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.
One out of every five dollars spent by the city of Hartford goes to teacher salaries, as negotiated under the city’s 70-page union contract with the American Federation of Teachers. The agreement outlines in detail what teachers will get from the city – but reflects far less concern about what students will get from teachers. Last year the city of Hartford spent nearly $1 billion; more than half was dedicated to education. At $220 million, salaries are the largest portion of the education budget, with additional tens of millions of dollars spent on health insurance.
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?
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.”
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is poised to take on a new role: hotel and spa owner. Governor Malloy cancelled a contract with a private investor and directed DEEP to turn the Seaside Regional Center in Waterford into a hotel, spa and public park. Rather than selling the property to Allied Development Group for $8 million for the exact same purpose, the state is trying to spend $21 million - by their own estimate - to turn the property into a viable tourist destination.
Groton has been trying in vain to meet state racial balance requirements for its schools since 2000, but now city leaders have a new idea: build one giant middle school. The effort - known as the Groton 2020 plan - comes with a price-tag of $191.7 million. With up to 80 percent of construction costs being paid for by the state, the Groton 2020 plan is a prime example of how court-imposed racial balance guidelines are forcing districts to build new schools and costing towns and the state millions. Yet, despite the money spent many remain dissatisfied with the results.