The What: This Week in Southwest Connecticut

The What is your look around southwest Connecticut for the week of August 15.

The What: This Week in Southwest Connecticut
Mid-August? Say it ain't so...Photo by Kelly Prinz

Monday, August 15

Happy Monday! This week, we’re exploring how local cities and towns in southwest Connecticut are planning to spend about $2 billion dollars this year in our communities.

I remember a few months back, listening to budget meetings, when I heard Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons tell the Board of Representatives and Board of Finance members in March that: “Budgets are a reflection of our values as a city.”

That line stuck with me, and I used it as a guiding principle for our new series, which took a look at the budgets that began on July 1, 2022. We explored how the region as a whole is dividing its funding and then broke down each municipality’s budget into about 10 areas, including education, public safety, public works, and more.

A look at the funding breakdown by region. (For an interactive graphic, check out our budget article)

Some findings:

  • More than half of the funds in our region are going toward education. While the percentage varies by community, education was the largest budget section for every community.
  • Employee benefits and pensions made up a significant section of each municipality’s budget—and 13% of the region’s budgets as a whole
  • Public safety and public works were usually the next biggest ticket items, with about 11% and 7% going to address those issues respectively.
  • Unsurprisingly, the budget in each municipality increased from the previous year, but it was Norwalk which saw the biggest year-over-year increase of about 4.4%.
  • Other communities’ approximate increases: Fairfield: 3.8% increase | Greenwich: 3.7% increase | Darien: 3.2% increase | Westport: 2% increase | Stamford: 1.5% increase
  • This might be fun for just the budget nerds out there—aka the writer of this newsletter!— but communities do not break down their budgets their same way. For example, some communities categorize planning and zoning under economic development, while others place it under general government. Some have separate parks and recreation categories, while others have as part public works. Because of this, we tried to keep departments in the same category as others had it, so we moved some departments around to try and make it consistent across the area.

Explore our budget story on the region as a whole.

If you’re just interested in a specific community, here’s a breakdown of funding by city and town:

Greenwich | Stamford | Darien | Norwalk | Westport | Fairfield

It’s another relatively light week for meetings this week—especially outside of Stamford and Darien, but here’s a look at what’s happening this week.


On Monday, August 15 at 6:30 p.m., the Operations Committee of the Board of Representatives will receive an update on the West Main Street Bridge. Lou Casolo, the city’s engineer, told the Zoning Board in July that the existing structure was too dangerous for people to use. The bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic for many years due to “its unsafe condition,” but had remained open to pedestrians, except around times of storms for “fear of collapse.”

Now, Casolo told the Zoning Board that they will be closing the bridge to everyone and working to install a prefabricated pedestrian bridge farther up the river. The plans for the pedestrian bridge have been already approved, but the city is continuing its conversations for what it should do with the West Main Street Bridge itself. Some residents, particularly those from the West Side, have asked that it be reconstructed to allow for cars to use it, while others argue that keeping only open to pedestrians makes it safer and increases walkability in the city.

The Operations Committee of the Board of Education is meeting on Tuesday, August 16 at 7 p.m. The committee will receive an update on work done at the schools over the summer as well as an update on the Westhill School construction project and the overall master facilities plan.

On Thursday, August 18 at 7 p.m., the State and Commerce Committee of the Board of Representatives will be hosting a public hearing on an update to the city’s ordinance on outdoor dining. Take a look at the proposed ordinance.


Dive into Stamford’s $631 million budget and see how the city divides up its funding.

Other meetings this week include


Explore Norwalk’s $414 million budget and see how the city divides up its funding.

Other meetings this week include


Take a look at Fairfield’s $345 million budget and see how the town plans to fund each area.

Other meetings this week include

  • Tuesday, August 16: Forestry Committee at 9:30 a.m. | Harbor Management Commission at 4:30 p.m. | Flood & Erosion Control Board at 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 17: Parks & Recreation Commission at 7 p.m. | Conservation Commission at 7 p.m. | Water Pollution Control Authority at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 18: Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee at 6 p.m.


There are no city meetings published for Greenwich this week.

The Planning and Zoning Department’s survey on outdoor dining regulations is due on Tuesday, August 16. If you are a Greenwich resident looking to weigh in on what restaurants should and shouldn’t be allowed to do outdoors, you have a few more days left to fill it out.


Check out Greenwich’s approximately $465 million budget and how the town divides up its funding.


The Board of Finance will meet on Tuesday, August 16 at 7:30 p.m. and get an update on the  status of financing on the purchase of Great Island. CT Examiner reported this week that the due diligence period for the town’s purchase of Great Island has been extended to March 2023, with a new closing set for April 20, 2023.

At the Board of Selectmen meeting last week, First Selectwoman Monica McNally said that it was a “mutually agreed” decision between the town and the Steinkraus family selling the property to push the date back.

This allows the town to “take the necessary steps to address the outstanding issues and complete the purchase that will result in making Great Island available to all of our community for years to come,” she said.


See Darien’s $159 million budget and how the town allocates its funds.

Other meetings this week include

  • Tuesday, August 16: Sewer Commission at 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 17: Parks & Recreation Commission at 7:30 p.m.


Take a look at Westport’s $222.8 million budget and see how the town breaks down its funding.

Other meetings this week include

Please note: All of these agendas and information here are current as of Sunday night. Meeting times and agendas may get adjusted throughout the week.

Thank you for reading!

If you are interested in being a part of our reporting or just want to share your thoughts, please reach out at

Have a great week,

Kelly Prinz

Founder, Reporter at Coastal Connecticut Times