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COVID-19 Notices - Town of West Hartford

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Town Buildings Open to Customers by Appointment Beginning August 3 (Release Date: July 30, 2020)
WEST HARTFORD, CT – Beginning Monday, August 3, Town buildings such as Town Hall will reopen for in-person transactions by appointment only. These appointments will be for critical needs that can only be accomplished in-person.

Drop-in visits will not be permitted. Doors will remain locked. All town departments continue to operate, providing services to residents and businesses, while the physical building is closed to the public. Most transactions can be conducted via the town’s website (www.westhartfordct.gov), by phone, email and postal mail.

Upon arrival, visitors with an appointment can expect the following:

Be greeted outside by a staff person from the department you are visiting
Be required to wear a face covering
Given some hand sanitizer
Be asked if he/she has traveled outside of Connecticut in the last 14 days? If so, where?
Asked to complete a health screening form with their own pen.

Questions will include:
Have you had an exposure of more than 10 minutes and closer than 6 feet to a person who had a test confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days?
Have you had close contact with or cared for someone diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days?
Have you experienced any cold or flu-like symptoms in the last 14 days (fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, or new loss of taste or smell)?

Visitors answering ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, will not be permitted access into the building and will be given an alternate manner in which to complete the transaction.

Once inside the building, visitors will be escorted to the intended destination.

“The COVID-19 global pandemic has drastically changed how we conduct our business for the foreseeable future. The safety of our employees and customers is paramount and is the primary consideration of all our actions,” said Town Manager Matt Hart.

“On behalf of the Town Council, we are glad to be able to open our buildings for critical services that can only be conducted in-person,” said Mayor Shari Cantor. “We are proceeding with each step cautiously to ensure we are doing the right thing at the right time.”

State of Connecticut Temporary Mortgage Assistance Program (T-MAP) | (Release Date: July 28, 2020)
WEST HARTFORD, CT – The state and federal government have taken a number of steps to help protect homeowners and renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, with financial support from the State of Connecticut, has launched a homeowner assistance program for low and moderate income households in Connecticut who are struggling to pay their mortgages due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Up to $10 million in emergency loan funds are available to help homeowners pay their housing costs so they may remain in their homes as they work to regain financial stability.
  • Eligible homeowners with incomes at or below the 120% of the area median income will be eligible to apply for up to $25,000 in the form of a second mortgage loan.
  • Potential applicants should call 860-785-3111 to speak to a call center representative to determine threshold eligibility, after which a detailed application must be completed including verification of documentation.

In addition, for those borrowers who do not qualify, many banks and credit unions in Connecticut are offering relief consumers may qualify for. Please read the information on this web site in order to determine which option meets your needs.

For more information about the program, visit https://www.chfa.org

State of Connecticut Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP)

The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, with financial support from the State of Connecticut, has launched a rental assistance program for Connecticut residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is administered through the Department of Housing

  • Potential applicants should call 860-785-3111 to speak to a call center representative to determine threshold eligibility, after which a detailed application must be completed including verification of documentation.
  • Initial priority for assistance will be targeted at individuals and families who have been denied unemployment assistance from the Department of Labor.
  • If you are unemployed/under-employed and have not yet filed for unemployment assistance, you should do so as soon as possible.
  • Please make every attempt to remain in contact with your landlord and to make rental payments.

For more information about the program, visit https://www.chfa.org

 

Absentee Ballot Application for the August 11th Primary are being mailed (Release Date: July 1, 2020)

WEST HARTFORD, CT – Voter Hotline Activated. West Hartford residents will begin receiving Absentee Ballot Applications from the Secretary of State’s Office in the mail starting today. Applications will be sent only to registered Democrats and Republicans, as it is for the August primary only.

If you wish to receive a ballot, please complete the application and return it in the self-addressed stamped envelope provided. If you do not receive an application by July 15th, and wish to receive a ballot, please call our Voter Hotline at 860-561-7458.

Please note: Ballots will be mailed out starting July 21st.

If you have any questions regarding the application or how to register to vote, please go to www.westhartfordct.gov/townclerk and click on Absentee Ballots or go to www.westhartfordct.gov/vote and click on Voter Registration and additional information. Our Voter Hotline at 860-561-7458 is operational Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM.

Community Advisory Notification System: Mayor's Update (Release Date: June 4)
WEST HARTFORD, CT – Good evening, this is Shari Cantor.  I’m calling you tonight not just as your Mayor, but as your neighbor. 

The past few months have been an incredibly difficult period. The entire world has been transformed by illness and social isolation laying bare inequalities and hardships. And now the tragic, senseless and cruel murder of George Floyd is a clear and glaring alarm of how far our country has to go in addressing racial injustice.  The effects of centuries of slavery and institutionalized racism continue to negatively impact communities of color throughout America.

There are times when it feels as though the great American experiment is teetering on the brink. 

Yet every day I hear stories of hope – stories of frontline health workers separated from their families, selflessly providing care and comfort to those who are sick; people who pickup groceries for their elderly neighbors; teachers who spend extra time with at-risk students learning from home; and brave police and firefighters who run toward danger.

On Tuesday night, thousands of us gathered in front of Town Hall in peaceful protest, to express our collective anguish and demand reform.  We were supported by West Hartford police officers, who watched and listened as their leader and chief, a black American, talked about the prejudice he has faced in his life and took a knee. Our society faces existential questions about race, equality, and human rights, and I thank the brave protesters who shared their experience that night.

Words, however, must become action, and change begins with each and every one of us as individuals.  It must happen in ways both big and small, and it requires us all to do our part. 

Listen to each other.

Recognize and confront our own biases. 

Love your neighbors. 

Be good. 

Struggle is part of human existence – it’s how we deal with struggle that defines us, and we must commit ourselves to ensuring that each person is treated with the respect and dignity that every human deserves. 

Good night.

And God bless all of you.

Community Advisory Notification System: Mayor's Update (Release Date: May 28, 2020)
WEST HARTFORD, CT – Hi this is Mayor Shari Cantor. I want to thank so many of you for protecting your loved ones, neighbors, friends, essential workers, first responders, and healthcare workers, by following the CDC guidelines of vigorous handwashing, physical distancing and wearing facial coverings every time you are in public and unable to maintain 6 feet of distance.

The virus is still very present in our region. Our country has recently marked the sobering and tragic milestone of over 100,000 victims who succumbed to this insidious virus. With the rapid spread of the Covid-19 and the need for social distancing, our communities have barely had the opportunity to grieve and honor the people we have lost.  Our thoughts are with all of these families and wish them our sympathy and peace.

If you can give – please support our neighbors in need. Please visit the town’s webpage for the growing number of needed items in our food pantry and please donate to our Town that Cares Fund, which assists residents experiencing a crisis that impacts their ability to pay for food, utility bills, shelter costs, medical expenses and other critical needs.

The Governor’s new guidelines have eased some restrictions but Covid-19 is still here. We need to practice community responsibility now more than ever to keep the virus from spreading. I wear my face covering to protect you and you wear yours to protect me.

Many of our favorite businesses are opening and we are thrilled to visit and support these cherished businesses.

We can protect our health and support our businesses ONLY IF we practice the CDC guidelines.  I want to keep taking steps forward but we can only do this if we act responsibly.

Without the use of face coverings and physical distancing, we all will experience an increase in community spread of this very serious virus.  

I want to congratulate the many college and high school graduates for their remarkable achievements as they celebrate in unconventional, and most certainly, memorable ways. Our town high schools, Hall and Conard, will be holding a drive-in graduation at the Farmington Polo Grounds on June 24th and 25th. We are proud of your accomplishments and wish you a fulfilling future.  We celebrate you all.

A couple of reminders –

Dog license renewal month is June. Information and applications on how to renew or receive a new dog license are available on the Town Clerk’s website.  

Tax bills will be going out in mid-June.  If you are experiencing financial hardship, please check our website to learn about tax relief programs the Town Council has adopted to help you. 

During the first phase of this crisis, we felt direct communication on a weekly basis was important to keep the community informed.  We are beginning an incremental recovery phase that brings a level of stability and less of a need for urgent communications. We will continue to keep you up-to-date on important information, however, in a variety of ways including email and social media messages.

