By State Senator Norm Needleman.
As we see an increasing rate of COVID-19 cases, we have to remain vigilant in protecting our personal health and that of our loved ones. Please remember to wash your hands, practice social distancing, and wear a mask when out in public settings. These everyday health safety steps help to slow the spread of COVID-19.
I want to share a few new developments happening in our region and updates on resources that may be of assistance to you.
This Wednesday is Veterans Day, and I would like to take a moment to recognize the countless brave men and women who sacrificed in the name of serving our nation. Without their efforts, our country would be a much different place. Our veterans deserve our support every day and we must take time to remember what they’ve accomplished for our communities.
CT CARES Small Business Grant Program to Open This Week
Applications for the CT CARES Small Business Grant Program, announced in October, will be available this week. Small businesses struggling with the pandemic can apply for a $5,000 grant to help with rent, payroll and other expenses they are having difficulties with. When the application is live, it will be available here.
Check my Facebook page – I will post when the CT CARES Small Business Grant Program application is live.
State Approves $11 Million in Capital Improvement Project Funding
The state has awarded $11 million in funding for capital improvement projects in 94 towns, awarding STEAP funding for the first time since 2016. The funding will support towns with expenditures related to ongoing pandemic response, including in new construction, expansion, renovation or replacement of existing facilities. These efforts will help modernize local infrastructure and improve overall resources and offerings available to a majority of local municipalities. I’m pleased to share several towns in our region will receive funding for projects including:
- Chester: $85,744.15 in state funding has been approved to implement a public Wi-Fi internet service. This will be matched by $10,000 from the town.
- Clinton: $128,205 in state funding has been approved for a commercial façade grant program to improve exterior conditions as part of the Clinton Business Improvement Initiative. This will be matched by $26,975 from the town.
- Deep River: $119,000 in state funding has been approved for technological enhancements to improve public access as part of the town’s open government project. This will be matched by $79,000 from the town.
- Essex: $128,000 in state funding has been approved for parking lot improvements at The Lofts at Spencer’s Corner. This will be matched by $10,000 from the town.
- Haddam: $128,205 in state funding has been approved for the Higganum Community Sewer Project. This will be matched by $148,595 from the town.
- Old Saybrook: $128,205 in state funding has been approved for new restroom facilities at the town park. This will be matched by $17,895 from the town.
- Portland: $128,205 in state funding has been approved for the replacement of the water main on Brownstone Avenue. This will be matched by $293,655 from the town.
- Westbrook: $128,205 in state funding has been approved for the engineering, design, and construction of sidewalks on Boston Post Road. This will be matched by $166,195 from the town.
Navy Announces $9.5 Billion Contract with Electric Boat
The U.S. Navy announced this month it will enter a $9.5 billion multiyear contract with Electric Boat for the construction of next-generation submarines. This is significant funding for important national security projects, additionally protecting numerous local jobs for years to come. The overall deal will provide significant benefits to Connecticut, with great work still to come.
Connecticut No Longer in Severe Drought
After significant rainfall in recent weeks, the worrying trend of drought conditions spreading across the state has reversed. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Connecticut’s drought classifications have fallen, with no county in the state seeing conditions beyond “moderate” drought. As of November 3, all of Fairfield County and western parts of Litchfield and New Haven counties no longer have any drought conditions; eastern Litchfield and New Haven counties, southern Hartford County, western New London County and all of Middlesex County have abnormally dry conditions, reduced from “moderate drought;” and northern Hartford County, eastern New London County and Tolland and Windham counties are now in “moderate drought,” a significant reduction from “severe drought” last month. Since drought conditions were reported in Connecticut in the late summer, significant rainfall drastically improved them in October.
Reopening of Residential Renters Assistance Program
Connecticut is opening a second round of funding under the Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP) to applicants seeking assistance with residential rent payments delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The program will now accept applications directly from small landlords. TRHAP provides landlords with up to $4,000 in rental assistance on behalf of approved tenants. During the first round, more than $2.2 million in residential rent relief was distributed to landlords.