Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe COVID-19 Recovery Update

The following is an update from First Selectman Jim Marpe on Westport's COVID-19 recovery efforts

Continue to Social Distance and Wear Masks

 We are continuing to monitor the phase 1 reopening in Westport. Town officials and business owners have been working overtime to insure a gradual, safe and efficient reopening of our beaches, local restaurants and retail businesses. That hard work cannot be in vain, and I implore everyone to respect the work that everyone has accomplished so far that benefits ALL of Westport.  Please do your part by respecting the rules. It has been established by prominent federal, state and local health officials, that maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask when outside of your home reduces the risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus. In my opinion, it is a clear demonstration of your respect towards your fellow Westporters to wear a mask whenever you leave you home for whatever reason.

While it is important that everyone wear a mask and socially distance everywhere in town, it is especially relevant for those who are utilizing the sidewalks and areas surrounding Compo Beach. The limited width of the sidewalks, combined with the increased number of people utilizing the sidewalks, boardwalk and side streets in that area necessitates increased precautionary measures. It is recommended that everyone wear a mask and refrain from congregating. There are reminder signs located along the pathways, but we are also requesting self-monitoring. Please do not place other residents or town officials in the uncomfortable position of having to remind others to wear a mask or not to congregate. We are all trying to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Mill Rate and Financial News

Last week, the Board of Finance voted to decrease Westport’s mill rate from 16.86 to 16.71. “The Town has maintained a flat mill rate for the last four years and has one of the lowest mill rates in Fairfield County since the last property revaluation,” said Finance Director Gary Conrad. “This will be very attractive for those in the home buying market and looking at property in Southwestern Connecticut.

“For the upcoming 2020-2021 fiscal year, the Town will reduce the mill rate from 16.86 to 16.71 or .9%, thereby reducing the amount of taxes residents and businesses will need to pay next year.  This will be done while the town maintains a solid reserve fund balance within 9 to 11% of town expenditures, or over $20 million to be held or used for a financial “rainy day.” The reserve fund balance ensures that the town has the capacity to handle the potential adverse effects of any financial downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of sound fiscal management and our Aaa Moody’s rating, Westport was able to issue $34.4 million in a 20-year municipal bond at an interest rate of 1.94% to be used for Board of Education and town capital projects.”

Special Local Traffic Authority Meeting Scheduled

On Tuesday, June 2 at 9 am, the Board of Selectmen, acting in its capacity as the Local Traffic Authority (LTA) will meet to discuss the following items:

1)  review of the trucking route plans proposed by the Aquarion Water Company for bringing equipment and materials to the water tank construction site located on North Avenue in Westport. More information on this project will be forthcoming.

2)  review of the street and sidewalk closure plans proposed by the Downtown Merchants Association to allow for pedestrian only access on Main Street and Church Lane.

The meeting will be held electronically, live streamed on www.westportct.gov, and broadcast on Westport’s Optimum Government Access Channel 79 and Frontier Channel 6020.

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