Please continue to protect each other by hand washing, physical distancing and wearing face coverings and ring your bells at 7PM on Friday to honor everyone that supports you.

Be well and be safe.

Thank you for listening.

West Hartford Celebrates Memorial Day Virtually (Release Date: May 22, 2020)   
WEST HARTFORD, CT – Each year, West Hartford takes great pride in celebrating Memorial Day with a parade and ceremony. Due to restrictions on social gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, and in an effort to control the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, events for Memorial Day are canceled, but not forgotten.

On May 25th, West Hartford Community Interactive will air a special virtual Memorial Day ceremony at 10:00 AM, complete with West Hartford Police and Fire color guards, a performance by Amelia Tripp of Hall High School who will sing the National anthem and Anna Siciliano of King Philip Middle School who will play TAPS. Mayor Shari Cantor will provide a special message, Rev. Dana Hallenbeck will give a prayer, and State Sen. Cathy Osten from the 19th Senatorial District, commander of American Legion Post 85, and an Army veteran, will deliver the keynote address. The ceremony will conclude with a list of West Hartford veterans who have passed away since last Memorial Day. The names will scroll at the end of the program.

All of the elements of this ceremony were filmed separately to keep social distancing by West Hartford Community Interactive. The ceremony will air on Comcast channel 5 and Frontier channel 6098.

In addition, town staff, assisted by members of the American Legion, have placed over 1200 American flags on the graves of West Hartford natives who served our country in one of the armed forces. Typically, the flag planting event draws hundreds of people to Fairview Cemetery on the Saturday before the holiday. But, in an effort to control the spread of the virus, the event has been canceled.

Memorial Day is a holiday in which we honor the more than 1 million men and women who have lost their lives defending America since the Revolutionary War. For West Hartford, 236 brave souls answered the call and paid the ultimate price to defend our nation’s freedom since 1776. By remembering them, we honor their service.

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MEDIA CONTACTS  
Renée McCue, public relations specialist, Town of West Hartford, 860-913-5149, renee@westhartfordct.gov  
Jennifer Evans, executive director, West Hartford Community TV, 860-560-6878, jennifer@westhartfordct.gov 

As Part of the Governor's Executive Order PP, Tennis and Pickleball Courts Can Reopen (Release Date: May 22)  

WEST HARTFORD, CT – Starting on May 22, 2020, Town of West Hartford tennis and pickleball courts will open on a limited basis (50 percent capacity). Click here to view court layout. Some courts are not open due to pending repair. No doubles allowed. Practice physical distancing. Safety rules will be posted and enforced. Click here to view the Player Guidelines.

Businesses to Reopen with Outdoor Dining and Outdoor Retail (Release date: May 20, 2020) 
 WEST HARTFORD, CT – The Town of West Hartford looks forward to assisting  restaurants and retailers reopen in accordance with Executive Order 7MM beginning Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

In an effort to help businesses navigate the rules and requirements of reopening, a web page and electronic application has been created on the Town’s site, https://www.westhartfordct.gov/gov/departments/pz/outdoor_dining.asp.

“The success of our all of our businesses is important. We are here to help them get restarted,” said Mayor Shari Cantor. Matt Hart, Town Manager, added “we’ve worked to make the digital application for outdoor dining and retail as streamlined and user-friendly as possible. We’ve already received a number of submissions through our new portal.”

To reopen, businesses must meet state and town requirements.

State of Connecticut Guidance / Requirements

The State of Connecticut has issued guidance for the reopening of outdoor dining and retail spaces to be effective Wednesday May 20, 2020. 

All restaurants and retailers seeking to reopen must self-certify and commit to comply with the Sector Rules established to keep their employees and customers safe.  The State of Connecticut has created an online self-certification portal available here: https://business.ct.gov/recovery.

  • Reopen Connecticut Sector Rules for Restaurants (Outdoor Dining Only) are available here.

Reopen Connecticut Sector Rules for Retail are available here.

Executive Order 7 MM was issued to simplify and create an expedited municipal approval process for expanded outdoor dining and retail activities.  A copy of the Order is available here

Town of West Hartford Special Application for Outdoor Dining and Outdoor Retail

The Special Application applies to all new or expanded outdoor dining and outdoor retail as defined in Executive Order No. 7MM.  In addition, a separate Health District Application is required for new or expanded outdoor dining. Approval authorized by this Special Application shall be valid as long as the Executive Order remains in effect and supersedes any existing outdoor dining permit approvals from the Town of West Hartford.  There is fee associated with this special application.  

Restaurants with existing outdoor dining permits may operate under those permits provided that there is no expansion of either seat count or dining area, and operation is in full compliance with the REOPEN Connecticut Sector Rules for Restaurants (Outdoor Dining Only).  However, if any alterations to kitchen or food preparation areas are made, a separate review by the Health District will be required.  

A copy of the Special Application is available here.

A copy of the Health District application is available here.

Completed Heath District Applications should be emailed to Chris Hansen at Christopher.Hansen@WestHartfordCT.gov

The Special Application review will be conducted by the Town’s Local Enforcement Officials, including the Director of Health, Director of Public Works, Chief Building Official, Fire Marshal, and Zoning Enforcement Officer. 

Applications will be reviewed and approved in 10 days or less after a complete application is received. 

For questions or help with the Special Application review process, please contact Brian Pudlik, Zoning Enforcement Officer at brian.pudlik@westhartfordct.gov.

For questions or help with Health District Application review process, please contact Chris Hansen, Environmental Sanitarian III at Christopher.Hansen@WestHartfordCT.gov.

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MEDIA CONTACTS

Town Manager Matt Hart, matthew.hart@westhartfordct.gov, 860-617-3940

Mayor Shari Cantor, Mayor@westhartfordct.gov, 860-416-9611


West Hartford Community Advisory: Mayor's Announcements (Release date: May 14, 2020)
WEST HARTFORD, CT - Hi -This is Mayor Shari Cantor, Thank you West Hartford for your commitment to each other, protecting yourself, your family, neighbors, community, essential workers, first responders and healthcare workers.

Although the increase is declining, West Hartford continues to have positive cases and deaths related to Covid 19. Vigorous hand washing, physical distancing and facial coverings are essential to controlling this virus.

The symptoms for Covid 19 continues to change and is now to be found to be presenting in children. Learn to identify the symptoms by referencing this fact sheet on Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome.

If you are feeling sick or have been exposed to someone that has tested positive for Covid-19, call your health provider and get tested. A list of FDA testing centers is found on our web site.

This week, the town has entered into a unique partnership with The Jackson Laboratory to provide Covid-19 testing to all of our first responders administered by our own paramedics allowing prompt information to manage and protect staff and the greater community.

The Governor has outlined the first phase of easing of restrictions, effective May 20.  West Hartford town staff is working with businesses to expand outdoor commerce in a creative and safe manner. Each business will be making its own decision as to whether they will open with the restrictions as outlined by the state.

The State of Connecticut is distributing surgical masks to essential small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Eligible businesses can request two masks per employee through the CT Covid Response website: https://www.ctcovidresponse.org/request-masks-for-ct-small-business.

On Tuesday, West Hartford was one of the first municipalities in the state to adopt a budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 in a virtual environment. I am proud that this no-tax increase budget was adopted with bipartisan support, and maintains our strong commitment to public safety, health, education, and high-quality town services while remaining flexible to react to the uncertainty that lies ahead.

We want to make sure our taxpayers are aware that the town has adopted two state programs to provide temporary property tax relief.

The first is a tax deferment program extending the due date for eligible tax payers from August 3rd to October 1 and the second is an interest rate reduction for delinquent tax bills as of April 1 through June 30th.  For more details, please visit our website westhartfordct.gov/COVIDtaxrelief.

One final reminder, it is more important than ever to make sure everyone is counted in the 2020 Census. Please take 5 minutes to complete your Census questionnaire. Everyone counts in West Hartford!

Lastly, I am inspired by the generosity and thoughtfulness of our community during these challenging times.  We are collecting these stories and posting them on our web page so we can share these wonderful acts of kindness with you. Go to www.westhartfordct.gov/we-heart-ford.

Be well and be safe.

Thank you for listening.

