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Greenwich Delegation Discusses State’s Challenging Future

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SPORTS S Varsity Schedules. Previews: Ta lented Group of Ca rd i na l s Hopeful for Postseason Glor y ; A Mi x of Yout h, Veterans for GHS; GA Hungry to Take Back FAA Gold; GHS Baseball Eyeing postseason. PAGES 11 & 15. LIVING SECTION S Cos Cob Spotlight Home. Living Section. S First Bank of Greenwich. L2 S Listing of local movies. L2 S Local Legend: Atelier Makes Beautiful Music in Cos Cob. L4 S May Ga rdeners Ma rket at Garden Education Center. L4 S Nancy Pastore Cole & Trish Bauer: Working Together to Find Families the Right Place to Call Home . L6 S A Classic Village: Why We Love Cos Cob. L6 MAIN SECTION S EDITORIAL: Our First Year! The Greenwich Sentinel is turning one. 6 S Letters to the Editor: Earth Day : A Time to Renew You r Commitment. 6 S Column by Kyle Silver. 6 STORIES S Assessment Appeals Board Has Higher-than-Expected Workload. The Board of Assessment Appeals are hearing from a sizable number of residents and business owners with complaints about how their property has been revaluated for the town’s next Grand List. S Bike Thefts Spur Creative Action for a Greenwich Commuter. S Our Neighborhoods has moved! What’s happening in yours. S Events & deadlines calendar. S Obituaries: Mike Sandlock, Oldest Big Leaguer, Dies at 100; Salvatore L. Mancuso, Jr.; Ida Nania. PAGE 7 S Schedule of worship services. 9 S W. Grant Gregory and his wife Karen have lived in Greenwich for nearly half a century—they came in 1968—but the reach of their stewardship of the natural world is far and wide. PAGE 2 S Soccer and Kingdom Come By Chuck Davis. PAGE 9 S G r e e n w i c h P r o p e r t y Management Takes Hassle Out of Home Ownership. S Comme rc i a l Re a l E s t a t e : I n d u s t r i a l C h i c C ome s t o Greenwich By Allan Murphy. S David Rabin, New CEO, Aims to Revitalize Greenwich UnitedWay. S When Touch Is What’s Needed Most By Drew Williams. S The Greenwich United Way held a reception on March 31 to welcome its new president and CEO, Dav id Rabi n, amid t he colorful f loral arrangements at McArdle’s Florist and Garden Center to signif y renewal and rejuvenation. S “Gr and Cent r a l Termi na l is one of my greatest personal achievements,” said Frank Prial, of New York’s architectural firm of Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB). “There were so many unsurmountable challenges, and then to see the influence it has had! When people come through it—it lifts the spirits.” Frank Prial has made quite a name for himself over the last 25 years as one of America’s foremost architects in the preservation movement. S Stock chart of local companies. S The Boa rd of As s e s sment Appeals are hearing from a sizable number of residents and business owners with complaints about how their property has been revaluated for the town’s next Grand List.

State Sen. Scott Frantz and Representative Livvy Floren (pictured above) and Representatives Fred Camillo and Mike Bocchino met with a packed crowd at Glory Days diner in central Greenwich Monday morning to hear residents concerns and discuss state politics and a shifting economy. G reenwich’s legislative delegation noted that while a late-session tech attraction of Massachusetts, a liberal bastion where GE settled, the Greenwich Republicans said the problem lies more with what Floren called a “disdain” for high earners amongmany inDemocratic leadership. throughout the discussion, and the tenor often charged. Many, like resident Virginia Genereux, expressed both agreement and concern. By Bill Slocum Contributing Editor

