Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT AUTHORIZING AND ADJUSTING BONDS OF THE STATE FOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS, TRANSPORTATION AND OTHER PURPOSES.
Joint Favorable Substitute
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee
REASONS FOR BILL:
This bill authorizes a net total of $505.5 million in additional General Obligation (GO) bonds, which consists of $525.5 million in new bonds and $20 million in cancellations.
The following authorizations are changes to the adjustments from the Governor's proposed bill. The dollar amounts presented reflect the adjustment the committee made from current law unless otherwise indicated.
Office of Legislative Management:
NEW: Information technology, facilities, SCPD, reseal LOB atrium glass, fix leak in concourse and repair LOB roof gutters and drainage piping: $4,892,200
NEW: CT-N production and studio equipment: $3,230,000
Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (Comptroller's Office):
NEW: Grant-in-aid for transmission, broadcast, production, and information technology equipment: $3,300,000
Office of Policy and Management:
PA 13-239, Sec. 51; SB 29 Sec. 23: Urban Action Program; Add $10 million for an intermodal transportation facility in northeastern Connecticut: $60,000,000
Department of Administrative Services:
NEW: Fire Training Schools: $15,777,672
Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection:
PA 13-239 Sec. 21(d) (2); SB 29, Sec. 32: Alterations and improvements to buildings and grounds, including utilities, mechanical systems and energy conservation projects: No adjustment from current law. (The Governor's bill proposed a $3 million adjustment.)
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection:
NEW: Grants-in-aid or reimbursements for up to $1,000 for the initial installation of a drop box for prescription drugs: $100,000
Department of Economic and Community Development:
SB 29 Sec. 9(b): Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Fund; Add advanced composite materials research and development: $30,000,000
NEW: Grant-in-aid to the Northeast Connecticut Economic Development Alliance: $2,000,000
NEW: Grants-in-aid for cultural and historic projects: $10,000,000
Department of Housing:
SB 29: Shoreline Resiliency Fund: $25,000,000
Department of Public Health:
NEW: Grant-in-aid to public water systems for drinking water projects; Total of $500 million over 10 years beginning in FY 15 - $50 million allocation per year: $50,000,000
Department of Social Services:
NEW: Grant-in-aid to Oak Hill for down payment assistance or capital improvements associated with Camp Hemlocks: $1,000,000
Department of Rehabilitation Services:
NEW: Grant-in-aid for home modifications and assistive technology devices related to aging in place: $5,000,000
Department of Education:
SB 29, Sec. 9(e) (2): School Security Infrastructure Grant Program: $22,000,000
Office of Early Childhood:
NEW: Pre-K competitive grant program: Total authorization of $100 million over 10 years beginning in FY 15 - $10 million automatically authorized and allocated each year: $10,000,000
NEW: eBooks: $2,200,000
Bureau of Highways (STO):
NEW: Reconfigure existing ramp off of the Merritt Parkway in Westport: $3,000,000
Total GO Bonds: $510,509,322
Total STO Bonds: ($7,250,000)
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Benjamin Barnes, Secretary, Office of Policy and Management testified that the original bill increases GO bond authorizations by $370.7 million for the FY 2015 capital program focusing on funding projects and programs that create and retain jobs in the state. He also stated that the bill decreases STO bond authorizations by $10,250,000 due to transferring Town Aid Road to GO bonds for technical reasons.
James Redeker, Commissioner, Department of Transportation testified in strong support of SB 29 and that the original bill increases the Transportation Capital Program by $69.8 million. Commissioner Redeker stated that the increase demonstrates Governor Malloy's ongoing commitment to transportation. He also testified that the adjustments include increases to STO bond authorizations $49.75 million which is offset by the transfer $60 million for the Town Aid Program from STO to GO bonds.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Alicia Piselli, Milford resident testified in support of SB 29 and requested that funds for school security be made available to non-public schools. She testified that like transportation and nursing funding, school security funding should be funded by the State.
Alexis Piechowski, Student at Sacred Heart School, testified in support of SB 29 and requested that Sec. 9 be amended to include school security funding for Catholic schools. She said that it is only fair that the state fund Catholic schools as her parents pay tuition and taxes, some of which goes toward funding public schools.
Bishop Derek L. Calhoun, Founder and Senior Pastor, New Vision International Ministries testified in support of SB 29 and requested that school security funds be made available to technical and charter schools. He stated that school security has always been a concern in his home city of Bridgeport but with recent events there is a new call for concern.
Cary M. Dupont, President, St. Paul Catholic High School supports SB 29 and requested that school security funds be made available to private schools. He stated that his school could use the funds to implement using cameras, replacing doors, and providing for an outdoor alert notification system.
