Memorial Day: President Obama on Honoring “Fallen Heroes”

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DTC Meets Thursday May 28th…..DTC Chair Forms Exploratory Committee….Tax Fairness Legislation = $8.8 Million More For NB

May Meeting: Town Committee Meets Thursday May 28th At NB City Hall

The Democratic Town Committee will meet on Thursday, May 28th at 7 pm for its May meeting. All Democrats are welcome to attend. The meeting will be held at New Britain City Hall, 27 West Main Street, Room 504.

Updates on the municipal budget and legislation impacting the city will be shared.  (SEE “From The Chair: Time For NB To Push Tax Fairness Bill” below)

The state Legislature is in the last days of the 2015 session and budget negotiations are underway that will determine state aid amounts and tax relief to cities such as New Britain. The Common Council has a mid-June deadline to establish a city budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1st.05282015_MEETING

An update will also be provided on the municipal nominations process.  To date,  20 candidates have expressed interest in joining the Democratic slate to fill 27 positions. The nominating group will resume candidate interviews June 1st.

Democratic Chair Forms Exploratory Committee

DTC Chair John McNamara has formed his own exploratory committee for a candidacy in this year’s municipal election.  In a letter to the membership and Democrats this week McNamara says “one year after residents were hit with an 11% property tax hike, higher fees and cuts to community services a vigorous debate on City Hall budget priorities and policies is needed.”

“New Britain faces growing challenges to maintain the services that residents need, to reduce the burdens of a regressive tax system and to build a sustainable  community not just for some but all its citizens,” states McNamara.  “It’s time to hold the Mayor and Common Council accountable. Citizens deserve nothing less.”

McNamara was elected to the Board of Assessment Appeals in 2013 and is its Chairman. He is a former Chair of the city Building Commission and has led Democrats in the city since 1994.

 

It’s Time for NB To Push Tax Fairness Bill; City In Line For $8.8 Million If It Passes

New Britain would be in line for an additional $8.8 million from the state for property tax relief if legislation advanced by State Senate Democrats and approved by a key committee wins approval of the Legislature and is signed by Governor Malloy.

An Act Concerning Tax Fairness and Economic Development (SB 1),  introduced by Senate President Martin Looney (D-New Haven), is one of the strongest measures introduced in many years to address the burdensome property tax.

“We are looking at trying to do something that is transformative,” Looney told the Connecticut Mirror. He said “fears about “overly opulent” municipal spending are as unfounded as “knee-jerk reactions” against increasing sales taxes.”

A key provision would change “the unfair and regressive car tax by establishing a permanent cap on the car tax in all towns. No car owner will pay more in car taxes, and no municipality will see a revenue loss as a result of this plan, ” according to Senate Democrats.

The legislation,  beginning with the 2015 assessment year (for taxes to be paid in FY 17), would  allow municipalities to tax motor vehicles at a different rate than other taxable property, and would  cap the motor vehicle rate at 29.36. Currently, New Britain taxpayers pay the 49 mill rate for both real and personal (car) taxes.

The tax reform bill would address the loss of revenue from car taxes and return more aid to municipalities with a major overhaul of how the state shares aid to localities. It would  “restructure the state’s payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) programs by establishing minimum annual payments and a method for disbursing PILOT grants when appropriations are not enough to fund the full grant amounts. It establishes a mechanism for sharing state sales and use tax revenue in the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account (MRSA) with municipalities and the state’s nine regional councils of government (COGs).

The Legislature must send up a state budget to Governor Malloy by June 3rd when the session ends.   Absent a resolution of the new two-year state budget a special session is possible.

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Labor donated. Any costs associated with this message paid for by New Britain Democratic Town Committee, Post Office Box 2112, New Britain CT 06050   John Valengavich, Treasurer. Approved by John McNamara

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New Britain Attorney Bruno Nominated To Superior Court By Governor Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy on Wednesday nominated four individuals to fill vacancies on the Connecticut Superior Court including Alice A. Bruno of New Britain.If Bruno’s nomination is approved, the judicial appointment will cap a 34-year career in the law in public service and private practice.  The nominations were the first made by Governor Malloy in his second term.