Rockledge Golf Club Will Re-open Sunday May 10th (Release date: May 8, 2020)
WEST HARTFORD, CT - The following measures are being taken:

- We will be issuing starting times using 10 minute intervals to help with social distancing protocol.  We will not be accepting walk-on  play. All times will be given online only. Tee times for May 10th-15th will be made available on Friday May 8th at 10am.

- For the remainder of the season Weekdays will be available 7 days in advance starting at 6 am. Weekends and holidays will be available 4 days in advance at 6 am. Please go to rockledgegolf.com to book your time. 

- Credit card will be the only form of payment excepted for all transactions. No receipts will be given out for transactions. If you need a receipt we can email one to you.

- Masks must be worn when checking in at the Golf Shop.

- Access to the Golf Shop and bathrooms will be restricted. Bathrooms will be open at the Snack Bar for public use.

- Scorecards and pencils will not be available for use. A PDF file of a Rockledge scorecard is available on rockledgemensclub.com

- On the course all cups will have a foam insert in the cup. We ask that you do not touch or remove the flag stick.

- All rakes have been removed from bunkers.  Please do your best to smooth out bunkers with your feet upon leaving.

- If a golfer chooses to ride they will be assigned their own golf cart.  No one will be allowed to ride on the passengers side. Players from the same household may ride together (ex: Husband and Wife).  After each round the golf carts will be washed and sanitized.

- All range equipment will be washed and sanitized on a regular basis.

- IMPORTANT: There will be absolutely no congregating allowed around the golf shop or in the parking lot at anytime.  

We request that golfers maintain proper social distancing rules and do whatever they can to keep our facility a safe environment for all to enjoy.  When in doubt, stay home, stay healthy and reduce the curve.

Thank You ,
The Rockledge Staff

West Hartford Community Advisory: Schools Stay Closed (Release date: May 7, 2020)
WEST HARTFORD, CT - Hi, This is Mayor Shari Cantor. You are being responsible and you are helping your family, neighbors, essential workers, first responders and healthcare workers with your everyday actions. We must stay strong and committed to protecting each other.

The weather is getting warmer, the flowers are in bloom and it feels like a new season, but we need to remember that the virus Covid-19 is still here.  It has never left.

Instead, it has been our own actions, physical distancing and protecting others by wearing face coverings, that have been slowing the spread.  This is something we not only can do, but we MUST DO to protect our community.

If you are feeling sick or have been exposed to someone that has tested positive for Covid-19, call your health provider and get tested. A list of testing centers is found on our web site.

Testing is key to our way out of this pandemic. The more we test, the more we know.

A lot is happening. This week, the State announced that schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

On a positive note, I am pleased to announce the Town’s golf courses will be re-opening on Sunday.  We will continue to monitor and retain the option to close if we cannot maintain safe physical distancing on the course and in the parking lots.

Next week, the Town Council will be adopting the budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year on Tuesday May 12th. We want to make sure our taxpayers are aware that the town has adopted the two state programs to provide temporary property tax relief.

The first is a tax deferment program extending the due date for eligible tax payers from August 3rd to October 1. The second is an interest rate reduction for delinquent tax bills as of April 1 through June 30th. 

For more details, please visit our website westhartfordct.gov/COVIDtaxrelief.

The health and well-being of our community is of the utmost importance to me. All of the decisions we make in the coming weeks and months need to adhere to CDC guidelines.

We have many residents and businesses that have shown their heart and soul by doing kindness for others. This is what inspires us, gives us renewed strength and light. We are collecting these wonderful acts to share with the community. Email me at mayor@westhartfordct.gov.

Remember to ring your bells for 2 minutes at 7 pm on Friday night to honor our much appreciated healthcare heroes, first responders and essential workers.

Enjoy the spring weather with physical distancing and facial coverings and have a truly wonderful Mother’s Day weekend.

I wish you peace and strength, laughter and precious moments with your loved ones.

Be well and be safe. Thank you for listening.

Rockledge Golf Club and Buena Vista Golf Course (Release date: May 7, 2020)
will reopen on Sunday, May 10, 8:30 AM

WEST HARTFORD, CT (May 7, 2020) -- Rockledge Golf Club and Buena Vista Golf Course will reopen to the public on Sunday, May 10, at 8:30 AM.  Weather permitting, tee times will be available from 8 AM until dusk for the remainder of the month.  

The Town of West Hartford’s decision to reopen was out of the desire to maintain control over safe practices since the activity on the courses has been unregulated.

Although Rockledge and Buena Vista courses will reopen, significant restrictions will be in place -- for operators and golfers alike – including physical distancing, credit card transactions only, online tee time registration and single-use carts. Patrons will be required to wear face coverings while they check in or anytime they are near clubhouse or starter shack. The pro shop, clubhouse, snack bar and restaurant will remain closed at Rockledge, but the restroom in the center of the course is open for all patrons.

The CDC recommendation of keeping a distance of at least 6 feet between people will be enforced before, during and after play. Golfers will be asked arrive just before their tee time, and line up on the driveway until they are called. After their game, patrons must continue to practice safe distancing in the parking lot.  Attendants will be on site to remind patrons of the rules.

For this opening weekend, starting times will open up for online booking on Friday morning at 10:00 AM for slots this weekend. Tee time slots have been spaced out in 10-minute intervals to allow for more time between starts. Go to www.rockledgegolf.com, to book tee times and pay for them online. New users to the online system Club Prophet will need to create an account. 

After this weekend, starting time reservations may be made online seven days in advance for weekdays and four days in advance for weekend and holidays. The opportunity to place online reservations will open daily at 6 AM. The lottery system for booking tee times is no longer available.

The facility has implemented other measures aimed at ensuring safety and reducing the risk of spreading the virus. Common sense precautions such as removing rakes from bunkers and eliminating the use of ball washers have reduced touch points. 

Those who can walk, should walk. However, carts will be available – one per customer – for $18, which also must be paid for in advance. If the people ordering the cart live in the same household, they may share a cart for $36 per couple. 

At the Town’s 9-hole executive course, Buena Vista, all transactions are credit card only on a first come, first served basis at the starter shack. Weather permitting, this weekend it will begin at 8 AM. No carts will be available at Buena Vista at this time.

MEDIA CONTACTS
Helen Rubino-Turco, Director of Leisure Services & Social Services, 
Helen.Rubino-Turco@WestHartfordCT.gov, 860-561-7517  

West Hartford Community Advisory: Business Initiative; WeHa Arts (Release date: May 5, 2020)  
WEST HARTFORD, CT – Hi, this is Mayor Shari Cantor. Thank you for your continued commitment and caring for each other during these extraordinary times.  You are making a difference by incorporating extended hand washing, physical distancing and wearing face coverings as part of your daily routine.


Progress is being made. Each day we hear about increased accessibility to testing, therapeutic practices, and aggressive research and innovation. There are now resources and funding available to help our businesses. All of this gives me hope.

West Hartford had its first drive thru testing event at an Urgent Care Center this past Sunday with 77 patients who were tested. If you are experiencing symptoms or are an essential worker, you can get tested at one of the locations listed on our website.

As part of our ongoing effort to continue to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the West Hartford Bloomfield Health District is interviewing every person who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus from the two towns. Contact tracing helps identify people who may be have been exposed by the virus.  If you have tested positive for COVID 19, please call the Health District at 860-561-7900 for a confidential interview by a public health nurse.

While we are enduring this difficult time, I am inspired by the meaningful initiatives that support businesses while caring for our healthcare workers and residents in need. On Friday and Saturday night you can purchase a heart sign for $15 from 4-7pm in front of Zohara, and the Doro Group will provide meals for Hartford Healthcare workers.  And Black Bamboo is selling T-shirts for $15 with all of the proceeds going to the Town That Cares. If you are aware of a program that is helping to support businesses while helping others - please let us know!

Also, remember our arts and culture institutions that bring richness to our community. A new Facebook page has been created to keep us informed of all the great things they are doing. Visit the Keep WeHa Arts and Culture ALIVE! (https://www.facebook.com/WeHaArtsCulture)

The Town of West Hartford is keeping close contact with our most vulnerable residents with a Community Support Team led by our social services department and fire department.  A simple phone call to check-in with these residents brings reassurances that we care. If you or someone you know could benefit from this free service, please call 860-561-6991.

Lastly, remember to come together on Friday at 7PM to ring a bell for 2 minutes to honor and show our support for all essential workers, first responders and front-line healthcare heroes.

