The finance council elects officers and appoints committee members

At its first meeting since election day, members of the Finance Council elected Republican John Madzula II as president and his Republican colleague Chandravir Ahuja vice-president.

The December 13 meeting also saw Republican Geoffrey Dent and Democrat Erica Sullivan appointed to a joint committee with the Board of Selectmen and the Legislative Council to discuss possible uses of remaining American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. Democrat Laura Miller and Republican Steven Goodridge were also appointed to a joint committee with members of the other two councils tasked with assessing increases in local recycling costs.

Ahuja, in appointing Madzula as chairman, said he did so due to Madzula’s previous experience on boards – Madzula had previously served on the Conservation Commission and is the only one long-term incumbent of the Finance Council. Shortly before winning a full term in November, Ahuja was appointed to the finance board to fill a vacant position.

First Selectman Dan Rosenthal, in his first Selectman report, explained recycling and ARP issues to the mostly new members of the board and said a joint committee would help create “continuity of thought” between the three bodies, rather than meeting at different times. and form separate plans.

“We should get a tacit agreement and then bring it back to the separate bodies,” Rosenthal said.

Newtown has received $ 7.5 million in ARP funds and has already allocated $ 2.5 million of that amount for the Hawley School HVAC project. He is now looking to distribute the rest of that money.

According to the US Department of the Treasury, ARP funds can be used by the city for the following actions:

* Support public health spending, for example by funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical spending, behavioral health care, and some public health and safety staff.

* Address the negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, including the economic harm to workers, households, small businesses, affected industries and the public sector.

* Replace lost public sector revenue, using this funding to provide government services to the extent of the revenue reduction suffered as a result of the pandemic.

* Provide a premium for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks due to their service in critical infrastructure sectors.

* Invest in water, sewage and broadband infrastructure, making the necessary investments to improve access to potable water, support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, and expand access to broadband internet.

“Within these global categories, recipients have a great deal of flexibility in deciding how best to use this funding to meet the needs of their communities,” says the Treasury website.

In previous meetings, Rosenthal noted that the ARP requires that whatever the funds are used for not be a “recurring item” – for example, a new position with a salary would not be an approved use of the money. . Any recurring item will have to be financed from the city’s normal operating budget in the years to come. Additionally, ARP funding cannot be applied directly to the budget as income to directly reduce the thousandth rate.

CFO Robert Tait said in a previous meeting that the ARP paid $ 1.56 billion to counties and cities and $ 3.93 billion to residents across the country. Of the city’s $ 7.6 million share, it has received half, or $ 3.8 million, this year and the other half will be available for spending next year.

The recycling issue was raised this fall when the city said its recycling collection would face an increase of $ 550,000 to $ 1,019.290 million. The city then negotiated a more modest increase from its current contractors, Pendergast and Oakridge, of $ 137,449 to continue weekly pickups for a period from November 1 to July 1, 2022.

The municipal decree requires that the routes be divided between at least two sellers.

The bidding process was carried out after the city was approached by one of its contractors for a fee increase. Since a municipality cannot approve such an increase without opening a tendering process, it had to go and bid. When the bids were high, the city began negotiating with vendors in the hopes of lowering costs.

The increase from $ 137,449 to $ 687,449 means the city’s in-budget recycling collection station will only increase by about 30%, up from nearly 100%, First Selectman Dan Rosenthal said. The Newtown Bee October 25.

The Council of Selectmen, the Finance Council and the Legislative Council, at a joint meeting on October 20 held behind closed doors because it was a municipal contract, adjourned the executive session and approved to l unanimously the increase.

The action gives the city extra time to find the best long term solution for the recycling pickup. This could mean the end of recycling collections provided by the municipality, leaving residents to deal with private providers for collection.

If collections are no longer available, the city should offer an increased capacity to drop off recycling at the transfer station by increasing the hours of operation.

The city may also consider reducing weekly collections to every two weeks or every month.

Rosenthal said 43 percent of Newtown households participate in recycling collections. Newtown pays a monthly fee for each household.


Journalist Jim Taylor can be reached at [email protected]

Newly elected Finance Council (FRO) Chairman John Madzulla II patts new Vice Chairman Chandravir Ahuja on the back as First Selectman Dan Rosenthal looks on during the panel’s first meeting on December 13. On Election Day, voters sat down four new FRO members – Geoffrey Dent, Erica Sullivan, Steven Goodridge and Laura Miller – who joined incumbents Madzulla and Ahuja.

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