New state budget increases grant money to Norwich

Norwich — The city will receive an additional $320,000 in municipal grants over what was anticipated in the initial budget Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released in February, city officials said Thursday.

The City Council on Monday delayed making changes to the city manager’s proposed $118.4 million combined city and school budget while waiting for updated grant figures to be released in the final budget bills approved when the state legislative session ended Wednesday. The City Council will hold a second budget public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Monday on the preliminary budget.

City Manager Alan Bergren’s proposed budget included a 1.5 percent increase in the school budget, falling $572,000 short of the Board of Education’s request. Alderman Mark Bettencourt on Monday said he would support adding some money to the school budget, but asked the council to delay making budget revisions until the final state figures were calculated.

Democratic Mayor Deberey Hinchey, a strong supporter of Malloy’s, announced the grant total in a press release Thursday that also praised numerous programs championed by Malloy she said would benefit Norwich residents. Hinchey thanked Malloy and the city’s four legislators for supporting funding for programs ranging from additional slots for preschool students to tax breaks for elderly residents and technology infrastructure improvements to state colleges.

Malloy’s budget funded an additional 1,020 preschool slots in the state’s neediest districts this year, Norwich being one of them. The budget also provides funding for professional development for child care providers.

“The children of the City of Norwich will be able to benefit from this innovative program,” Hinchey said.

Hinchey also cited the governor’s “Go Back to Get Ahead” return to college program that allows former college students to take up to three free matching courses at state schools. Hinchey said Three Rivers should benefit from the initiative.

“I am looking forward to the initiatives that are the corner stone of this budget, and feel that the citizens of Norwich have benefitted greatly from the Governor’s hard work and understanding what municipalities continue to need," Hinchey said.

c.bessette@theday.com

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