West Hartford, we are resilient. Please take care by being patient and kind with yourself, and celebrate the small victories each day. 

Be well and be safe. Thank you for listening.

 

Notice of Public Hearing: Thursday, April 30, 6:00 PM
Town of West Hartford Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Town Budget  
WEST HARTFORD, CT – Due to the unprecedented impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on residents and business owners and the desire of the Town to mitigate the impact of this crisis, the Town Manager and Superintendent of Schools have amended their initial budget requests to eliminate a tax increase for next fiscal year. This has been accomplished through a number of expenditure reductions and revenue enhancements totaling $9,867,907, resulting in a new Proposed FY 2020/21 Budget of $299,871,758 representing an increase of 1.1% over the current year. The proposed mill rate necessary to support the revised Proposed FY 2020/21 Budget is 41.74 mills, representing a tax decrease of .14% from the current year. Click here to view the proposed 2020-21 Town Budget.

The revised Proposed Budget, if approved by the Town Council, will result in the reduction of services in some areas. However, this amended budget proposal will preserve the Town’s award winning school district and its most essential municipal services.

The Town of West Hartford will hold the second of two public hearings today, April 30, at 6PM, on the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Town Budget. Due to social distancing restrictions caused by the pandemic, this public hearing will be held in a virtual mode.

PHONE IN
Any West Hartford resident or taxpayer who wants to publicly make a comment may do so by calling 1 (415) 655-0001, using the access code 191 626 254. (Do not call this number if you only wish to listen.) Participants will be called on in the order in which their call was received. When prompted by the Moderator, participants will have three minutes to speak, except that persons representing a group’s duly authorized position may speak for up to five minutes. Participants using caller ID blocking will not be permitted to participate.

LISTENING
Everyone is invited to listen to the public hearing by tuning in to West Hartford Community Interactive (Comcast channel 5 or Frontier channel 6098), WHCI’s YouTube channel, or live streaming from www.whctv.org.

*** PRIVACY NOTICE ***
The phone number, electronic and physical address, and name of any person who comments by phone or email may be considered a public record and subject to public disclosure pursuant to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, as codified in Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.

Need Help at Home?  (Release date: April 28, 2020) 
WEST HARTFORD, CT – Town of West Hartford’s Community Support Team is available for our most vulnerable residents during this pandemic: senior citizens, those with medical conditions, and those who lack a support system.

Whether it’s a simple weekly check-in call, assistance accessing food services, or assistance locating programs to address your needs, the Community Support Team is here for you. There’s no cost to this program. The Town has staff dedicated to being there for all of its residents during this stressful time.
 
Ideal candidates:
An older resident who lives alone and is looking for peace of mind.
A resident without a defined support system who has a complicated medical condition.
Any resident who has COVID-19.
Residents with an ongoing need for services of any type.

Relatives can refer West Hartford family members to the program.

For more information on the Community Support Team and other local resources, call 860-561-6990 and 860-561-6991, Monday through Friday, 9:00AM to 5:00 PM.

COVID-19 Testing, Sunday, April 26  (Release date: April 25, 2020)  
WEST HARTFORD, CT – PhysicianOne Urgent Care is hosting COVID-19 drive through testing for pre-screened patients at PhysicianOne Urgent Care, 21 North Main Street, West Hartford, on Sunday, April 26.

While individuals do not need to be patients of PhysicianOne Urgent Care, all patients must complete a medical evaluation through either a Virtual Visit or at a center prior to receiving a COVID-19 test.

The testing location will also be available for essential workers (including healthcare workers, first responders, postal workers, pharmacy workers, food and agriculture workers, grocery employees, public works and other infrastructure employees), even if they are asymptomatic. Click here for the info sheet.

To get an appointment on Sunday, visit please visit www.p1uc.com or call 855-349-2828. The actual test takes less than 5 minutes.

Budget in Brief and Public Hearings (Release date: April 25, 2020)   
WEST HARTFORD, CT – Due to the unprecedented impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on residents and business owners and the desire of the Town to mitigate the impact of this crisis, the Town Manager and Superintendent of Schools have amended their initial budget requests to eliminate a tax increase for next fiscal year. This has been accomplished through a number of expenditure reductions and revenue enhancements totaling $9,867,907, resulting in a new Proposed FY 2020/21 Budget of $299,871,758 representing an increase of 1.1% over the current year. The proposed mill rate necessary to support the revised Proposed FY 2020/21 Budget is 41.74 mills, representing a tax decrease of .14% from the current year. CLICK HERE to view the 2020-2021 Proposed Budget Summary.

The revised Proposed Budget, if approved by the Town Council, will result in the reduction of services in some areas. However, this amended budget proposal will preserve the Town’s award winning school district and its most essential municipal services.

The Town Council of the Town of West Hartford will hold two public hearings on the Fiscal Year 2020/21 Town Budget as proposed by the Town Manager on March 10, 2020 and amended by the Town Manager on April 20, 2020.

The public hearings will be held at the following dates and times:

April 27, 2020 at 2 PM
Call: 1 (415) 655-0001
Access Code 198 025 983

April 30, 2020 at 6 PM
Call: 1 (415) 655-0001
Access Code 191 626 254

Both public hearings will be conducted exclusively as virtual meetings in accordance with the Standing Rules of the 2019-2021 Town Council of the Town of West Hartford and Executive Order No. 7B issued by Governor Ned Lamont. The public hearings will be broadcast live on television on West Hartford Community Interactive Comcast Channel 5 and Frontier TV Channel 6098 and streamed live at www.whctv.org.

AUDIO COMMENT:
Any West Hartford resident or taxpayer may participate in real-time by calling 1 (415) 655-0001, using the access codes provided above, at the appointed time and date. Participants using caller ID blocking will not be permitted to participate. Participants will be called on in the order in which their call was received. When prompted by the Moderator, participants will have three minutes to speak, except that persons representing a group’s duly authorized position may speak for up to five minutes.
 
WRITTEN COMMENT:
Any West Hartford resident or taxpayer may submit a written comment via email to comment@westhartfordct.gov. Written comments will be made part of the record at the April 30, 2020 public hearing and posted on the Town’s website. In order to be included as part of the record, comments must meet the following requirements:

Comments must be received no later than 11:59 PM on April 28, 2020.
The “subject” of the email shall be: “[LAST NAME, FIRST NAME] Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget”.
The body of the email must begin with the commenter’s full name and street address and a statement that they are either a resident or taxpayer.
Comments must be germane to the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget and no longer than 500 words.

*** PRIVACY NOTICE ***

The phone number, electronic and physical address, and name of any person who comments by phone or email may be considered a public record and subject to public disclosure pursuant to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, as codified in Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.

Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing Site for Pre-Registered Patients on Sunday, April 26, 9AM-3PM  (Release date: April 21, 2020) 
WEST HARTFORD, CT – The Town of West Hartford, along with PhysicianOne Urgent Care announced today that a drive-through COVID-19 testing site will be set up at PhysicianOne Urgent Care’s West Hartford location, 21 North Main Street, on Sunday, April 26, 2020, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Licensed PhysicianOne Urgent Care health care providers will test patients who have completed a medical evaluation prior to the event via a Virtual Visit.

Patients with symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste/smell, and general malaise are encouraged to schedule a medical evaluation Virtual Visit with a provider. In addition, PhysicianOne Urgent Care is offering COVID-19 testing to all essential workers, even those without symptoms. Please visit www.p1uc.com for details.

Patients do not need to be current patients of  PhysicianOne Urgent Care but must complete a medical evaluation pre-screen by PhysicianOne Urgent Care staff in advance by going to www.P1UC.com and following the prompts for the drive-through testing pre-screen. If assistance is required to set up the virtual visit medical evaluation, the PhysicianOne Urgent Care team is available by calling 855-349-2828.

“This drive-through testing will provide real, local relief for West Hartford residents seeking care during this difficult period, especially our brave first responders and essential workers.” said West Harford Mayor Shari Cantor. “I’m so appreciative of our town residents who have banded together to do everything we can to flatten the curve. The Town will continue to do its part on their behalf, seeking out solutions and finding ways to get more help to those in need. I urge anyone who may be experiencing symptoms to schedule their evaluation and come get tested on Sunday.”

