The Connecticut Port Authority retains $4.77 million of legacy funds leftover from eight municipal dredging projects dating from 2012 to 2016. The funds, administered in a state account, cannot be re-allocated for other maritime projects until approved by the State Bond Commission.
The eight projects, totaling $30.39 million, had been administered by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), and were completed under budget. After 2016 the Connecticut Port Authority became the administrator of maritime bond funding.
Joe Salvatore, Program Manager of the Connecticut Port Authority, who emailed the list of municipalities with legacy balances to CT Examiner on Wednesday, said the towns need to request a re-allocation process in order to use the money for other maritime projects.
According to Salvatore the redirection of these funds, which have been bonded by the state, will require approval from port authority, followed by a review by the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) “to see if there is merit to be placed on the agenda for approval” by the State Bond Commission.
Legacy funds from dredging projects allocated to municipalities include:
- $446,065.42 out of $9.3m: Milford and Stratford, Housatonic River
- $125,208.35 out of $8.2m: Stonington, Mystic River
- $512,643.41 out of $2.25m: Greenwich, Mianus River
- $486,633.23 out of $1.7m: Clinton, Clinton Harbor
- $85,436.62 out of $2.2m: Guilford, Guilford Harbor
- $116,993.48 out of $944,000: Wethersfield, Wethersfield Cove
- $256,577.04 of of $1.6m: Old Lyme, Black Hall and Four Mile Rivers
- $2,742,000.00 out of $4.2m: Old Saybrook, North Cove
“The Port Authority has not acted on re-allocating any of the balance funds shown,” Salvatore wrote in an email Wednesday.
Currently, bonding activities are on hold and the re-allocation process is the only means of accessing the funds, explained Salvatore.
“There are no planned projects at this time to re-allocate the balance funds,” he wrote. “The original SBC approvals for each project are specific to dredging in those municipalities. Re-allocations are the only approved mechanism to use balance funds.”
Old Lyme continues to seek funding
Clarification of the process for using legacy funds comes after recent unsuccessful attempts by the Town of Old Lyme to receive approval from the state for repurposing $71,337.50 in unspent state bond funds for the planning and design of a ramp and walkway on the west bank of the Lieutenant River near Halls Road, in what appears to be the first efforts by a municipality to tap these funds.
On June 19, the port authority voted to table the request by Old Lyme and remand it to the state’s Office of Policy and Management (OPM), citing the need to clarify state funding rules. Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who was elected chair of the port authority at the meeting and resigned from the position on July 24, recused herself from the vote and discussion.
Steven Ross, chair of the Old Lyme Harbor Management Commission, said Thursday that the town may apply for a Small Harbor Improvement Projects Program (SHIPP) next year to access the funding.
‘It’s really nothing new because I was sure they weren’t going to just reallocate it,” he said. “The other possibility is if they open up SHIPP grants again soon we’ll apply for that.”