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Budget Delays Addressed

Danbury officials admit they are a little behind on some audits, so they have seeked out a consultant to speed up city financial reports. A$100,000 appropriation has been authorized by City Council to help the city catch up on its overdue audit for the fiscal year 2022 combined city and Board of Education budget. The delays were reportedly caused by a prolonged delay in completing the combined audit of the city’s 2021 general and education budgets.

Plea Deal for Ridgefield Dog Killer

Under the terms of a plea deal, a New York State man who plead guilty to animal cruelty and interfering with an officer in connection with the killing of a Ridgefield family’s dogs will only get probation. Michael Konschak of Carmel, NY was accused of killing and skinning 2 German shepherds that escaped from a Ridgefield backyard last November. The plea deal that included a suspended 728-day prison sentence, also included stipulations including one that he can’t possess a firearm and he is prohibited from acquiring new animals while on probation for three years. Konschak also must pay $9,700 in restitution and he can’t have unsupervised visits with animals unless they are his family pets.

Danbury Fair Mall Waiting for Zoning Green Light

Shopping malls across the nation are continuing to fail as shoppers habits change. The situation is no different here in Connecticut… or locally for that matter. Danbury Fair Mail is trying something different to buck the trend. A group of investors want to turn the former Lord & Taylor space in the Danbury Fair Mall, which has been vacant since 2020, into apartments. They are now placing their hopes in a zoning board vote today, that will pave the way for the mall’s future, as what they envision as a “24-hour environment” with apartments, a school, a hospital and other uses. The Danbury Fair mall is the largest taxpayer in the city of Danbury.

Eversource Warns of Looming Price Jump

We may have only entered autumn last weekend, but already Eversource is issuing a warning about increased electricity prices this winter. On Monday, Eversource issued notice to customers to consider third-party electricity providers because of the possibility of a rise in natural gas prices. Natural gas is the dominant fuel used to generate power in New England. Eversource says it doesn’t expect the price of standard-offer electricity to exceed 24 cents a kilowatt hour, but the price almost surely will increase from the current level of nearly 14 cents.

Motion on Behalf of Convicted Former Teacher Postponed

A hearing on motions to overturn two verdicts in the case of former Danbury teacher, 53 year old Kenneth Gardner was postponed Monday, and is now expected to take place at his November disposition hearing at state Superior Court in Danbury. The hearing could partially acquit the now convicted former teacher who is accused of committing child sexual abuse for years. If the motions are granted, they would overturn two of the 13 felony counts Gardner was convicted of earlier this month. Both Gardner and his wife, Lisa Gardner, were arrested in May 2022. Lisa Gardner has pleaded not guilty to similar charges. She is awaiting trial.

Name of Teen Crash Victim Released

Police have released the name of the 17-year-old boy who died in a three car crash in front of Italian Mia Restaurant and Pizza on Danbury Road in New Milford on Friday evening. They say he was New Milford High School senior Julio Gomez. Gomez was a passenger in one of the cars involved in the crash. A candlelight vigil was held last evening at New Milford High School for Gomez, and a memorial was set up in the area of the crash with flowers, candles and a balloon on Monday afternoon.

New England States Join in Call for Proposals

A coalition of New England states on Monday, jointly announced a call for project proposals to secure federal funding and advance regional collaboration on grid infrastructure. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is among the groups. The first round award is a matching grant of up to $250 million, with $1 billion available for interregional transmission projects.

Soft Surroundings Calls It Quits

Another retailer with roots here in Connecticut is throwing in the towel. Soft Surroundings has announced it will be closing its last remaining store in Connecticut by the end of the year. The closing of the Soft Surroundings store in South Windsor marks the chain’s bankruptcy and departure from the state. The chain joins Bed Bath & Beyond and buybuy Baby that have moved from malls to online retailing.

State Pension Debt Being Addressed

More than $1.3 billion captured from volatile revenue sources here in Connecticut over the last fiscal year is being transferred to pay down the state’s pension debt. The money comes from excess revenue from portions of the personal income tax and pass-through entity tax, in the Budget Reserve Fund, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund. A total of $2.5 million of this volatility transfer will be placed in reserves, bringing the fund to its statutory cap. The remainder will be deposited in the pension funds for retired state workers and Connecticut teachers.

Governor Calls for Special Session

On Friday, Governor Ned Lamont announced a proclamation calling the Connecticut General Assembly to meet in special session this week to consider the approval of changing the date set by state statute for Connecticut to hold its presidential preference primary. The governor is asking the legislature to move the date of the primary four weeks earlier – from the last Tuesday in April to the first Tuesday in April.

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