“PhysicianOne Urgent Care provides convenient access to high-quality, cost effective care. We pride ourselves in partnering with local municipalities to focus on improving health outcomes for residents,” said Dr. Jeannie Kenkare, DO, PhysicianOne Urgent Care Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer. “We recognize the need for increased access to testing resources right now. We are proud to partner with the Town of West Hartford to provide this service to local communities on Sunday, April 26, 2020. PhysicianOne Urgent Care also provides screening and testing every day to residents of the town.”

We are finding that many people are not seeking advice for symptoms and feeling isolated and unsure. Now that testing is available, people can safely be medically evaluated through a virtual visit to determine whether they need to come in for testing.” Said Dr. Kenkare.

PhysicianOne Urgent Care does have COVID-19 testing available every day at all 23 locations across Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. Residents are encouraged to visit www.P1UC.com or call 855-349-2828 with questions about COVID-19 testing, symptoms or exposure.
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About PhysicianOne Urgent Care
PhysicianOne Urgent Care provides quality, easily accessible, walk-in and virtual medical care for non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. All 23 locations throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York provide services 365 days per year; 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., weekdays, and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., weekends and holidays. Experienced providers are available at all times for on-site care and telehealth virtual visits. X-ray and lab services are available on-site. Insurance is accepted; self-pay options are also available. Parking is available at all locations.

Founded in 2008, PhysicianOne Urgent Care was the first in the market to be accredited and certified by the Urgent Care Association. In Connecticut and New York, PhysicianOne Urgent Care is proud to be an Affiliate of Yale New Haven Health and a Tufts Medical Center partner in Massachusetts.

For more information, including a list of services, locations, insurances accepted, career opportunities, to check in online, and more, please visit www.P1UC.com.

Recycling: An Essential Service during the pandemic (April 21, 2020 )  

WEST HARTFORD, CT  – West Hartford Department of Public Works reminds residents that solid waste hauling and recycling are essential services under Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7H. 

According to Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, “The materials Connecticut residents and businesses recycle, especially cardboard, are essential feedstocks for new materials. The manufacturers of products such as boxes, tissue and paper towels rely on these materials.”

“Effective recycling starts with all of us,” said Katherine Bruns, Recycling Coordinator, Town of West Hartford. “It is up to us to continue to divert allowable material into our recycle bins so that manufacturers have access to these materials at this critical time. Please continue to take care when recycling and place ONLY that is allowable in Blue Barrels and keep contaminates out, such as plastic bags, Styrofoam and food scraps,” she continued.

If you are not sure if an item can be recycled? Try our Waste Wizard. Download the “West Hartford Recycles” app on your smart phone and then type the item in the search box. 

You can also access the Waste Wizard on the Department of Public Works web site - https://www.westhartfordct.gov/gov/departments/pw/waste_wizard.asp  

COVID-19 Related Recycling Updates:
Plastic film recycling has temporarily been suspended.  If possible please save this material for when the program can safely be restarted and help divert this recyclable material from trash.
Bottle Bill redemption services are a fundamental part of recycling industry and are deemed essential. However, through April 30, 2020 retailers are permitted discretion in continuing the service. Call retailers and bottle redemption centers ahead of time to ensure they are collecting. Again, please save material for recycling, where possible, if you cannot find a location to return, DEEP maintains a list of redemption centers on its website: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Reduce-Reuse-Recycle/Bottles/Connecticut-Redemption-Centers
Reusable Bags: according to a 3/27 DEEP press release, customers who use their own bags are encouraged to pack their own bags and wash frequently. 
Simple Recycling “Pink Bag” collection has been temporarily suspended until further notice. Please do not put on curb but keep in a dry location.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Katherine Bruns, Recycling Coordinator, Town of West Hartford, katherine.burns@westhartfordct.gov, 860-561-8107

Revised Schedule for Budget Review and Adoption  
West Hartford to Adopt Revised Schedule for Budget Review and Adoption (April 20, 2020)  
WEST HARTFORD, CT – In light of the global pandemic of COVID-19, Mayor Shari Cantor announced today that she would propose a new budget adoption schedule at a meeting of the Town Council on Monday night. The new schedule will include two public hearings, as required by the Town Charter. Because community spread of COVID-19 has made it unsafe to hold in-person events, the public hearings will be held using a virtual format.


“West Hartford is committed to the principles of open and transparent government,” said Mayor Cantor.  “Public input on the budget is critical, and the new format will allow us to receive comments in a manner that protects the health and safety of residents and taxpayers.”

Deputy Mayor Leon Davidoff, who is chair of the Finance & Administration Committee, and Minority Leader Lee Gold, are co-sponsors of the new schedule.

Deputy Mayor Davidoff said the challenges presented by COVID-19 would not stop the committee from engaging in a robust budget review process.  “Adopting a budget is the most important thing the Town Council does,” said Davidoff.  “The economic fallout from COVID-19 creates an unprecedented budgetary challenge, and we will carefully review every aspect of the budget to find savings and ensure our residents receive the services they need.”

Davidoff said he expects the committee to hold at least two “workshops” to engage in a department-by-department review of the proposed budget.

Councilor Gold said he looks forward to working with his colleagues.  “The Town is going to face some very difficult decisions as a result of COVID-19, and we must work together to solve our fiscal challenges.  We must also be forward thinking about how the Town will reopen for business.”

In keeping with tradition, there will be both afternoon and evening public hearings.  The public hearings will be held on April 27, 2020 at 2 PM and on April 30, 2020 at 6 PM. Residents and taxpayers will have the opportunity to either call-in or submit written comments. Detailed instructions for participating will soon be posted on the Town’s website.

At Monday night’s Town Council meeting, Town Manager Matt Hart will present amendments to the budget, whichhe initially proposed on March 10, 2020.  At Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Tom Moore will present amendments to the budget he proposed on March 3, 2020.  The public hearing and workshop on the Board of Education budget will be held on Tuesday, April 21st at 6:30 PM, details on how to participate are on the WHPS web site.

“The pandemic has presented enormous challenges for our school system,” said Board of Education Chair Deb Polun.  “I am so proud of how our administrators, teachers, school employees, students, families and community members have responded to these challenges so far. The Board will work with our partners to ensure that West Hartford continues to provide the best public education in Connecticut.”

Under the new schedule, the Board of Education will have until May17th to send its final budget proposal to the Town Council. The Town Council will have until May 26th to adopt the Town budget.

Both Mayor Cantor and Chairwoman Polun said they expect to complete their work ahead of those deadlines.  “We are not going to put off making tough decisions,” said Mayor Cantor. “Residents need stability and to know what to expect.  In partnership with the schools, we will engage in a thorough and efficient budget adoption process. We must be thoughtful but decisive.” 

Town of West Hartford Announces "Eat Local - Win Local" Campaign; Residents Can Eat, Submit, and Win from April 20th to May 31, 2020 (April 19, 2020)  
WEST HARTFORD, CT – The Town of West Hartford in cooperation with West Hartford Chamber of Commerce is launching the “Eat Local – Win Local” campaign to generate support for local restaurants. To participate, simply order food from a West Hartford restaurant between April 20th and May 31st and then submit your receipt as an entry into a weekly drawing. It’s a win-win for everyone!

The purpose of ‘Eat Local - Win Local’ is to help restaurants in West Hartford stay in business during this difficult time created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to restrictions on dining, many local restaurants have shifted to takeout, curbside, and delivery in order to keep serving our residents. However, many restaurants are still struggling to keep their businesses open and pay their bills and employees.

“We all want to help our amazing restaurant owners and employees,” said Mayor Shari Cantor. “Restaurants are doing everything they can to stay open and keep people employed. This campaign is a great way to do our part to support these wonderful businesses during a difficult time.”

To enter to win, spend at least $15 at two different West Hartford restaurants for a minimum total of $30 from April 20, 2020 to May 31, 2020. Then, take a picture of your receipt and email it to EatLocalWinLocal@westhartfordct.gov. Each time you spend a minimum of $30 at two different restaurants during the five week period, you may submit your receipts for another chance to win.

There will be four winners selected each week for a total of 20 winners over the course of the campaign. Winners will receive a $25 restaurant gift certificate for a future dine-in visit at a randomly selected West Hartford Chamber-member restaurant.

