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Norwalk Looks At $22.3 M For Parks, Security, Crosswalks, Fire Equipment

Norwalk's Common Council will start discussions on next year's operating and capital budget next week.
Norwalk's Common Council will start discussions on next year's operating and capital budget next week. Photo Credit: File

NORWALK, Conn. – New ballfields, school security upgrades and other projects are all included in Norwalk’s $22.3 million proposal for next year’s capital projects.

The Finance Department presented the town government with Norwalk’s proposed Capital Budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year. The annual budget includes long-term, one-time projects that are too large to include in the city’s operating budget.

“With the city’s existing debt profile and with the economy still relatively week, this is the maximum amount of additional debt that the city can safely afford, while still maintaining favorable debt ratio benchmarks and limiting the debt impact on future operating budgets,” Finance Director Thomas Hamilton said.

One of the biggest single requests came from the Parks and Recreation Department, which is asking for a $2 million outlay to continue its plan to install new turf fields at Nathan Hale. The department is also asking for $1.18 million in other repairs and upgrades to Calf Pasture Beach, Veterans Park, school and park playgrounds and other sites around town.

The capital budget also includes $5 million for road maintenance and paving, down from the usual $6 million given to the Department of Public Works in past years. Another $200,000 is also set aside for new crosswalks in the area of Washington Street between Water Street and South Main Street, and another $5000,000 for sidewalks and curbing.

Other DPW projects in the plan include $730,000 in repairs to the City Hall roof and boiler, $250,000 for road drainage work and $200,000 to improve traffic management. Public Works has also asked for about $830,000 in new equipment.

Norwalk’s schools are asking for a $5.8 million allocation for their capital projects. The largest portions is $2.358 million for new books, computers and other equipment needed for the switch over to the Common Core State Standards and Connecticut’s new electronic standardized tests. Other projects include school security upgrades, PCB remediation at Rowayton School and repaving school parking lots and sidewalks.

Other requests from various departments include $550,000 for new fire equipment, $374,000 in upgrades to the city’s IT department and $250,000 to continue work to make all city buildings compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.  The full list of projects is available at the city website.

If the Common Council approved all of the projects, the proposal would cost about $22.36 million to complete. After offsetting new revenue and grants from the project, the cost to Norwalk’s taxpayers would be just under $19.8 million, which would be sold as bonds to spread out the cost over several years.

The Board of Estimates and Taxation and the Common Council will have to vote on the Capital Budget for the projects to move forward. The vote will be included in the city’s other budget talks, which start next week.

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