following road closures will be in effect: Ocean Avenue from South Street to Platt Avenue; Platt Avenue from Ocean Avenue to Educational Way; and Captain Thomas Boulevard from Platt Avenue to Rock Street.

Those who park in the South Street, Dawson Avenue or Sea Bluff beach lots during the day can stay for the fireworks, but they will have to keep their vehicles in the lots until the road is reopened at 11 p.m. Otherwise, they will have to leave the lots before 6 p.m. because of the road closure.

Residents and nonresidents should also take note that police will strictly enforce all beach regulations, which are posted at each access point along the shoreline, as well as the following restrictions:

  • All bags will be subject to search before entering the beach area.
  • No coolers or alcoholic beverages will be allowed on the beach.
  • No disorderly or obscene conduct will be tolerated.
  • No open fires or cooking will be allowed on the beach.

The July 3 fireworks display draws an estimated 100,000 people of all ages to the city’s 3 ½-mile shoreline each year.

Billed as “the region’s largest Independence Day fireworks show,” the display is launched off Bradley Point and presented by the Savin Rock Fireworks Committee.

Before the patriotic event, partygoers can dance the night away to rock ’n’ roll hits performed by The Navels at the Savin Rock bandstand from 6:30-9 p.m.

The pre-event festivities will also include a smorgasbord of food trucks dishing up eats and sweets at designated locations on the south side of Captain Thomas Boulevard and Ocean Avenue.

Dive Bar & Restaurant celebrates expansion at reopening

Dive Bar & Restaurant celebrates expansion at reopening

WEST HAVEN, June 11, 2019 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, center, cuts the ceremonial ribbon Saturday with Dive Bar & Restaurant owner Domenic Giannotti to celebrate the business’s grand reopening at 24 Ocean Ave.

Also marking the event are, from left, City Council Minority Leader Richard DePalma, R-at large; City Clerk Deborah Collins; Giannotti’s sister, Kyle; state Rep. Dorinda Borer, D-West Haven; Councilman Peter V. Massaro, D-6; and state Rep. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven.

Nestled in the Baybrook Shopping Center, just across the street from the beach, Dive recently expanded into space formerly occupied by Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard.

The 553-square-foot expansion includes more seating and bathroom space.

The bar and restaurant specializes in craft beer, burgers, wings, fondue, lobster rolls and fried pickles.

(City Photo/Ruth G. Torres)

Blue Horse bar, restaurant opens on Campbell Ave.

Blue Horse bar, restaurant opens on Campbell Ave.

WEST HAVEN, June 11, 2019 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, center, cuts the ribbon Friday with Blue Horse co-owner Tara Severino, white T-shirt, to mark the ceremonial opening of West Haven’s newest bar and restaurant at 703 Campbell Ave., formerly Spectator’s Sports Bar & Grill.

Joining the celebration are state Rep. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, third from right, and Councilman Mitchell L. Gallignano, D-4, fourth from right, as well as employees, family and friends.

The Blue Horse — christened in honor of the University of New Haven’s mascot, the Charger, a medieval war horse — is fittingly decorated in UNH blue and bedecked with seven flat-panel TVs, comfy couches, and special tables that patrons can draw on with markers. It is co-owned by Severino’s husband, Robert.

Located about a mile south of the UNH campus, the freshly remodeled bar and restaurant serves “award-winning wings and specialty burgers,” complemented by such tasty desserts as s’mores and fried Oreos.

Along with a happy hour buffet every Friday from 4-7 p.m., the Blue Horse offers live music, country line dancing, trivia and karaoke.

(Contributed Photo/Blue Horse)

Cleo Blue

Veterans groups sponsoring Cleo Blue concert Saturday on Green

WEST HAVEN, June 11, 2019 — The West Haven Veterans Council and West Haven Vietnam Veterans are sponsoring a free concert on the Green at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The two-hour concert features dance party favorites by Cleo Blue.

People are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs.

Fireworks ad book

Ad book supports overtime costs for Savin Rock Fireworks Spectacular

WEST HAVEN, June 11, 2019 — For the second year, 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 an ad book 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 Friday 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

Corporate sponsorships are also offered: $1,000 for red level, $750 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 display, partygoers can dance the night away to rock ’n’ roll hits performed by The Navels at the Savin Rock bandstand from 6:30-9 p.m.

Statement from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi

Statement from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi on shoreline initiatives

WEST HAVEN, June 7, 2019 — “The Beach Street project, which excludes the former Debonair Motel, is a complex construction project consisting of three phases. It is and has always been a top priority of my administration.

We received funding for phase one, the design and construction aspect, which is scheduled to begin this fall. The design for phase two is underway. Once phase one is complete, phases two and three can move forward. If the project proceeds as planned, our city engineer estimates the completion of phase one by July 2020.

In the meantime, I believe it is important to work on our other priorities, one of which is the renovation of the Savin Rock Conference Center.

After years of deferred maintenance, the building needs a new roof and other upgrades. Removing the interior walls to make one large banquet facility and adding a kitchen will make the facility more marketable. The SRCC can bring people and business to West Haven if it is renovated and managed properly. The SRCC will also bring a reliable, long-term revenue stream to the city, which given our financial condition is an important part of necessary structural change.

The future Center for the Arts continues to sit vacant in the center of West Haven.

I believe that converting the 107-year-old building into a performing arts center will further our goal of revitalizing our downtown. Downtown West Haven would benefit from the addition of commercial attractions supported by foot traffic, and I believe the arts center will be an important component of downtown revitalization as well as structural change.