Participants are encouraged to show their support of the restaurants they patronized by taking pictures and writing posts on their social media - Be sure to include the #EatLocalWinLocalWH and tag the restaurant you visited.

The Town of West Hartford and West Hartford Chamber of Commerce thank you for doing your part to keep our restaurants open. Please take notice of social distancing rules set by each restaurant to reduce the spread of the virus.

To learn more about Eat Local. Win Local., email Kristen Gorski, Town of West Hartford’s Economic Development Specialist, at kristen.gorski@westhartfordct.gov.

Be responsible with outdoor fires (April 8, 2020)  
WEST HARTFORD, CT  – The West Hartford Fire Marshal is asking residents to follow current outdoor burning regulations and exercise good judgement while burning yard wastes or having a back yard recreational fire.

The Town of West Hartford has received a number of complaints that smoke from backyard fires are impacting neighboring properties.

Recreational outdoor fires and burning of yard wastes, under current West Hartford and State open burning regulations, are prohibited if the burning is conducted so that it creates a nuisance for neighbors. Other restrictions apply. Only non-processed, untreated, natural wood can be burned in a recreational fire. If the wood has been milled, planed, glued, painted or treated, it cannot be used as fuel for the fire pit or chiminea. Pallets, construction debris, and trash are also prohibited for being burned.

Burning of shrubs, vegetation, or prunings, the diameter of which cannot exceed 3 inches at the widest point, is only allowed by State regulations when a permit has been obtained from the Fire Marshal who is the Town’s Open Burning Official. As with recreational fires, permitted fires are prohibited where they create a nuisance to neighboring properties. When making application for the open burning permit, the Fire Marshal will inspect the site of the proposed burn and may place additional restrictions on the permit.

Neither type of fire is permitted when the State’s Fire Index is HIGH. When a fire is found to create a nuisance or otherwise being used in an unsafe manner, the Burning Official or Fire Officer has the authority to order the fire extinguished and consider issuing a fine under the state or local regulation. It is also important to note that, even when a fire is allowed or a valid permit is in hand, the person responsible for the fire is liable for any damages caused by that fire.

The West Hartford Fire Department recognizes that a safe and well-managed recreational fire can be a welcome relief for the family during these trying times and asks that all or our residents be a good neighbor and follow these important safeguards:

DO NOT BURN WHEN THE FIRE INDEX IS HIGH!
Burn only non-processed, seasoned wood to minimize smoke.
NEVER use gasoline or other flammable liquid to start or accelerate a fire.
Be a good neighbor. If the atmospheric conditions are such that the smoke from your fire stays low, especially if it is heading towards a neighbor’s house, do not continue with your fire. Postpone it for another time when conditions are better. Remember that if a neighbor makes a complaint, the responding fire official will order the fire extinguished and a fine could be issued. 
Current safety recommendations are that fires be kept from between 10 to 20 feet from any building, fence or other combustible items.
Keep a garden hose, bucket of water or other extinguishing means close to the fire.
Be vigilant. Keep children at least 3 feet from the fire and do not permit horseplay in close proximity of the fire.

If you have a question regarding open burning or recreational fires, please contact Fire Marshal Michael Sinsigalli at 860-561-8320 or email at msinsigalli@westhartfordct.gov.

Temporary property tax relief to residents and taxpayers  (April 7, 2020)  
WEST HARTFORD, CT  – The West Hartford Town Council unanimously adopted a resolution to offer temporary property tax relief to residents and taxpayers at a special meeting on Monday night. 

The Town is one of the first communities in the state to adopt both of the new property tax relief programs made available by the State of Connecticut in response to the pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”).

“We do not want any resident or local business that is suffering financial hardship because of COVID-19 to worry about their upcoming property tax bill,” said Mayor Shari G. Cantor. “It was important for the Town Council to take quick, decisive action to help our taxpayers and businesses during these unprecedented times. I want to thank the Governor for his leadership in giving municipalities these tools.”

The resolution received unanimous, bipartisan support. “This is a time when we need our entire community to come together to support our residents and local businesses,” said Minority Leader Lee Gold. 

On April 1, 2020, Governor Ned Lamont signed Executive Order 7S, which established the “Deferment Program” and the “Low Interest Rate Program.” Municipalities are required to enact one or both of the programs, which provide temporary tax forbearance of property tax collection and reduced interest on delinquent tax payments to property owners under certain conditions. 

The Town Council adopted both programs. Further guidance will be available soon on eligibility for these programs.

“This is only the first step in what will be a long recovery. We want to do everything possible to help residents and local businesses,” said Mayor Cantor.  

FISHING SEASON BEGINS EARLY

Trout Park Opens at McGovern Pond at Spicebush Swamp Park (April 6, 2020) 
 
WEST HARTFORD, CT – Get your rods ready and head to Spicebush Swamp. Fishing season has begun early this year.  In addition, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has designated the pond at Spicebush Swamp on Mountain Road as a Trout Park. DEEP recently stocked McGovern Pond with trout, and they will replenish the trout supply regularly through the spring.  All applicable licensing and possession limits for trout parks apply.

 “Fishing is a wonderful way to get outside and enjoy time alone or with your family,” said Doug Jackson, Park Naturalist at Westmoor Park, who oversees West Hartford’s fishing activities. “McGovern Pond is a lovely spot for new anglers to try to catch their first fish,” he said. While West Hartford parks remain open, restrictions on gatherings of five or more are in place.  Fishing is permitted with immediate family members or alone.
 
Governor Ned Lamont opened fishing season early this year to provide a healthy recreational opportunity to state residents and to reduce the likelihood of crowds that typically accompany the official opening day of Trout season. The season usually opens on the second Saturday of April.  On their website, DEEP encourages fishing as a solitary experience or with members of an immediate household, not as a group activity.  Signs at Spicebush Swamp and other favorite fishing destinations around West Hartford will encourage all anglers to follow social distancing practices.
 
The DEEP website outlines licensing and regulations, and provides a list of fishing spots around the state: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Fishing/CT-Fishing
DEEP also provides an Interactive Trout stocking map: https://ctdeep.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=70d13bc033854b89a87c04b1d11b1a43. Jackson says this resource “shows many great places to fish around the state, and you may discover new places to fish right here in West Hartford.”
 
“We’re excited that DEEP designated McGovern Pond at Spicebush Swamp to be a Trout Park,” said Helen Rubino-Turco, Director of Leisure Services & Social Services.  “Fishing is a great way for residents to engage with their local parks in a safe and meaningful manner. Spicebush Swamp is a smaller ‘pocket park’ that is sometimes overlooked, but it has a lot to offer.”
 
Stream fishing provides other ways and locations to try to catch the sometimes-elusive trout.   “Stocked trout in McGovern Pond may swim downstream, so if you follow this branch of Trout Brook you may find additional fishing spots,” said Jackson. “The stream leads from Spicebush Swamp Park into Moody’s Woods, and then into Fernridge Park.” From there, it flows behind the American School for the Deaf campus and eventually joins another branch of the Trout Brook next to Trout Brook Drive. “But you need to be mindful of where you are and who owns the property you are on,” Jackson warned.  “Following a stream to fish, does not give you permission to trespass on private property.”
 
Other locations in West Hartford that provide public fishing opportunities include ponds in the following areas: Fernridge Park; the Buena Vista recreation complex next to Cornerstone Aquatic Center; Wolcott Park; and Beachland Park.  “In any of these ponds during most of the year, one can expect to find sunfish, Bass, catfish and other warm water species of fish,” said Jackson. “Fishing is fun,” he said, “and it can also provide you with a delicious meal.” He cautioned all fishing enthusiasts to fish alone or with immediate family members only.

West Hartford Town Council Adopts Emergency Tax Relief (April 6, 2020, 11:00AM) 

WEST HARTFORD, CT  The West Hartford Town Council unanimously adopted a resolution to offer temporary property tax relief to residents and taxpayers at a special meeting on Monday night.  
 
The Town is one of the first communities in the state to adopt both of the new property tax relief programs made available by the State of Connecticut in response to the pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”).
 
