Town Leaders Along the Shoreline Mull Beach Closures as Summer Approaches

With sunny days and temperatures in the 60s forecast for this weekend, towns around the region are facing decisions on whether to keep their beachfront parks open against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. “We are struggling with what to do with our beaches,” East Lyme First Selectman Mark Nickerson told his town’s Board of Education at a Thursday night Zoom meeting. “We’ll figure out something in the next couple of days. We’re going to see how the weekend goes. Beaches around us from both sides — Waterford and Old Lyme — have closed. The state’s [beaches and parks] are

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East Lyme School Board Votes for $826,900 Reduction to 2020-21 Budget Request

EAST LYME — The Board of Education Thursday voted Thursday night to reduce their 2020-21 budget request by about $826,903 amid concerns about the impacts of the coronavirus on the town’s finances. The cuts come three days after the Board of Selectmen voted to recommend the finance board make a $312,000 reduction to the selectmen’s budget. After the cut, East Lyme Board of Education is requesting that the Board of Finance approve a $50.87 million budget, a 3.30 percent increase over the school board’s 2019-20 budget. The $826,900 reduction consists mostly of reductions in requests for added staff — $304,650 for

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East Haddam Draft Budget, Flat Mill Rate, Goes to Hearing May 5

EAST HADDAM — The Board of Finance will present a 2020-21 budget proposal with no anticipated change to taxpayers’ mill rate at a public hearing broadcast on the town’s YouTube page on Tuesday, May 5. Expenditures in the budget proposal total $34.18 million, which would be 1.8 percent or about $614,000 more than the current budget for fiscal year 2019-20. Residents and taxpayers will be able to email questions ahead of the meeting to budget.questions@easthaddam.org and then have their questions addressed at the meeting, according to Board of Finance Chair William DiCristofaro. The zero percent increase in taxes is possible

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East Lyme Selectmen Recommend $312,000 in Reductions to 2020-21 Draft Budget

EAST LYME — In two separate back-to-back meetings by teleconference Monday night, the Board of Education and Board of Selectman refined plans for reducing 2020-21 fiscal year budget requests in response to the economic downturn and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus. Both boards had drafted budgets before Governor Ned Lamont declared a state of emergency across the state of Connecticut on March 10. Since then First Selectman Mark Nickerson and other local elected leaders have said that they would seek to reduce the burden on taxpayers of a budget originally recommended to the Board of Finance at $77.63 million. “This will

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Friday Marks Start of Ramadan for Muslims Across Coastline Connecticut

Muslims across Connecticut begin fasting for Ramadan with sunrise on Friday, and congregations, communities, and businesses around the state are grappling with how to celebrate a holy month imbued with a communal spirit at at time when mosques and most other public spaces are closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. “This will be the most unique Ramadan of our lifetimes because none of us have lived through this and we hope that we don’t have to again,” said Imam Omer Bajwa, Muslim chaplain for Yale University. Abdul-Rehman Malik, a journalist and guest lecturer in Islamic Studies at Yale

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Across Connecticut Towns Choose Options for Local Tax Relief

Municipal governments across Connecticut have until Saturday, April 25 to choose one of two local tax leniency programs mandated by Governor Ned Lamont in executive orders signed on April 1 and April 9. The two options, one a tax deferment program and the other a low interest program, would apply to local tax property taxes and many other levies typically collected by local government between March 10 and July 1 of 2020. Local Government Tax Program Clinton Low interest rate Deep River Low interest rate East Lyme Deferment Essex Low interest rate Lyme Low interest rate Old Lyme Low interest

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Masks the Latest Mandate Of 28 Executive Orders Since March 10

Effective Monday night, Gov. Ned Lamont has ordered all Connecticut residents to wear masks or similar protection in public and shared spaces unless prevented by medical or equivalent reasons. This mandate is included in the 28th executive order issued by the governor since declaring a state of emergency across Connecticut on March 10, in the process radically altering business and daily life in the state in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Last month, the governor ordered the cancellation of classes at all public schools effective March 17, and more recent orders have extended that closure until

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Under Governor’s Order, Towns Offered Two Programs for Local Tax Leniency

Given the coronavirus and economic downturn, all of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities have options for making local tax collection more lenient for local residents by taking advantage of one or both of two options laid out in Governor Ned Lamont’s executive orders on April 1 and April 9. “We do believe a great majority of people will be paying their taxes on time and that’s important for cash flow reasons for the town, but we do know and recognize that there are those who are having economic difficulty,” said Mark Nickerson, first selectman of East Lyme. The East Lyme Board of

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$38.96 million Old Lyme Budget Proposal Goes to Monday Night Teleconferenced Hearing

OLD LYME — The Board of Finance will present a fiscal year 2020-21 budget proposal of $38.96 million — a 0.13 percent or $54,217 increase in expenditures over the current fiscal year — at a teleconferenced public hearing on Monday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. Board of Finance Chair Andy Russell credited “conservative spending” for the modest increase, but said that the town’s tax rate will increase more significantly than its expenses due to a drop in assessed value of taxable property on the town’s most recent grand list. The mill rate in the finance board’s 2020-21 proposal is 23.30,

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Groton Council Approves Purchase Agreement for Former Seely School, as Town Moves to Redevelop Public Properties

GROTON — The Town Council on April 7 approved a purchase agreement with a North Haven developer, laying out a plan to eventually sell the town-owned William Seely School. The school is one of several unused, publicly-owned properties in Groton that town leadership have sought in recent years to redevelop and return to the tax rolls. DonMar Development Corporation, based in North Haven, has presented plans to construct about 280 apartment units with added community amenities at the property on 55 Seely School Drive. Once completed, the development — called Triton Square — would generate an estimated $750,000 in annual

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