Jeff Shaw, Director of Public Policy, Connecticut Association of Nonprofits supports SB 29. He noted that Sec. 35 increases the total amount of funding by $50 million through proceeds from State GO bonds available for private, nonprofit health and human service organizations exempt under Section 501(c)(3) in SFY15.
Mary C. Roberts, Director, CT Federation of Catholic School Parents testified in support of amending Sec. 9 of SB 29 to make Catholic schools eligible for reimbursements of up to 50% for school security improvements. She stated that she believes that the security of all Connecticut's students should be a priority of the state.
The CT Federation of Catholic School parents also sent in letters requesting that Sec. 9 be amended to include private schools from the following people:
Parents & Teachers:
Alicia Piselli, Alicia Moran, Alexis Rose Piechowski, Brother Brian Davis, Bob Norris, Barbara Skopp, Antonietta Wakefield, Gregory Zohrabian, Andrea E Ramos, Amy McKearney, Allison Bouffard, Daryl W. Osiecki, Daniel Murphy, Cynthia Hartsburg, Carolyn J. Malon, Caroline Perotta, Debra Zito, David Forrler, Diane R. Lipari, Douglas Donato, Dorthy Dauphinais, Donna Ramos-Casiano, Matthew J. Ramos, Martin P. Tristine, Maritza McGraw, Margaret McDonald, Marci Castelli, Lydia Wallace, Leslie Amaroso, Tara Bellefleur, Laurie Fasano Norris, Larry Fitzgerald, Katrina Rizzitelli, Karen Hurley, Judy Palko, Judy Bryant, John and Alice Lambert, Joe Nero, Jo-Anne Gauger, Jenniffer L. Forrler, Jeff Strouse, Jeannine Simard, Hollyann J. Corello, Hamaza Naqvi, Clara Gaudet, Emily Gaudet, Anna Gaudet, Joseph Gaudet, Mary R. Maloney, Elizabeth A. Savluk, Edmund J. Ramos, Ed and Mary Turbert, Nancy Pannese, Michelle Augustine, Michael Nolan, Paul Sideleau, Patricia Bertie, Patricia A. Griffin, Fr. Bill Sangiovanni, Christopher Cipriano, Julie Scalora, Sally and Rick Pauloz, Sophia Bourdreaux, Theresa and Dennis Kelly, Thomas M. Moran, Tonia Roy, Mark Vanese, Wendy and Michael Hiltz, Anthony J. Bosco Jr., Tracy Heim, Carlos Cabrera, Claudette Guillen, Eduardo D. Godoy, Milagros Zayas, Johnny Castro, Roselyn Sel Toro, Mauibu F. Medro, Isabel Rodriguez, Juan Carlos Guzman, Javier Barboza, Jessica Mesias, Juan R. Garcia, Carmen Gonzalez, Nereidz Diaz De Jesus, Eric Perez, Yaritza Garcia, Judith McLeod, Johanna Asenjo, Herleni Lopez, Magaly Morales, Hilagros Pinedo, Silvia J. Grados, Ana L. Vazquez, Leica Rodriguez, Alfredo Olivia, Sarnia Scarlett, William Castellano, Carol Cajahuaringa, Esteban A. Romero, Yadira A. Perez, Hollie Hesias, Miluette Betancourt, Juan Reyes, Magalis Crespo, Ivan Hernandez, Malandy Reyes, Jose Tony Mejia, Cheryl Arthur, Jose Alfredo Viveros, Rosa Alvarez, Luis Alvarez, Michelle Whatley, Anna Williams-Rowe, Ransford Rowe, William Aponte, Amanda Perez-Aponte.
Molly Conway, Paige Phillips, Sona Torosyan, Thomas Miceli, Callie Rutstein, Melania Gluch, Cameron Purdy, Katherine Hurley, Corrine Raphino, Carly Drusedum, Eileen Droney, Brennan Horn, Grace Gunsalus, Jordan Pita, Erin O'Connor, Grace Lawrence, Sarah Burgdorff, Kayla M., Sean, Janey L., Owen Roberts, Kevin, Anna Smith, Nora Staunton, Sam Stiles, Brianna McDermott, Kenzi Lee, Steven Liv, Tori Congdon, Alex Sarkisian, Will Layden, Isaac Riley, Samantha Casciani, John Cashman, Kelci-Brooke Goodison, Gunnar, Emma Forster, Bethany Winters, Meghan O'Shea, Faith Donegan, Mia Seymour, Michael Nolan, Michael Baldini, Matthew Wallser, Mason Woods, Patrick Bidros, Annie Alissi, Katie Dudley, Tyler Connell, Ashleigh Lane, Victoria, Elizabeth Murphy, Erin Conway, Mary O'Connor, Matthew Querfeld, Kathryn Shea, Grace Sawka, Bridget Murphy, Dan Fitzsimmons, Henry, Abby Wilcox, Ben Lavoie, Charles Geller, Owen Olton, Devon Lane
Matthew Nittoly, Executive Director, Side by Side Charter School supports amending Sec. 9 of SB 29 to include charter schools as being eligible to receive school security grant funding. He requested that the Committee not forget about Connecticut's public charter school students.