“We do not want any resident or local business that is suffering financial hardship because of COVID-19 to worry about their upcoming property tax bill,” said Mayor Shari G. Cantor.  “It was important for the Town Council to take quick, decisive action to help our taxpayers and businesses during these unprecedented times. I want to thank the Governor for his leadership in giving municipalities these tools.”
 
The resolution received unanimous, bipartisan support.  “This is a time when we need our entire community to come together to support our residents and local businesses,” said Minority Leader Lee Gold.  
 
On April 1, 2020, Governor Ned Lamont signed Executive Order 7S, which established the “Deferment Program” and the “Low Interest Rate Program.”  Municipalities are required to enact one or both of the programs, which provide temporary tax forbearance of property tax collection and reduced interest on delinquent tax payments to property owners under certain conditions.  
 
The Town Council adopted both programs.  Further guidance will be available soon on eligibility for these programs.
 
“This is only the first step in what will be a long recovery.  We want to do everything possible to help residents and local businesses,” said Mayor Cantor.  
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MEDIA CONTACTS
Mayor Shari Cantor, mayor@westhartfordct.gov, (860) 416-9611
Lee Gold, Town Council Minority Leader, Lee.Gold@WestHartfordCT.gov, 
(860) 983-4652

Track and Turf Fields are closed at the high schools (April 3, 2020)
WEST HARTFORD, CT  To enforce essential physical distancing, the Town of West Hartford has closed tracks and turf fields at both high schools. All fields are closed for organized or pick up sports.  

Other recreational facilities that are already closed include all playscapes, and basketball, tennis and pickle ball courts town- wide.

Currently, our public green spaces and parks are open but only if there is compliance with social distance protocols to protect the health of all members of our community and if people cannot comply, they will be closed. This also applies to the MDC properties in our town. If the MDC parking lots are full, please return at another time. Do not park on the street or the grass – you will be ticketed for non-compliance. 

Tennis Courts and Golf Courses are now closed (April 1, 2020)
WEST HARTFORD, CT – Due to public health concerns created by the COVID-19 virus, the Town of West Hartford has temporarily closed tennis and pickleball courts. The Town has also decided to keep the Rockledge and Buena Vista golf courses closed for an indefinite period. 

Parks, fields, and trails remain open for now, but groups of more than five people are prohibited pursuant to state law.

On March 25, 2020, the Town closed playground equipment (playscapes) and basketball courts at its municipal facilities and schools because large groups of people were gathering to play.

“We are at a critical stage of this highly contagious and dangerous virus. Our main objective is to prevent people from congregating in order to suppress the spread of COVID-19,” said Helen Rubino-Turco, Director of Leisure Services & Social Services. “We will continue to evaluate conditions and reopen these facilities as soon as we feel it is safe to do so.”

Mayor Shari Cantor added, “We recognize, appreciate, and value the benefits of being outdoors and the ability to be physically active while we are all complying with the statewide stay at home directive.

“The health and safety of our community is our primary concern and it is critical that we all follow the CDC’s guidance by physical distancing of at least six feet and not congregating with people. We need to temporarily close these recreational assets to allow us to enforce physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Cantor said.

“Recycle Beyond the Bag” film plastic collection temporarily suspended (March 31, 2020)
WEST HARTFORD, CT –  Due to The Town of West Hartford’s current COVID-19 safety precautions and facilities closures, “Recycle Beyond the Bag” film plastic collection was temporarily discontinued.
 
Please do NOT put film plastic (plastic bags, zip lock bags, newspaper bags, etc.) in your Blue Recycling Barrel.
 
To find a drop-off location, search here: http://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org. If you cannot find a location or the locations are temporarily closed, then plastic film must go in your trash.
 
We are sorry for the disruption in this popular drive and will let you know when we resume the recycling program.
 
Thank you for your cooperation.

Changes to upcoming public meeting and hearing format (March 31, 2020)
WEST HARTFORD, CT  West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor announced today that West Hartford is developing a virtual meeting format so that the Town Council can safely conduct business during the global pandemic of COVID-19. 

“Open and accessible Town government is a core West Hartford value,” Mayor Cantor said. Mayor Cantor noted that the Governor has delayed budget adoption for all municipalities, but that West Hartford will still conduct two budget hearings in a virtual format and on a new timeline. “The entire Town Council is committed to ensuring that all members of the public have the ability to be heard on the budget.”     

On March 14th, Governor Ned Lamont issued an Executive Order No. 7B, which allows towns to conduct meetings or proceedings remotely by conference call, videoconference or other technology if certain conditions are met. “Without the Governor’s executive order, it would have been almost impossible to conduct public meetings without risking further spread of COVID-19,” said Corporation Counsel Dallas Dodge. “The executive order is a common sense measure that allows for towns to continue conducting business in a way that balances public access with health and safety.” 

Dodge and Town Clerk Essie Labrot are working in coordination with the Town’s information technology staff to develop a process that complies with Governor Ned Lamont’s executive orders concerning virtual meetings. 

In light of the new circumstances, the Town Clerk has announced the following changes to the schedule of upcoming public hearings and meetings. 

March 31 - Public Hearing (2020-21 Town Budget) – Postponed until further notice  
April 6 - Public Hearing (Budget) – Postponed until further notice   
April 6 - Public Hearing re: 12 Grove Street – Postponed until further notice   
April 6 - Town Council Meeting – In lieu of the Regular Meeting that is scheduled, a virtual Special Meeting is tentatively planned for earlier in the evening on April 6 and it will be publicly noticed as soon as possible.
All meetings are posted on the town’s web site, https://go.boarddocs.com/ct/westh/Board.nsf/Public.

West Hartford Coordinates with State in Restricting Social and Recreational Gatherings to No More Than Five People (March 28, 2020)  
WEST HARTFORD, CT  In light of Governor Lamont’s decision to restrict social and recreational gatherings to no more than five people, West Hartford Town Manager Matt Hart announced that he has terminated a local executive order he issued that similarly restricted gatherings. The Governor’s restriction will apply to West Hartford and all other Connecticut communities.

“Increasing physical distancing is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19, and so we are appreciative of the Governor’s decision to further restrict recreational and social gatherings,” Hart said. “It is important to have one consistent standard. With the Governor’s recent action, my order is no longer necessary. ”

“We are thankful to the Governor for his strong decisive leadership for coordinating the statewide response and imposing the needed statewide restrictions to minimize community spread of Covid-19. The Governor’s accommodations have been important to allow municipal governments to function during these unprecedented times,” Mayor Shari Cantor said.  

“We are making a concerted effort to reach out to our town residents through a variety of ways urging them to stay home and to not congregate,” Mayor Shari Cantor said.  “We need to protect each other by physical distancing and we will get through this with everyone’s strength, patience and help.”

Local Executive Order 2020-1 was terminated March 27, 2020.

Celebrate! West Hartford is canceled (March 27, 2020, 8:30AM)
WEST HARTFORD, CT – West Hartford Town Manager Matt Hart announced today that West Hartford’s signature event, Celebrate! West Hartford, scheduled for June 6
th and 7th, is canceled.

This decision was made in conjunction with the Celebrate! West Hartford Committee, Mayor Shari Cantor, Town leaders including the Directors of Public Works and Social & Leisure Services, Fire and Police Chiefs, and the Acting Director of the Bloomfield-West Hartford Health District.

“As a Town-sponsored event, Celebrate! West Hartford requires time and attention from many Town departments and employees in the months and weeks leading up to it. During this unprecedented time responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority must be the health and well-being of our residents,” explained Hart.

Mayor Cantor remarked that, “The extreme measures and sacrifices that we are making now are an effort to get back to our normal way of life as quickly as possible.”

“We know many families look forward to the festival every year. For now, we must be responsible to each other and unfortunately canceling this event is the right decision,” said Committee Chair Mary Alexander. “We will all be back better than ever next year.”

Playgrounds, Basketball Courts are closed (March 25, 2020, 7:30PM) 
WEST HARTFORD, CT   Due to public health concerns created by the COVID-19 virus, the Town of West Hartford has temporarily closed playground equipment (playscapes) and basketball courts at its municipal facilities and schools. The parks, fields, trails and tennis/pickleball courts remain open for now.

