Norwalk Schools and Department of Health Gain Big in State Budget

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NORWALK – School building projects, the Norwalk Health Department and several community organizations are among the big winners in this year’s state budget.

Overall, Norwalk will receive $ 22,310,326 in direct municipal aid for fiscal 2022, a jump of nearly 30% (or $ 5.1 million) from the previous year and the largest increase in the state, followed by Stamford at 27%, New Haven at 23%. The city will receive an additional $ 5.7 million in 2023, according to a statement by State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk.

State funding for local public health services will increase by more than 63% in 2022, but the exact amount is not known.

“An exact amount was not specified in the budget or the implementing bill,” senior adviser to Senate Majority Leader Ken Saccente said. “What was stated in the implementer (SB 1202 sections 20 and 21) is that cities like Norwalk that have their own health services will see an increase in per capita funding from the state of $ 1.18 per person to $ 1.93 per person. That’s an increase of 75% per person, or 63.56%. “



Meanwhile, eleven local Norwalk programs have also received funding in the new state budget, which goes into effect on Thursday. Recipients include $ 50,000 for the Norwalk Symphony and $ 500,000 for the Maritime Aquarium.

All program recipients will receive the designated funding each year for the next two years.

The Maritime Aquarium will dedicate its $ 500,000 over the next two years to marketing, said Jason Patlis, President and CEO of Maritime.

“Many years ago the state provided a lot more, but over the past four years it has been around $ 300,000 a year,” Patlis said. “As our marketing budget was reduced to near zero during the pandemic, these funds will be critical in inviting visitors to the aquarium, and we are grateful to Governor, Senator Duff and the Norwalk delegation for supporting this. increased amount. “

The Person to Person community organization has received $ 300,000 for the next two years. This is the second consecutive fiscal season that person-to-person has received federal funds, CEO Nancy Coughlin said.

Of that amount, about 40 percent will go to Norwalk residents while the remaining 60 percent will largely fund housing and utilities for Stamford residents, as the person-to-person has offices in Norwalk, Stamford and Darien. , Coughlin said.

“We provide financial assistance for rent guarantee, deposits and utilities,” she said. “This funding will be used to provide support to people who live in the seven towns surrounding Stamford and Norwalk. When someone comes to us asking for help, we analyze their needs and financial situation, identify other services they need, whether it is ours, which may include food, clothing or referrals in the package. community for other articles. “

According to Duff’s statement, an additional $ 1,127,500 and $ 10,125,000 were allocated to construct Naramake and Cranbury Elementary Schools in Norwalk, respectively.

The education cost-sharing formula accounted for $ 588,351 in fiscal year 2022 and $ 1,176,702 in 2023 of the total increase, according to the release.

“The bill maintains the introductory phase for growing communities, such as Norwalk, and builds on the revised ECS formula adopted four years ago by increasing the weight of low-income students and learners in the l ‘English from 15 to 25%,’ the statement said.

At a Wednesday morning press conference outside City Hall, Mayor Harry Rilling called the allocation of the additional funds a “team effort.”

“We cannot continue to tax our citizens because we tax them outside our city if we keep raising taxes,” he said.

The increase in funds explains the previous underfunding of the PILOT (payment in lieu of local property taxes) program, city spokesman Josh Morgan said.

The PILOT program “provides payment in lieu of local property taxes (PILOT) for properties owned and used by the state of Connecticut,” according to the Office of Policy and Management website. The payment is equal to a percentage of the amount of taxes that would be paid if the property were not exempt from tax.

The PILOT program prioritizes cities with a higher percentage of tax-exempt properties. PILOT payments are made once a year on September 30, according to the office.

“The state budget addresses some long-standing issues with PILOT’s underfunding and it’s great news that Norwalk is getting more of the funding it deserves,” Morgan said. “This state aid, like in previous years, will go into the General Fund, giving us maximum flexibility for this exercise and for the future as we come out of the pandemic.”

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