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Maritime Aquarium Preps For Proposed State Budget Cuts

The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk is facing a cut in state funding under Gov. Dannel Malloy's proposed budget.
The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk is facing a cut in state funding under Gov. Dannel Malloy's proposed budget. Photo Credit: Alfred Branch

NORWALK, Conn. – In his proposed budget for 2013 , Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is serving up more than $170 million in cuts to offset an expected shortfall. The reductions  are to a plethora of agencies and departments, and the cuts will likely touch virtually all of the state’s residents in some way, shape or form.

Norwalk's Maritime Aquarium is one of the organizations facing cuts. Although the aquarium said it understands that agencies all over the state have to tighten their fiscal belts, the aquatic attraction and educational facility said its expected $21,000 reduction is not insignificant.

In all, the center receives more than $531,000 from the state annually, which represents about 7 percent of its $7.5 million operating budget. The proposed $21,000 cut does not appear to be big, but, according to spokesman Dave Sigworth, that money plays a vital role.

“That’s money that could be used for a part-time educator position, so it’s not an insignificant amount,” Sigworth said. The center has not received official word of the cut and is taking a wait-and-see approach to the governor’s proposal, he said. The center uses educators to conduct on-site programs and sends them into schools for instructional efforts.

Although the proposed cut could affect teaching programs, Sigworth said much of the overall state money goes toward marketing efforts, which carry a potentially greater economic impact.

Based on projections by the center’s finance department, $1 spent on marketing can have a 14 times greater economic impact. The $21,000 cut could mean more than $295,000 in economic impact.

“The Maritime Aquarium inspires other consumer transactions,” Sigworth said.

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