“I am deeply honored by the confidence that Governor Malloy has shown in me by nominating me to the Connecticut Superior Court,” Bruno said.  “If confirmed as a judge, I will serve with dedication and an abiding commitment to the administration of justice.”

“The smart selections we make for the court today will help deliver a brighter Connecticut tomorrow.  Selecting qualified, diverse nominees is not an easy task – we do it exceptionally carefully because these decisions impact our future, and we’re working to build a Connecticut for the long-run, for everyone.  That’s why these selections are so important, and that’s why it’s so vital to find candidates who are representative of our diverse population,” Governor Malloy said.  “The nominees we are announcing today will be a great addition to our Superior Court and I am confident that they will serve the state with distinction.”

DTC Chair John McNamara at a New Britain Democratic Party event with Attorney Alice Bruno (Gerratana photo)

DTC Chair John McNamara at a New Britain Democratic Party event with Attorney Alice Bruno . New Britain’s Bruno was nominated by Governor Malloy this week to serve on the Superior Court capping a 34-year career in the law.(Gerratana photo)

Most recently Attorney Bruno served as a Special Counsel to the Secretary of the State providing legal support to elections staff and registrars of voters.  She previously served as the Deputy Chief Clerk in the New Haven Judicial District and as a magistrate in the Superior Court presiding over housing, motor vehicle and small claims matters.  She was formerly a partner at Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn handling general civil litigation in both state and federal courts prior to forming the firm of Edmonds and Bruno.  Attorney Bruno has also served as the Executive Director of the Connecticut Bar Association, served on the Federal Grievance Committee for District of Connecticut, and currently serves on the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association.  She holds a law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law, with honors, a Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Tufts University.

Bruno, who has volunteered as an associate Democratic Town Committee member and on the Rules Committee, is married to Cafe Beauregard owner Rob Chiovoloni.

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City Budget Hearing, Council Meetings and Coming Events

Municipal Budget Hearing Is Tuesday (Today), May 12th At NBHS, 6 pm

The Common Council will hold its one and only public hearing on a proposed 2015-2016 municipal budget on Tuesday,, May 12, at New Britain High School, 110 Mill Street, starting at 6 p.m.

The Stewart Administration has proposed a$224.7 million budget for the next fiscal year, an increase of $4 million over the current year’s expenditures — a year in which residents absorbed an 11% property tax hike. Higher taxes began to address deep-seated deficits from years in which the prior Stewart administration piled up millions of dollars of phantom  sales of property and increased spending significantly.

The current Mayor’s boasts of  a “no tax increase” budget for 2015-2016.  However, it appears to include the same fiscal slights of hand that got the city in trouble in the first place.  Most notably it includes undocumented sales of property of $1,000,000 and puts off up to $10 million or more  in debt service and pension obligations for the next or another year.  Money for the schools was flat-funded and the Board of Education is weighing some $5 million in cuts in anticipation of no change in local or state funding.

The administration is  counting on an increase in tax collections from 97 to 97.5 percent to pay for increased spending it does propose in the new fiscal year.  Neither a City Hall reorganization nor a Blue Ribbon Committee charged with identifying efficiencies and savings has produced any meaningful changes in the Stewart budget proposal.

A special Democratic Town Committee meeting on the municipal budget and property tax relief measures  at the local and state level is planned for May 21st at 7:30 pm.

The Common Council faces a June deadline to adopt the budget that begins on July 1st

AT CITY HALL THIS WEEK: Regular Council and HUD Grants On Tap

The Common Council will hold its regular meeting on Wednesday, May 13th, with public participation beginning at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers.

A Housing and Urban Development grants committee will meet at 8 p.m. to consider new appropriations for a new fiscal . Last year upwards of $70,000 was removed from support of community services reverting back to the City Hall bureaucracy.  The Stewart Administration, seeking to further reduce spending on safety net programs, has made false claims this year and last year that federal officials directed them to do so.

OIC Awards Gala Friday, May 15 At St. George’s Hall

The Opportunities Industrialization Center of New Britain will hold its third annual awards gala on Friday, May 15 from 5 to 11 p.m. at the St. George Greek Orthodox Hall, 301 West Main St.

