WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE

NORWICH SCHOOL BUDGET DEFICIT

Abby Dolliver

How to fill a projected education budget deficit of between 1-point-5 and 2-million dollars in the fiscal year ending June 30th is the concern of the Norwich School Board. Members of the panel’s budget expenditure committee heard the news Wednesday night. School Superintendent Abby Dolliver says some sort of deficit had been anticipated for months. How much of a deficit, though, wasn’t known until now. Dolliver says most of the shortfall is due to decreased state aid for special education, while the city has seen an increase in the number of such students since 2016. She also says some line items reduced in the current budget have to be replenished. Dolliver says school officials are hoping the city will turn-over to the schools, cost sharing funds it’ll receive from the state. Meanwhile, next year’s school budget is the focus of a workshop meeting between the city council and the board of education Monday night at 6 at the Kelly Middle School.

NON-PROFITS, PAY UP!

City Hall Norwich

A rude awakening for many non-profit organizations in Norwich. They’ll now be getting property tax bills in the mail The city’s tax assessor, Donna Ralston, says some three dozen organizations are no longer tax-exempt. Ralston says she made the decisions, determining the groups either failed to file the necessary paperwork, or simply don’t meet the necessary criteria. Among those no longer deemed non-profits: Norwich Arts Center, Reliance Health, United Community and Family Services, Habitat for Humanity, and the Bethsaida Community. Property no longer considered non-taxable include the historic Lowthorpe Meadows in Norwichtown, four lots owned by Norwich Free Academy on Butternut Drive and Reynolds Road, and two Veterans of Foreign Wars posts. Ralston says the decisions were made to boost the city’s tax base, and be fair to all city taxpayers.

STATE HOUSE PASSES IMMIGRANTS TUITION BILL

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The Connecticut House of Representatives has given final legislative approval to a bill that allows immigrant students without legal status to be eligible for institutional financial aid at state-run colleges and universities. The bill passed Wednesday on a 91-59 vote, following a daylong debate. It now awaits the governor’s signature. The bill is considered a compromise and includes some provisions of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – or DACA – policy, such as requiring applicants not to have felony records. But Watertown Rep. Joe Polletta, a Republican whose family emigrated from Italy, says he has “a problem handling out any money to someone who is undocumented.” Advocates say it’s only fair to allow the students to receive financial aid from a fund they paid into with tuition dollars.

LEGISLATION FOR CRUMBLING FOUNDATION OWNERS

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut’s Democratic U.S. senators are introducing federal legislation to help state homeowners with concrete foundations crumbling due to the presence of an iron sulfide.   One bill would provide $100 million over five years for states like Connecticut with funds to help repair residential structures damaged by pyrrhotite. A second proposal would create a similar grant program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy previously sought financial assistance from FEMA for the homeowners but was told the issue didn’t constitute an emergency or major disaster. Sen. Richard Blumenthal says he and Sen. Chris Murphy can’t wait for FEMA “to recognize their responsibilities” and decided to “change the law to force them” to provide funding. Hundreds of central and eastern Connecticut homeowners are dealing with the problem.

GUN RESEARCH COALITION

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The governors of Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware and Puerto Rico are announcing the nation’s first regional gun violence research consortium.   The coalition of like-minded states aims to make progress on gun control policy where the federal government has faltered. Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says Wednesday the coalition would like to understand the root causes of violence and determine “effective prevention strategies.” He says Connecticut has reduced violent crime at a faster pace than any other state following the passage of gun legislation in 2013. Scholars and law enforcement officials will collect data and analyze gun violence information to pass on to policymakers. The consortium fills the void left by the federal government’s 1996 ban on the use of federal funds to study gun violence and will operated between the states and territory involved.

PETIT NOT RUNNING FOR CONGRESS

Dr. William Petit Jr. (Record-Journal)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The sole survivor of a deadly 2007 home invasion says he will not run for a congressional seat held by a Democrat who came under fire for her handling of harassment complaints in her office. Dr. William Petit Jr. announced Wednesday he plans to seek re-election to his state House of Representatives seat. The Republican will be seeking his second term. Petit says he “thought long and hard about running for Congress” but “family considerations” and his commitment to his constituents in Plainville and New Britain ultimately persuaded him to forgo a congressional run. There’s been much speculation about potential candidates for the 5th District seat since U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty announced she would not seek re-election. Petit’s first wife and the couple’s two daughters were killed in the home invasion.

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