Westport gets slight bump in state aid

Photo of Amanda Cuda
An exterior of Westport Town Hall in Westport, Conn., on Friday Apr. 17, 2020.

An exterior of Westport Town Hall in Westport, Conn., on Friday Apr. 17, 2020.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

WESTPORT — The town is set to receive about $142,000 more in state aid for the coming fiscal year under a budget passed last week.

According to information released last week, Westport is set to receive $594,745 in non-education aid, and $523,733 in education aid, for a total of $1,118,478. Westport town officials said, when grants for town aid road and the local capital improvement program are added, the total amount of state aid is $1,663,283

Both town and state officials said Westport is receiving an increase of $142,031 from the funding received during the previous fiscal year.

Because the money was received after the town’s budget was completed, the additional funds will go into the town’s general fund to cover any changes to the operating budget, town operations director Sara Harris said.

“It will be considered additional revenue at the end of the year if there is not an expense overage of revenue reduction that needs to be covered,” she said.

Both she and First Selectman Jim Marpe acknowledge that other communities — particularly big cities — received more state funding. For instance, Bridgeport is on track to receive a total of $228,787,289 from the state, representing an increase of $12,452,758 from the previous fiscal year.

“We appreciate the state funding we get but realize that, as an affluent community, we’re going to receive less than other communities might,” Marpe said.

Much more significant, Marpe and Harris said, is the roughly $8.4 million in federal funding Westport is set to receive this year and next through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the sixth federal COVID-19 relief bill passed in the last year. Westport’s funds will come in two blocks — $4.215 million this year and another $4.215 million next year.

Harris said that money will be used first to offset any COVID-related expenditures or revenue losses.

“Thereafter, we are considering using the funds for ADA accessibility improvements,” she said. “We await additional guidance before committed how those funds might be spent on other priorities.”