The nonprofit, led by Executive Director Paulette Fox and located at the former St. Ann’s School on North Street,  will be honoring  Maria Pietrantuono, a health care consultant for the New Britain High School Health Academy; the Plainville-based Manafort Bros.; Gerry Berthiaume, an employment specialist for Capital Workforce Partners; and Rev. Thomas Mills of Grace Church.

Proceeds from the Gala benefit the OIC’s youth development and employment programs. For more information or to make a contribution call (860) 224-7151.

Berlin Democrats’ “Spring Fling” Dance Fundraiser Saturday, May 16th

The Berlin Democratic Town Committee will hold a “Spring Fling” dance fundraiser on Saturday, May 16th, beginning at 7 p.m. The event will be held at the Italian Independent Political Club, 16 Harding Street.  Tickets ($20) will be available at the door.  The mailing address for Berlin Democrats is PO Box 58  Kensington, 06037.

Kindergarten Summit May 21: Education Disparities in NB, CT To Be Aired 

Board of Education members and researchers will discuss disparities in Connecticut cities and towns in the delivery of early childhood education at a Thursday, May 21st “Kindergarten Summit” forum, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at New Britain High School.

Featured will be a report from CT Voices for Children on disparities among CT cities and towns. BOE member Merrill Gay will present data on attendance, health and wellness and the Kinder care experience in New Britain.  He will be joined by BOE President Sharon Beloin-Saavedra and educators Nancy Sarra, Joe Vaverchak and others.

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Labor donated. Any costs associated with this message paid for by New Britain Democratic Town Committee, Post Office Box 2112, New Britain CT 06050   John Valengavich, Treasurer. Approved by John McNamara

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Transit-Oriented Development: Dem Legislators Announce Bond Funds for Old Police Station

New Britain’s Democratic legislative delegation says help is on the way to redevelop New Britain’s old and vacant police station on Columbus Boulevard.

State Reps. Rick Lopes (24), Bobby Sanchez (25), Peter Tercyak (26), Betty Boukus (22) and Sen. Terry Gerratana (6) announced  the likely approval of funds for the redevelopment of the former police station when the state Bond Commission convenes May 11th.  “Redeveloping this property in downtown New Britain will encourage economic development in the area and transform the neighborhood for residents and visitors,” Governor Malloy said.  “By helping to foster residential and commercial development around the site, and making it so easily accessible to the CTfastrak Bus Rapid Transit system, we are delivering a brighter tomorrow for Connecticut and its families.”

Members of New Britain's all Democratic legislative delegation announced that the state bond commission is likely to approve the first funds for development of the city's old police station. (Gerratana photo - 2014)

Members of New Britain’s all Democratic legislative delegation announced that the state bond commission is likely to approve the first funds for development of the city’s old police station. (Gerratana photo – 2014)

“Following redevelopment efforts, this under-utilized parcel of land will provide new opportunities for economic growth in our city,” said Senator Gerratana. “The former police station is the perfect location for a mixed-use, transit-oriented development that will help downtown New Britain thrive. I thank Governor Malloy for his continued support for our community.”

“I am looking forward to a new direction for this property so that it will work in conjunction with the Busway to aid in the redevelopment of our downtown,” Rep. Lopes said. “I thank Governor Malloy for prioritizing these funds and look forward to seeing this important project moving forward.”

“I am delighted to see the plans to redevelop and revitalize the old police station in Columbus Boulevard moving forward,” Rep. Sanchez said.  “Last year the state allocated well over $2 million for demolition and remediation efforts to capitalize on that great parcel for expansion.”

“As we grapple with the many issues directly affecting people in balancing the state’s budget, providing funding for redevelopment projects becomes more difficult,” Rep. Tercyak said.  “I want to thank Governor Malloy for seeing the importance of this project and providing critical funding for it,” Rep. Tercyak said.

“This is important funding for New Britain’s redevelopment,” Rep. Boukus said. “I am happy to see it move forward.”

