During the Legislative Special Session on Wednesday, December 19th, I fought to include language that will allow capital grant funds given to municipalities to be used for enhancing school security systems into the Deficit Mitigation Bill which was passed by the Legislature late last night.
After discussing the proposal with legislative leadership, my proposal was adapted into the Deficit Mitigation Bill, the bi-partisan agreement created to close Connecticut’s $252 million budget deficit.
The funds for these security enhancements will be provided by Connecticut’s Local Capital Improvement Fund Program. This year, $30 million will be available to municipalities under this program.
Typically towns will use this money for local projects, this legislation will allow towns the option to use these funds to update the security in their school buildings.
Sadly, this proposal comes just days after 6 educators and 20 children tragically lost their lives at a deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
For years, Ridgefield used funds from the Local Capital Improvement Program to expand our town’s sidewalks. Given the horrible tragedy which fell upon Sandy Hook, this measure will allow towns, like Ridgefield, to put these state funds towards updating and improving security in our schools. This legislation will help any town, who may not ordinarily have the funds available, ensure that our children have what they need to be safe in their schools.
I'd also like to thank Republican Minority Leader Larry Cafero, House Speaker Chris Donovan, Senate Republican Minority Leader John McKinney and Senate President Don Williams for their support of the legislation.
The idea for expanding the area these funds would be authorized came to me only last night, after the bill we acted upon today was in its final draft form. I thank the leaders of the four caucuses who recognized the importance of making this change immediately and agreeing to add the necessary language to the bill.
The Deficit Mitigation Plan passed both the House of Representatives and Senate, and will now move to the Governor for his signature.
Rep. John Frey, Minority Whip, represents the 111th General Assembly District covering Ridgefield
Note: See attached recent spreadsheet from OPM indicating each municipalities annual grant and total funds available.