While I understand the frustration created by vacant properties on Beach Street, our economic development commissioner has been in close contact with those property owners.

It is important to remember that these properties are privately owned. That said, we will continue to push for the properties’ proper maintenance, aggressive marketing and eventual development. We encourage the owners to find buyers who will invest in these commercial spaces and grow our grand list. All these efforts will benefit residents and visitors to our beautiful shorefront.

With regard to the vacant properties, I have taken a different approach than in the past. My administration communicates with the property owners and has offered to assist them as they work to sell or develop their properties and revitalize the Beach Street corridor. In keeping with our newly adopted Plan of Conservation and Development, we are mindful of the unique challenges of the Shoreline Residential Retail Design District but realize that a responsible redevelopment approach will result in grand list growth.

My administration has also made The Haven project a priority.

We sold Bayview Park, have worked with the developer to secure local approvals, and are now awaiting a certificate from the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Office of the State Traffic Administration to install turn lanes and widen Elm Street. It is taking longer than I would have liked, but once The Haven demolition begins, it will spur development along Beach Street and throughout our city.”


P&Z seeks input on village zoning concept for downtown

P&Z seeks input on village zoning concept for downtown West Haven

WEST HAVEN, June 7, 2019 — The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public meeting focusing on the center of West Haven and how the city can reach the goals of the recently adopted Plan of Conservation and Development by creating a new village district regulation.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. June 18 in the Harriet C. North Community Room on the second floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.

See the Public Meeting Invitation.

P&Z Chairwoman Kathleen Hendricks said the commission aims to attract a wide range of participants for the workshop in hopes of creating a dialogue among area businesses and property owners, neighborhood residents and community leaders.

According to Assistant City Planner David W. Killeen, the meeting will include a presentation highlighting components of the POCD vision for downtown West Haven, with a focus on elements of the new village district zoning concept under consideration by the commission. The area is roughly bounded by the railroad tracks, Washington Avenue, Atwater Street and Savin Avenue.

Elements of the concept include establishing design standards and an architectural review process for visible changes to buildings in the area; guiding new development in the central business district; protecting and improving the residential and business character of the area; performing an architectural review of proposed projects as part of the current zoning approval process; and discussing other ways to improve the business climate in the West Haven Center.

The workshop will include opportunities for participants to share their reactions and ideas. The commission will use the input in finalizing how the regulation is written, Hendricks said.

The concept for a village district in the downtown area was first envisioned in the POCD, which was adopted by the commission in June 2017.

See the POCD.

For more information, call the Department of Planning and Development at 203-937-3580.

First responders conduct armed intruder drill

First responders conduct armed intruder drill

WEST HAVEN, June 7, 2019 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, green jacket, joins first responders as they participate in an armed intruder drill at the former Thompson Elementary School, 165 Richards St., on Thursday.

The large-scale drill, conducted by the city’s Police Department and three fire departments as well as emergency medical service personnel, was held to prepare first responders for an armed intruder incident.

The five-hour drill was the culmination of six months of planning. More than 100 people participated, and many outside agencies attended.

(City Photo/Lou Esposito)

Armed intruder drill

Mayor Rossi pauses with officials of the West Haven Police Department, West Haven Fire Department, West Shore Fire Department and City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown. (City Photo/Lou Esposito)


Majestic Beauty & Beyond salon opens on Route 1

WEST HAVEN, June 5, 2019 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, center, and 5th District Councilwoman Robbin Watt Hamilton, third from left, cut the ceremonial ribbon April 28 with the owners of Majestic Beauty & Beyond to celebrate the salon’s grand opening at 912 Boston Post Road.

From left are Airess Walker, Razhana Wali, Ariyan Walker and Chaunte Walker.

The full-service beauty salon specializes in natural hair, color and silk press. It also offers eyelash extensions, has a makeup artist, and offers massages by a licensed massage therapist.

(City Photo/Ruth G. Torres)

Comedy Night
Dog license renewals due June 30

Dog license renewals due June 30

WEST HAVEN, June 7, 2019 — Residents who own dogs must renew their licenses from June 1-30 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, CT 06516.

In conjunction with Dog Licensing Month, the city clerk’s office will hold its second annual Dog Contest for residents who license their dogs before June 30. The office will draw a winner in early July, and the winning dog will receive a gift basket and a “No. 1” dog tag and have its photo published in local newspapers.


WHEAT food pantry distributing food to school-age children

WEST HAVEN, June 7, 2019 — The WHEAT food pantry will distribute food twice a month to West Haven school-age children under 18.

The increased distribution is set for June, July and August, said Rose Majestic, executive director of the West Haven Emergency Assistance Task Force.

Families must bring a valid photo ID and two current pieces of mail with their correct name and address on them.

WHEAT, 674 Washington Ave., is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 2-4:30 p.m. and the third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m.-noon.

For information, call WHEAT at 203-931-9877 or email

Dog obedience program offered in West Haven

Dog obedience program offered

WEST HAVEN, June 7, 2019 — Are you a dog owner looking for a “paw-sensitive” approach to handling your canine?

The Department of Recreation’s dog obedience program, designed by Evelia Rivera, a certified professional dog trainer, is geared to all types of canines, including puppies and adolescent, rescue and older dogs.

The department is offering two six-week training levels — 2 to 12 months old and 13 months and older — Saturday mornings, starting July 13, in the parking lot behind the department’s Painter Park office, 190 Kelsey Ave.

The fee is $85 for residents and $95 for nonresidents.

Visit for registration details and requirements for dogs and handlers.

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