Following a public comment session featuring a handful of residents who spoke out against the Town Manager's proposed budget, which represents an overall increase of just under 3 percent, town council member discussed ways the town could improve mitigate rising the rising cost of services, while avoiding complete cuts to programs.
In an effort to find a way to fund replacement thermal cameras for the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department without tacking another $30,000 on the budget, Councilor Donald Jepsen (R) suggested removing budgeted funds for two community programs.
The thermal cameras, according to Windsor Fire Chief Bill Lewis, allow fire fighters to locate victims inside burning structures, enabling them to see through walls.
The cameras, at about $9,000 a piece, would cost roughly $30,000.
Looking for a way to take out the $30,000 he proposed be added to fund the purchase of thermal cameras, Jepsen recalled questions raised by Deputy Mayor Al Simon (D) with regards to First Town Downtown and .
"I remember when [First Town Downtown] first came to us; it was supposed to be a five-year project. I'm not sure why we're still doing this, I thought it was supposed to be done," Jepsen said, noting that Simon also questioned the continued funding provided to the organization, which works to promote Windsor Center.
"If we cut [First Town Downtown's] funding, and then cut Celebrate Windsor (SummerWind), that's $30,000 and we have the cameras."
First Town Downtown and SummerWind requested $20,000 and $10,000, respectively.
The Town Council's budget session Tuesday was part of a new process in which council members hold a public preliminary discussion about possible changes to the budget.
Final deliberations will be held on Wed., April 25 at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall Council Chambers.
First Town Downtown to work as a subsidiary of the Chamber, allowing the two groups to fine tune their mission and work to business and social life in Windsor Center.
First Town Downtown has maintained its own non-profit, 501(c)(3) status.
SummerWind recently announced a complete shift in its mission to provide outdoor entertainment to Hartford County and surrounding areas. The Griffin Center venue, which is proud to say it operates a world-class, outdoor, non-profit concert venue, will no bring the world-renowned acts it's known to feature to town this summer.
Instead, SummerWind, under the new leadership of Executive Director Michael Campbell, has launched .
SummerWind has an anonymous donor who has pledged to match any donations up to $500,000.