Representative James Maroney, 119th District testified in support of SB 29 and requested that Sec. 9 be amended to include Catholic schools. He noted that the towns in his district contain three Catholic schools and that they deserve to be funded.
Robert J. Fishman, Executive Director, Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut supports SB 29 and requested that Sec. 9 be amended to include private schools. He noted that he represents 20 Jewish day and high schools and that it is reasonable for the state to provide security funding.
Betsy Gara, Executive Director, Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST) supports provisions in SB 29 including: additional funding for the state's Local Bridge Program, additional funding for the School Security Infrastructure Grant Program, and efforts to assist towns in meeting statewide phosphorus reduction goals.
Christina Inferrea, Service Coordinator, South Park Inn, Inc. supports SB 29 and testified that this will increase funding available to private nonprofit agencies, which have been flat funded over the past 15 years. She stated that agencies like the South Park Inn have been finding it difficult to find funding largely due to the recession and that demand for services remains high.
Jeremiah Grace, Connecticut State Director, Northeast Charter Schools Network supports SB 29 and requested that Sec. 9 be amended to include charter schools. He noted that there are 18 charter schools that serve an estimated 7,000 students in the state. He believes that the state should make all students' safety a priority.
Leah Lopez Schmalz, Connecticut Fund for the Environment supports SB 29. She stated that her organization is especially supportive of Sections 9(c) and 37 which would support the Shoreline Resiliency Fund and port and marina projects, respectively. She stated that these provisions would allow residents to better prepare for climate change, promote public access and commercial business, and provide environmental benefits to the Long Island Sound.
Sister Mary A. McCarthy, RSM, President, Mercy High School supports SB 29 and requests that Sec. 9 be amended to include Catholic and other private schools in being available for school security grant funding. She stated that all students in all schools are vulnerable and deserve to be secure in their respective schools.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
David M. Day, P.E., Public Utilities Superintendent, City of Danbury testified that SB 29 includes level funding for the state's Clean Water Fund and that without increases to the Clean Water Fund, it would be very difficult to get voter support for the municipal bonding that would be required for the work to upgrade Danbury's wastewater treatment facility to comply with DEEP's new limits. He also stated that any municipality should be allowed to be eligible for 50% grant funding for 0.2 mg/l or less phosphorus removal projects.
Garry Brumback, Town Manager, Town of Southington testified that SB 29 should include an increase in the Clean Water Fund. He noted that the upgrade to comply with DEEP's new limits will cost Southington $18.5 million and that any municipality requiring upgrades should be eligible for a 50% increase in the Clean Water Fund grant program.
William W. Dickinson, Jr., Mayor, Town of Wallingford has concerns about SB 29 due to the level funding of the Clean Water Fund. Mayor Dickinson wrote that the initial cost to upgrade Wallingford's facilities would be $19 million which would result in a 32% rate increase. He requested that the reimbursement rate be increased to 90% for phosphorus reduction projects.
Dennis Waz, Public Utilities Superintendent, City of Meriden stated that SB 29 demonstrates the Governor's commitment to assisting municipalities to meet the state's environmental goals but suggested that the reimbursement level from 30% to 50% to help defray some of the cost of the infrastructure improvements needed to meet DEEP's new limits.
James Root, Danbury resident submitted testimony requesting that more transportation funding be provided in SB 29. He stated that due to Connecticut's proximity to New York City, there should be more funding for public train transportation. He believes that with better transportation options, property value will increase.
Raymond E. Drew, Administrator, WPCA, City of Torrington stated that SB 29 includes level funding of the Clean Water Fund and suggested that the reimbursement level for infrastructure improvements to comply with DEEP's new limits should be increased from current levels.
Robert E. Lee, Town Manager, Town of Plainville commented that SB 29 contains language keeping the Clean Water Fund level. He requested that the bill be amended to increase reimbursement rates to 50% for the infrastructure improvement costs so that Plainville could be in compliance without it being a major fiscal burden.
Reported by: Billy Taylor