New Haven and West Hartford are looking to create high-speed fiber optic internet systems for all their residents and businesses. These are just two of the 46 municipalities that are part of the CTgig Project, a state-wide effort to increase internet speed and affordability. As city councils and town boards mull the costs and benefits of creating such a system, there are important facts that every taxpayer should know before moving forward.
Marc E. Fitch
The definition of affordable housing is changing in Connecticut. What used to mean housing accessible to poor families has become housing accessible to people with well-paying full time jobs. Due to provisions in Connecticut's laws an apartment for $2,100 per month would qualify as affordable. The question is, affordable for whom?
Connecticut has pledged $300,000 to study the possibility of a mileage tax but, as Representative Gail Lavielle notes, the money is wasted because the state would get the results of the study even if it committed no funds at all. Connecticut is part of the I-95 Corridor Coalition, which consists of 16 states along the Atlantic seaboard. Connecticut would receive the results of the pilot study regardless of its cash contribution because the results are shared with all members of the coalition. In all, eleven states are contributing no funds to the study but will still have access to the findings. “Why Connecticut has to be a leader is beyond me,” Lavielle said in an interview.
A finance board meeting Tuesday in small-town Woodstock, Conn., grew contentious as members criticized other town officials for offering employees large health insurance stipends - only to end up receiving the stipends themselves. Board of Finance Vice Chairman Michael Dougherty said the stipend battle is “causing a lot of hate and discontent that’s totally unnecessary.”
Hartford area employment has only increased by 1.1 percent in the past 25 years, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leaving Connecticut’s capitol region last in the nation. The report focused on the 51 metropolitan areas with a population of at least one million people and tracked data from March of 1991 to March of 2016. Connecticut’s population saw a 10 percent increase during the same period.
A federal audit revealed a litany of errors, poor documentation and questionable spending by the Bridgeport Housing Authority, including the use of $1.75 million of housing funds to pay for past-due bills instead of helping people pay for housing. The money, which was meant to be used for housing choice vouchers and low-rent reserve funds, was provided by the federal government. The Bridgeport Housing Authority - now called Park City Communities - is disputing this finding.