CT panel approves deal for detailed financial analysis of West Haven

WEST HAVEN — A state oversight board voted Thursday on what members hope will lead to improved fiscal and procedural habits in West Haven.

West Haven in May became the first municipality to be placed in Tier IV, the highest level of oversight, under the Municipal Accountability Review Board since its inception in 2017. MARB members are reviewing policy language to potentially propose to the General Assembly to establish more regulations. powers beyond the rejection of contracts.

MARB members voted on Thursday to approve the execution of a contract with Whittlesey & Hadley, an accountancy firm based in Hartford and Hamden, to provide an organizational financial assessment to the state’s supervisory board.

“This assessment is intended to do a detailed analysis of the City of West Haven, the school board and the financial infrastructure, highlighting areas that need improvement,” said Kimberly Kennison, Office of Policy representative. and state management.

Kennison said the state received three bids for the contract, but two bidders pulled out. She said the work is budgeted at $400,000 over two years – which can be performed either as a one-year contract with a one-year renewal option, or a two-year contract. with a one-year opt-out. Kennison said the company is expected to start working within the next 30 to 45 days.

OPM Secretary Jeff Beckham said he would like representatives from Whittlesey to meet MARB at their next meeting.

The company will lay the groundwork for MARB to hire a CFO to work at West Haven City Hall. Beckham said the manager will be the ‘eyes and ears’ of MARB.

“It’s definitely a good momentum,” MARB member Patrick Egan said ahead of the vote.

Board member Mark Waxenberg successfully requested an amendment so that the statement of work for the Whittlesey contract also included an assessment of the tax implications of the town having three fire districts – two of which are independent.

Relocation of the New England Brewery Co.

MARB also voted to file an early vote on the city’s contract with Rock Street Brewery LLC to move forward with a deal to develop a brewery and bar at 6 Rock St. for New England Brewing Co., a Woodbridge-based brewery looking to relocate. to the shore of West Haven.

West Haven Corporation attorney Lee Tiernan responded to MARB members’ concerns about appeals filed against the city’s zoning appeal board by nearby restaurant Jimmie’s of Savin Rock and the West Haven Land Trust, raising concerns about development.

“We are very confident that we are going to have a brewery very soon in the town of West Haven and we believe we are on solid footing and the developer has to date – I spoke to them yesterday – not expressed of worry about where the process is at,” Tiernan said. “We will make the necessary adjustments.”

However, MARB member Matthew Brokman expressed concern that the city had not presented council with a signed and executed lease agreement. Although the 60-year lease contract was approved by the city council, Tiernan said he provided the contract to a colleague with more experience in land use law to review the contract before the city ​​does not sign the agreement.

“I think we should look at a final signed agreement,” Brokman said.

Beckham agreed the board had a summary of terms, not a signed agreement. He said that while Level IV procedures have not yet been fully established, it would be appropriate to require the city to perform good habits, such as providing final agreements to council.

Beckham suggested that MARB hold a special meeting next week to review and approve a signed contract for the development of NEBCO.

Mayor Nancy Rossi, who was in West Haven at Thursday’s MARB meeting as Representative Rosa DeLauro, D-3, announced $105 million in infrastructure funding for an Interstate 95 bridge leading to the city, said she could not recall whether MARB members specifically asked for the final signed agreement. However, she said the news of a special meeting to resolve the issue was promising for her.

“It’s good, I want this brewery,” she said.

brian.zahn@hearstmediact.com

Sarah J. Greer