Taxes: According to First Selectman Mike Tetreau, this year’s tax increase will be just under the ten year CPI (consumer price index) trend and below most surrounding towns. The town employee head count is below the level it was ten years ago, and the town is fully funding its long term obligations — pensions and retiree medical benefits. Fairfield is strengthening its financial foundation by budgeting money ($675,000) to be put back into the towns surplus account, while delivering top quality services and value. “From a tax standpoint, it doesn’t get better than that. We managed to do it with a minimal impact on services. I’m pleased with how well we worked with the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), avoiding some of the tension and contentiousness that has been a part of past budget cycles."
Rebuilding the Beaches after Hurricane Sandy: According to Joe Michelangelo, DPW Director, Penfield Pavilion is a major project being worked on now, however it will not be open this season. Restoration options are currently being reviewed, including raising and moving it further from the water. The South Benson Marina channel has been successfully dredged, and quite a bit of sand has been put back onto Jennings Beach. The same will be done to Penfield Beach the first few weeks of June, and the two 12’ X 12’ utility buildings at Sasco and Southport beaches will be rebuilt and used this season. The fishing Pier and sidewalks along the South Benson Jetty will also be repaired in preparation of use this season.
The lead contamination in Mill River is also in review as the town collaborates with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) for the best results.
Green Initiatives Abound: According to Ed Bowman, Assistant Director at DPW, the State of CT has a ZREC (zero emissions, example: wind)/ LREC (low emissions, example: fuel cells) program in which CT's power companies are required to buy 25% of their power from green sources within the State of CT by the year 2020. The town, through a Power Purchase Agreement, bids out to the State directly and then chooses the best proposal. Current solar projects include: photovoltaic (PV) panels being installed throughout the town — mainly on roof tops, alternatively on covered parking lots. Panels are currently installed on the Rec Center and Operation Hope rooftops. They will be installed at many locations, including the Senior Center, covered parking lot at the train station, Fairfield Theatre Company, and Jennings Road firehouse. Fuel Cells at the Sewage Treatment plant will power Ludlowe Middle School and Ludlowe and Warde High Schools, and each one will provide in excess of three million hours of electricity. In the event of a power outage, The Micro Grid Program will have enough power to run the police and fire headquarters, and Operation Hope buildings. In addition, United Illuminating Programs provide interest free loans to the town for annual energy improvements, funded by residents who are charged an energy conservation fee on their utility bills.
Landmark Signs: Signs have recently been unveiled throughout the Historic Old Post Road area, thanks to the Old Post Road Area Association working in collaboration with the Town and the Towns Historic District Commission, to improve public awareness about Fairfield’s unique and Historic town center.
New Fairfield Senior Center Initiatives: Under the direction of its new Director, Terry Giegengack, the Senior Center will add some new events. Wednesday Evenings Out will be designed for working Seniors and features wine-tasting talks, current world news lectures with insight and analysis, artwork on display and for sale, Yoga, Pilates, Ballroom dancing, pickle ball, eBay, E-Readers and iPad guidance, along with evening and weekend programs, and more.
For more information please visit www.fairfieldct.org.