We are entering this weekend with 50 confirmed positive cases for the virus in Madison, an increase of 13 over the last week. Contact tracing has shown roughly 55% of those cases have successfully recovered, others are on the upswing. While new cases are disheartening, we remain hopeful that community spread will slow, and that social distancing is working. We are not at the peak, in fact, we are at the acceleration phase of the virus so we must remain vigilant in our efforts. As always, we ask everyone to remember and pray for all those who have been afflicted by this horrible disease.
Many people have reached out to me about the town’s plans for next year’s budget, which goes into effect July 1st. In lieu of our typical process which would require in-person voting at a referendum in late May, the Governor recently issued an executive order that mandates the town’s Board of Finance, our budget making authority, to approve a final budget. Two weeks ago the Board of Finance met and voted to move forward a modified budget that reflects current economic uncertainty, maintains essential services for our residents, and meets the town’s financial and contractual obligations. This proposed budget would result in a minimal mill rate increase of around 1% which is well below historic averages. Details on the budget have been published in this week’s issue of The Source, and are available on the town’s website at https://www.madisonct.org/874/Budget-Information.
As in previous years, the Board of Finance will conduct a public hearing on April 29th at 7 p.m. through a Zoom webinar platform. Details and links to access the Public Hearing are on the town’s meeting calendar. The Board of Finance will meet again on May 5th to set the final mill rate for the next fiscal year. Residents can send comments on the budget prior to the Public Hearing by emailing the Board at email@example.com. Tax bills will continue to be issued in June like previous years, but the last day to pay the first installment without penalty will be extended to October 1st due to the tax deferment program adopted by the Board of Selectmen earlier this week.
For those families who are struggling financially or emotionally, I want to remind you again that Madison Youth and Family Services is here for you and has developed a special COVID assistance program. They can help with providing guidance, financial assistance, basic needs, and mental health support; and connect homebound residents with the necessary support to stay safe at home. In addition to this program, they will continue to modify and/or add several services and programs to help with the ongoing COVID Pandemic. Any adult or youth (64 years old or younger) can call and leave a confidential message for Madison Youth and Family Services at (203) 245-5645 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their voicemail prompt includes an option to reach staff directly for urgent matters, otherwise they will return most messages by the next business day. I encourage anyone with a need, concern or question to contact them.
As a mother of two young children, I recognize the need to get out of the house. We are fortunate to have some beautiful places in our town to exercise and take in the fresh spring air. However, I’ve had a number of residents raise concerns about pedestrian behavior in high traffic areas such as Middle Beach Road. Please be mindful of social distancing requirements while enjoying exercise or a leisurely stroll by walking six feet apart and single file. Also try to walk facing the traffic so ongoing cars can see you and you can see them.
Stay dry this weekend given the impending rain, and let’s continue to stay safe, healthy, and at home Madison.