The State Bond Commission is slated to approve $100,000 to hire consultants and other technical advisors to assist in administering and overseeing the renovation.

Service on CT Fastraks — a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system — began March 28th. Governor Malloy announced today that ridership in the first six weeks of operation has exceeded expectations. Malloy gave the final go ahead to the “busway” project in his first term.  Transit advocates say BRT systems like CT Fastraks lead to economic development and increased property values along the BRT routes.

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Campaign 2015: Candidate List Grows For Democratic Endorsements…Be For $15 On 4/15

Municipal Campaign 2015

Candidates Are Stepping Forward For Democratic Endorsements

The number of candidates seeking municipal office is growing as the Democratic Town Committee continues its recruiting and nominating efforts toward a July endorsement meeting.

To date the DTC has heard from 13 candidates  with more candidates expected to emerge in April for all city offices.  According to a report from the nominations committee at last Thursday’s DTC meeting, Common Council candidates include incumbents Shirley Black, Emmanuel Sanchez, Tonilynn Collins, Adam Platosz and Michael Trueworthy; new candidates for Common Council include Duane Hinkson and Michael Gorzoch. Newcomer Jonathan Perugini has also submitted candidate information to gain a spot on the Democratic slate for either a ward or at large councillor or constable.

The political parties endorse 15 Council candidates to two-year terms with five at large and 10 from council districts (wards).

For Board of Education incumbents Merrill Gay and Carlos Pina are seeking new terms in addition to new candidates Veronica Delandro, Annie Parker, Agnes Kurzyna and Violet Simms. The DTC will endorse three Board of Education candidates to a four-year term.

“Our goal is to offer voters a Democratic slate that reflects the city’s strengths and diversity,” said DTC Chair John McNamara. “We are continuing to  attract candidates — incumbents and newcomers — with the experience, talent and skills to move the city forward.”

The DTC’s nominations committee is gathering candidate information to share with the membership and discussing issues with prospective candidates to develop a platform that addresses municipal issues for the fall campaign.

The Candidate Recruitment and Nominations Process

It takes 27 individuals who reflect New Britain’s diversity and strengths to form a municipal slate for all city offices.  On the November ballot will be elections for Mayor, Tax Collector, City Treasurer, Ward and At Large Council, Board of Education, Board of Assessment Appeal.

The DTC invites prospective candidates for all offices to discuss issues, share ideas and submit a candidate information form that is online  http://newbritaindemocrat.org/municipal-candidate-information-2015/

 Day of Action:  Be For $15 on 4/15 

More than two years ago, fast food workers launched the first strike for a $15 minimum wage. Now, over 190 cities are holding protests across the country on Wednesday, April 15th, and more types of service employees are joining in.11021237_1563800720568277_7928440022729600080_n

Walmart and other companies have recently relented on a  $10 per hour minimum as income inequality continues to grow.  They will soon find, however, that the hike to $10 will not be enough for a fair wage in today’s economy.

The Greater Hartford rally will be held at the State Capitol at 4 p.m. on Wednesday April 15th.

The push for living wages has expanded to part-time faculty at colleges and universities as well as  workers in fast food, retail, home care, retail and convenience sectors of the economy.

To join the New Britain contingent at the April 15th rally contact the Democratic Town Committee at newbritaindemocrat@gmail.com

April Town Committee Meeting – Thursday April 30th

The next meeting of the Democratic Town Committee will be Thursday, April 30th. Please mark your calendars for 2015 meeting dates. All Democrats are welcome.

April 30
May 28
June 25
July 23 ENDORSEMENT MEETING FOR MUNICIPAL OFFICES
August 27
September 17
October 29
November 3   ELECTION DAY (Meet at headquarters)
December 3

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Labor donated. Any costs associated with this message paid for by New Britain Democratic Town Committee, Post Office Box 2112, New Britain CT 06050   John Valengavich, Treasurer. Approved by John McNamara

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DTC Meets Thursday…..Nzinga Center Honors Shirley Black, Betty Boukus, Others…..Fight for $15 Rally April 15th

March Meeting Thursday 3/26 At City Hall

The Democratic Town Committee will meet Thursday, March 26th  at New Britain City Hall, Room 504 starting at 7 p.m.  On the agenda will be a municipal campaign update, a discussion of state legislation impacting the city and Justice of the Peace nominations. All Democrats are welcome.