base,” in the formof high-net-worth individuals and large businesses, is disappearing. He estimated that $21.5 billion in net worth, “positively identified,” has left for the relative tax shelter of Florida in just the past seven months. Meanwhile, costs connected to the state’s defined-benefit pension and health-care plans continue to rise. In response, they said, state lawmakers have considered everything from taxing endowments to mansions (in addition to the local property taxes already paid) to land owned by Yale University. “There are so many schemes going on,” Floren said. “It’s called greed and avarice and desperation.” All the legislators pointed to the recent exodus of the state’s largest private-sector employer, General Electric, as an especially worrying sign of things to come. While Democrats have argued the move has more to do with the high- “What happened was Republicans put forward a budget that recognized the problem but spread the burden across state government,” he said. “Democrats came around to that thinking as well. They joined the Republicans and agreed on a spending plan that addressed cuts, but on a fairer basis.” One of those legislators advocating the compromise, Mike Bocchino, who represents the 150th District and lives in Byram, called it a satisfying end to a “scary situation.” “By making those adjustments, we were able for this final quarter to save the Department of Social Services from experiencing these detrimental cuts,” Bocchino said. “Is there potential for some layoffs? Yes, but it avoided a complete shutdown of that great organization.” But both Bocchino and another local legislator who was involved in the effort, Fred Camillo of the 151st District, who lives in Old Greenwich, say the real test for Abilis’s continued viability is to come. “The bigger problem will be in the next few months, and the next few years, when the state deficit could reach $4.5 billion,” Camillo said. Perry agreed that is very much on his mind, particularly a $900 million shortfall anticipated for fiscal year 2017. “That becomes the unanswered question,” he said. “There will be a vote on the fiscal 2017 budget at the end of the current legislative session.

“There are 1.6 million taxpayers [in Connecticut], and 28,000 of them make over $500,000 a year,” Genereux noted. “They pay 40 percent of the state’s income tax… The tax returns with $2 million over, there are 4,600 of them, they pay 26 percent of the state’s tax. Everyone I know here is going to move as soon as they can.” Residents also urged attention and action from the state legislators on other matters. A pair of proposed large-scale developments in central Greenwich, both currently before the town Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency, drew comment from a pair of Georgetowne North condominium complex residents.

budget crisis was averted last week thanks to bipartisan collaboration and the support of Gov. Dannel Malloy, a more serious fiscal reckoning still looms. The four Republicans, state Sen. Scott Frantz and Representatives Livvy Floren, Fred Camillo, and Mike Bocchino, met with a packed crowd at Glory Days diner in central Greenwich Monday morning to discuss state politics and a shifting economy. “We are looking at a $5½-6 billion deficit over the next three- and-a-half fiscal years, which is not insurmountable but is going to involve a lot of fiscal challenge,” Frantz said. An intrinsic problem, he went on to argue, is that the state’s “tax developmentally challenged for 65 years faces an uncertain future after a recent state funding cut proposed by Gov. Dannel Malloy was narrowly averted. Dennis Perry, CEO of Abilis on Glenville Street, was looking last week at a$17.8millioncut to thedepartment that provides most of Abilis’s funding, a cut he said “would have been eight to ten times greater than any cut the agency had seen in the recent past.” “It could have impacted us greatly,” Perry said. “In its worst outcome, had the Governor’s proposal been accepted, it’s possible it would have meant almostnojobcoaches, therefore no people we work with getting jobs. In its worst outcome, it would have put people on the streets.” Founded in 1951 and known for years as Greenwich ARC, the 501c3 organization works with a wide range of developmentally disabled people across their lifespan, from infancy to schooling to independent living and employment. Perry said the cut was averted last week after Republicans in Hartford, including members of Greenwich’s delegation, put forward a compromise proposal after Gov. Malloy tried to address a $225 million budget shortfall through discretionary cuts that fell heavily on his Department of Social Services. While Abilis solicits donations as a nonprofit, it remains largely dependent on DSS aid.

Bocchino also decried the secondary impact of GE’s departure on Fairfield, Connecticut, its corporate home for decades. “The negative effect it had on all those small businesses surrounding GE is immeasurable,” he said. “You have people who depended on that income, whether it be the gas stations or the delicatessens. You can’t measure it.” The legislators’ breakfast talk is an informal, roughly quarterly practice drawing larger audiences of late. This time, the forum spilled over to fully half of the diner, with diners drawn into the discussion at a level roughly equal to that of forum participants ordering food. Questions were constant

continued, see DELEGATION on Page 13

Greenwich’s Abilis Dodges One Bullet, Awaits Another A G r e e n w i c h - b a s e d nonprofit agency that has been assisting the Perry was in Hartford last week lobbying for support, bringing with him people who depend on Abilis assistance. By Bill Slocum Contributing Editor

Trovetti Griffin braids a resident’s hair in an Old Greenwich home which is managed by Abilis. Griffin has worked in the Abilis residential program for eight years. [Contributed photo]

continued, see ABILIS on Page 13

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