We recognize, appreciate and value the benefits of being outdoors and maintaining physical activity while we are staying home. It is critical to the health of our community that people visiting these spaces follow the CDC guidance by maintaining physical distance of six feet with people other than those you live with and not congregating in groups. If we are unable to manage compliance with these guidelines, these facilities will need to be closed. #besafe #stayhome

First case of COVID-19 confirmed (March 20, 2020, 2:20PM)  
WEST HARTFORD, CT – West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor announced that the Town received notice today from the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District (the “Health District”) of the first confirmed case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (”COVID-19”) in West Hartford.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before there was a confirmed case in West Hartford, given that community spread has already been established in our region,” said Mayor Cantor. “West Hartford is well prepared to deal with the influx of new cases, which is inevitable. We must assume that there are other cases already in our community at this time, and that the number will go up significantly. I am calling on all West Hartford residents to heed instructions by public health officials to ‘flatten the curve’ and slow the spread of the disease.”

Aimee Krauss, Acting Director of the Health District, said that the resident is between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. The Health District cannot disclose the identity or location of the resident due to privacy rules.

The resident will remain in isolation and the Health District will regularly monitor her health and perform contact tracing, in compliance with guidelines issued by the state Department of Public Health. Anyone who has had close contact with the resident will be told to self-quarantine.

“If you have any symptoms of illness, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, you should not leave home except to receive medical care,” said Krauss. “Stay in touch with your healthcare provider. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.”

There is currently no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, and so the best way for individuals to protect themselves is to avoid being exposed. This means washing hands frequently, avoiding close contact with other people (within about 6 feet), and not leaving home unless absolutely necessary.

Town officials have been coordinating for months with the State of Connecticut and the Health District to ensure that a structure is in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Residents can also get more information at the Town’s website, www.westhartfordct.gov/covid19.

Town Hall Offices Close (March 19, 2020)
Executive Order prohibits gatherings of 10+
West Hartford Joins Regional Municipalities In Prohibiting Gatherings Of More Than Ten People

WEST HARTFORD, CT – Today Town Manager Matt Hart announced that pursuant to Mayor Shari Cantor’s recent Emergency Declaration he is issuing an Executive Order to prohibit social and recreational gatherings of more than ten people. The social and recreational activities include, but are not limited to: community, civic, and sporting events; plays or live performances; and religious, spiritual, or worship gatherings. Several other municipalities in the region have issued similar orders. The Town Manager’s order will take effect March 20, 2020 and will be enforced by the West Hartford Police Department.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control issued guidance that all events of ten or more people should be cancelled. The emergency order runs through April 30, 2020, but may be modified, extended, or terminated at any time.

Mayor Shari Cantor stated: “Each day the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing rapidly in Connecticut and it is undoubtedly here in West Hartford. This executive order is a life-saving measure as we have to take every precaution available to us to slow the spread of this deadly disease. I call upon all members of the West Hartford community to do everything in their power to assist us in this effort.”

Town Manager Matt Hart stated: “Consistent with CDC guidance, I am issuing this emergency order to emphasize that everyone must minimize contact with others if we are going to be successful in slowing down the spread of COVID-19. We will use this emergency order to direct people to stop congregating in groups of more than ten, as we do everything possible to get the word out about the importance of social distancing. We realize that this a significant step to take but believe that it is fully warranted given the magnitude of the public health crisis that we are facing.”

Town Hall Offices Closed at Noon (March 16, 2020) 
WEST HARTFORD, CT – Mayor Shari Cantor and Town Manager Matt Hart announced that Town Hall offices would close at noon today so that town officials can evaluate and modify operations to ensure the continued delivery of essential municipal services.

Following the Mayor's State of Emergency declaration, these additional measures are being taken.

Town Manager Matt Hart said, “Given the growing concern regarding community spread of this virus, I have made the decision to close Town Hall to the public beginning at noon today. Town employees that are not critical to operations will be notified that they should not report to work during this temporary closure. Over the next several days, our management team will develop an operations plan for the re-opening of Town Hall later this week.”

The Town Hall closure follows a decision made on March 12, 2020, to close the following facilities for two weeks: West Hartford Public Schools, Veterans Memorial Skating Rink, Cornerstone Aquatics Center, West Hartford Senior Center, Elmwood Senior Center, Elmwood Community Center, Hillcrest Area Neighborhood Outreach Center, and the three libraries.

“We encourage residents to continue doing business with the Town via our web site, www.westhartfordct.gov, and by phone,” said Mayor Shari Cantor.

West Hartford Declares State of Emergency (March 15, 2020)
WEST HARTFORD, CT – West Hartford Mayor Shari G. Cantor announced today, Sunday, March 15, 2020, at 7:30PM, that she has declared a State of Emergency in West Hartford in response to the global pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”).


“Our public health and safety officials are already fully mobilized and taking the necessary steps to protect West Hartford residents from the effects of COVID-19,” Mayor Cantor said.  “This additional step is intended to reinforce the seriousness of the public health crisis, and to make sure Town government has maximum flexibility and the authority to quickly respond as conditions change.”

“The reason these measures need to be followed is so we can flatten the curve of the spread of the virus,” said Aimee Krauss, acting director of West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District. “This means taking precautions even by people who are not sick or at high-risk to help mitigate a surge in cases that could overwhelm the hospital system.”

The goal is no longer to prevent the virus from spreading freely from person to person, instead, the objective is to spread out the inevitable infections so that the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed with patients.

In making the emergency declaration, Mayor Cantor said she is asking West Hartford residents and businesses to take the following steps to prevent community spread of COVID-19:

• Families should keep young children and students at home to the extent feasible
• Religious organizations are encouraged to conduct services in a virtual mode and limit in-person services to reduce the occupancy by 50% to create adequate spacing between seating, in accordance with CDC recommendations
• Businesses should require their employees to work from home, wherever feasible
• Businesses should consider staggering or reducing hours of operation
• Food Service Establishments/Restaurants should cut their occupancy rate by 50% to create adequate spacing between seating, in accordance with CDC recommendations
• Food Service Establishments/Restaurants should encourage patrons to use their take-out service instead of dining-in
• Grocery stores should discontinue offering samples and providing self-service stations (ex: soup and salad bars)
• Restaurants and establishments should cancel all gatherings and special events and celebrations
• Official and unofficial sports activities, including games and practices, should be canceled

Town Manager Matthew W. Hart said that Town public safety officials and officials with the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District are working closely with state and federal authorities to coordinate the response.  He noted that Governor Ned Lamont has already issued several Executive Orders to prevent community spread, including a prohibition on large gatherings. 

“This is a historic and unprecedented public health crisis, the likes of which the world has not faced in more than a century,” Mayor Cantor said.  “But West Hartford is a resilient community that has properly invested in public safety infrastructure, and we have planned and drilled for the most serious contingencies.  With the cooperation of our residents, we will endure and emerge stronger.”

West Hartford Community Advisory Notification System (March 15, 2020) 

WEST HARTFORD, CT – Good evening. This is Mayor Shari Cantor.

I am calling you tonight (3/15/2020) to announce that earlier this evening, in response to the global pandemic of COVID-19, I declared a State of Emergency for the Town of West Hartford.

Our public health and safety officials are already fully mobilized and taking the necessary steps to protect West Hartford residents from the effects of COVID-19.  This additional step is intended to reinforce the seriousness of the public health crisis, and to make sure Town government has maximum flexibility and the authority to quickly respond as conditions change.

In making this emergency declaration, we are asking residents and businesses to abide by certain restrictions, available on the Town website, www.westhartfordct.gov, that will help flatten the curve of the spread of the virus.  This means taking precautions even by people who are not sick or at high-risk to help mitigate a surge in cases that could overwhelm the hospital system.  These restrictions are in addition to those already mandated by President and the Governor.  The most important thing you can do is avoid groups and stay home. 

The goal is no longer to prevent the virus from spreading freely from person to person.  Instead, the objective is to spread out the inevitable infections so that the healthcare system is not overwhelmed with patients.

This is an historic and unprecedented public health crisis, the likes of which the world has not faced in more than a century.  However, West Hartford is a resilient community that has properly invested in public safety infrastructure, and we have planned and drilled for the most serious contingencies.  With the cooperation of our residents, we will endure this crisis and emerge stronger.

If you have additional questions or seek more information, please call 860-561-6990 or 2-1-1, or visit these web pages:
www.westhartfordct.gov/covid19,
https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus,
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.