Save the Date: 4/15 Day of Action in the Fight for 15!

More than two years ago, fast food workers launched the first strike for a $15 minimum wage. Now, over 190 cities are holding protests across the country on Wednesday, April 15th, and more types of service employees are joining in.11021237_1563800720568277_7928440022729600080_n

Walmart and other companies have recently relented on a  $10 per hour minimum as income inequality continues to grow.  They will soon find, however, that the hike to $10 will not be enough for a fair wage in today’s economy.

The Greater Hartford rally will be held at the State Capitol at 4 p.m. on Wednesday April 15th.

The push for living wages has expanded to part-time faculty at colleges and universities as well as  workers in fast food, retail, home care, retail and convenience sectors of the economy.

To join the New Britain contingent at the April 15th rally contact the Democratic Town Committee at newbritaindemocrat@gmail.com

Shirley Black, Betty Boukus To Be Honored Saturday, 3-21 By Nzinga Center

The Queen Ann Nzinga Center, Inc. will host its 6th Annual Connie Wilson Collins Exceptional Women Concert honoring outstanding women from the Greater Bristol, Plainville and New Britain community on Saturday March 21.

Shirley Black

Shirley Black

The celebration will honor nine women from the area including Ward 3 Alderwoman and DTC Vice Chair Shirley Black and State Rep. Betty Boukus of the 22nd Assembly District that includes the DiLoreto School district. Pamela Bianca and CCSU Professor Evelyn Newman Phillips from New Britain are also be honored.  The event was renamed last year in honor of Constance “Connie” Renee Wilson Collins who died in 1913. Connie, a longtime member of the DTC and former alderwoman, worked to help people reach their full potential through her work in politics, the labor movement and nonprofit organizations.

Rep. Boukus

Rep. Boukus

The public is invited to attend the concert and celebration, scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. at Raymond Hill School, 370 Linwood St., New Britain. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit http://qanc.org or call (860)229-8389. All proceeds help fund programming for the QANC, a nonprofit which emphasizes artistic expression and teamwork to build program participants’ skills and self-esteem.

 

LWV Host Forum on Incarceration Monday, March 23, At Trinity On Main

The New Britain area League of Women Voters will host an issues forum on Monday, March 23rd on “Issues of Incarceration” beginning at 7 p.m. at Trinity On Main, 69 Main Street. CT ACLU Attorney David McGuire and representatives of the Malta Justice Initiative will be on the discussion panel. The public is invited to attend.

Police, Colleagues Organize “Fundraiser for Kristen” March 29th at Generale Ameglio

Led by Police Chief James Wardwell friends and colleagues of NBPD Executive Assistant Kristen Perugini are organizing a benefit as Kristen undergoes treatment for a serious illness.

The benefit to include food, music and a raffle will be held on Sunday March 29th from 1 to 5 pm at the Bianca Ballroom of  Generale Ameglio Society on Beaver Street. The donation is $20. For tickets and more information call 860-826-3112.

END QUOTE

“This week we learned that more than 16 million Americans now have health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act. We learned that the number of uninsured has plummeted faster than at any time in the last 40 years. And we learned that the House Republican budget unveiled today repeals the law and takes insurance away from more than 16 million Americans.

“When I talk with people in Connecticut, they know this issue isn’t about partisan politics, but the real lives of the kids, moms, dads, and grandparents who now have insurance. I’ve talked with so many who, before the Affordable Care Act, lived every day with the enormous burden of knowing they were one accident or illness away from total financial ruin. I don’t understand why Republicans think it’s a good political strategy to take health insurance away from millions of families and put insurance companies back in charge of patients’ lives.”

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy in a March 17th Statement on Republicans’ latest move to repeal the Affordable Care Act

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Labor donated. Any costs associated with this message paid for by New Britain Democratic Town Committee, Post Office Box 2112, New Britain CT 06050   John Valengavich, Treasurer. Approved by John McNamara

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