Rossi announces Savin Rock Festival’s return in 2020
WEST HAVEN, June 20, 2019 — The Savin Rock Festival will return to the West Haven shoreline in 2020 after the city clears the cumulative deficit in the Savin Rock Festival Fund, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi announced.
After running consecutive deficits, the festival was canceled in 2018 as the city began addressing its overall financial situation.
The festival fund ran deficits over several years, Rossi said, and is in the red for $53,845. The cumulative deficit of $53,845 excluded police expenses and included public works expenses only for two years.
City records show the 2017 festival alone ran a deficit of $32,606. That festival had revenues of $39,292 and expenses of $71,898, with the largest expenditure being entertainment — to the tune of more than $30,000.
“The city of West Haven will pay off the $53,845 deficit in the Savin Rock Festival Fund, only after securing permission from the state Municipal Accountability Review Board, using a small amount of the projected operating budget surplus this fiscal year,” Rossi said.
“We are in a much better place than we were 18 months ago,” the mayor said. “I have had to make some tough decisions — canceling the Savin Rock Festival was one of them — but we had to fix the city first.”
Rossi continued: “Once we pay off the old deficit in the festival fund, I will appoint a committee and ask for volunteers to be responsible for organizing and running the festival in 2020 within an established budget. The festival will request sponsors and charge a reasonable fee for food, ride and entertainment vendors to cover the cost of the event.”
West Haven’s flagship festival was established by the Chamber of Commerce — initially under the direction of Brian M. Stone, David Gesler and Michael Shiner and thereafter by John L. Perrone and his wife, Mary Perrone — to bring organizations, clubs, businesses and families together for a summer festival that celebrates life in one of America’s oldest coastal communities.
From the dawn of the Savin Rock House hotel in 1838, “the Rock” had long been a resort hub until it was officially incorporated as an amusement park by the Savin Rock Park Co. on Memorial Day 1925, when it opened to 300,000 visitors and 66,000 automobiles in one spectacular day.
For the next four decades, the popular seaside park captured the hearts and imaginations of “Rock rats” of all ages with its distinctive sights, sounds and smells. “The playground of New England” shuttered Sept. 21, 1966, to pave the way for the Savin Rock Urban Renewal Project.
“The Savin Rock Festival is a great event and highlights the city’s rich history,” Rossi said. “I look forward to bringing the festival and all the memories and nostalgia back to Old Grove Park next year.”
Free CCM prescription discount cards available for city residents
WEST HAVEN, June 20, 2019 — The City of West Haven Prescription Discount Card is available for residents and their pets, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi announced.
Rossi said the free card, which reduces prescription medication costs, is provided by the city through its membership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the statewide association of towns and cities.
West Haven has participated in the CCM Discount Prescription Drug Card Program, which is free to CCM-member municipalities, since November 2013.
During that time, CCM said, the program has saved city residents more than $180,000 in prescription costs, a 61% savings over what they would have paid for the 3,336 prescriptions filled so far.
The card can be used by residents to obtain discounts and savings on prescriptions not covered by insurance, including pet prescriptions that can be filled at retail pharmacies. There are no costs to the city or its residents, and the program is completely anonymous, according to CCM.
The card is accepted at all national chain pharmacies and most local independent pharmacies and can be used by all residents regardless of age, income or existing health coverage. There are no enrollment forms, membership fees, restrictions or limits on the frequency of use, CCM said.
Cards can be printed by visiting www.CTRxDiscountCard.com and selecting City of West Haven from the drop-down menu. Cards can also be picked up in the mayor’s office on the third floor of City Hall, 355 Main St.
The above website also contains a “Learn the Perks of the Card” section where residents can locate a participating pharmacy, comparison shop their medication, and find information on discounts for vision, hearing and LASIK services.
‘Christmas in July’ toy drive on tap
WEST HAVEN, June 20, 2019 — The Department of Parks and Recreation is participating in a “Christmas in July” toy drive with the Connecticut Recreation & Parks Association and Christmas Wish CT, a charity committed to sharing the spirit of Christmas year-round.
Throughout July, the department aims to collect 1,200 new, unwrapped toys at its Painter Park office, 190 Kelsey Ave., as well as at its camp and playground programs and swimming pool venues.
Park-Rec will donate a portion of the collected toys to Christmas toy drives held by West Haven Professional Fire Fighters Local 1198 and the West Haven High School Peer Advocacy Program for residents in need.
The rest of the toys will benefit Christmas Wish’s Annual Christmas Party. The volunteer charitable organization will distribute the toys to local children and families.
See the Flyer.
Tax bills payable in 2 installments
WEST HAVEN, June 20, 2019 — 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. The city has an ATM outside the office.
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.
The fees for credit cards and electronic checks are posted at Payments and outside the tax office.
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.
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.”
‘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
WEST HAVEN, June 11, 2019 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, center, cuts the ceremonial ribbon June 8 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.
WEST HAVEN, June 11, 2019 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, center, cuts the ribbon June 7 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)
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 email@example.com.
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 www.whparkrec.com for registration details and requirements for dogs and handlers.