HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It was supposed to be history-making — a state bond commission meeting held virtually.
“This is a brave new world we are doing this virtually for the first time,” Governor Ned Lamont said.
And with that history was to be made, but the first-ever virtual state bond commission meeting failed right before a vote on $5 million to fight COVID-19.
“I can’t hear a thing,” said State Senator Kevin Witkos a bond commission member.
“Hey guys, I gotta tell you I don’t think this is working,” responded a frustrated Lamont.
Lawmakers and state leaders could not hear one another over the teleconference and there was a seven-second TV delay.
After a half hour, the meeting resumed and then adjourned after techs were unable to fix the technical glitches.
“The governor has just indicated that due to technology challenges we are going to adjourn the meeting, resolve technology issues and reschedule as soon as possible,” said Melissa McCaw Secretary of Office of Policy and Management.
The money set to be approved was likely going toward coronavirus test kits, personal protective gear and National Guard tents.
How that money will eventually be handed out and which towns will get funds? Those questions, and others, are being worked on by the Office of Policy and Management.
The total bond package is $4.7 billion over two years. Waiting since last summer, town and city leaders will have to wait longer.
These are important projects and funding needed at the municipal level,” said First Selectman Mike Freda, North Haven.
The money includes:
- $60M Town Aid Road (TAR).
- $30M Local Capital Improvement Program (LOCIP).
- $76M grants in aid to municipalities.
- $475M school construction.
- $30M wind turbine project New London.
- $130.5M new buses and trains.
- $146,000 Norwich police body cameras reimbursement.
There is also $22 million for the Fix it First Bridge Program for construction like the Charter Oak Bridge project in Hartford.
Connecticut Conference of Municipalities spokesman Kevin Maloney issued the following statement to News 8:
The meeting was canceled because of technical difficulties, not due to a lack of willingness. We hope it will be rescheduled soon.
Still , with the postponement of this state bond commission meeting, towns move even closer to end of their fiscal year without the state funds they had budgeted for to complete needed road and bridge repairs, capital improvements and clean water projects.
Towns will either have to allocate unbudgeted local revenues to complete the projects or defer on their completion into next fiscal year which may bring about an even greater state of disrepair for critical infrastructure in their community.
The bond meeting has been rescheduled to Thursday, April 16.