Tag Archives: Town Hall

The Road To Town Hall Is Paved With …

An alert “06880” reader — one whose car now regularly rattles — writes:

I love our town. I have worked here for over 50 years, and lived here almost as long.

It is sometimes said that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Why is the road to Town Hall and the Board of Education the worst paved in all of Westport?

For years, Myrtle Avenue has been the best route for me to take as I return home – for lunch and dinner – from my office. However, I now take an alternate route.

I thought that after the utility work was finished, it would be repaved. But it’s been this way for months now.

This is the road leading to Town Hall. Is this the impression we want to give visitors about our town?

Town Hall looks handsome. Myrtle Avenue in front: not so much.

Another reader wonders about a nearby street.

“The Post Road was paved nicely,” he says, referring to this fall’s work near CVS heading downtown, and the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge over the Saugatuck River.

“But what about near Main Street?” he asks. “It’s a mess.”

He’s right. From Myrtle Avenue (!) to Parker Harding Plaza, it’s rough and bumpy.

The area by Anthropologie and Tiffany is supposed to be our downtown’s crown jewel.

Instead it’s like a cheap giveaway, from the bottom of a Crackerjack box.

Free Tax Help Offered

No one likes paying taxes. And almost as bad is figuring them out.

Plowing through all those IRS forms and regulations can be particularly tough for folks without accountants or access to other help.

Fortunately — in conjunction with AARP and the IRS — Westport’s Department of Human Services provides a free, full-service tax assistance program. Special attention is paid to senior citizens, and low to moderate income households. (It is available to all filers, regardless of income or age.)

Tax preparation and electronic filing of federal and state taxes is offered from January 27 (early) through April 15 (really, really late) at 2 locations.

The Senior Center program runs Wednesdays (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and Thursdays (1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.). Call 203-341-5099 for appointments.

The Town Hall program runs Mondays, from 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Call 203-341-1050 for appointments.

Nationwide, more than 35,000 IRS-certified volunteers help out, at nearly 5,000 sites. Last year, 748 returns were filed in Westport.

Tax forms can be daunting for anyone.

If married, both spouses should be present at the appointment. Taxpayers must bring:

  • Copy of last year’s federal and state tax returns
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Social Security or ITIN numbers for all taxpayers and dependents
  • Bank account/routing numbers (blank check preferred) if expecting a refun
  • SSA1099 if you were paid Social Security benefits
  • W-2s from employers
  • W-2G from gambling winnings
  • 1099G from unemployment compensation payments
  • 1099s: bank interest, stock dividends, retirement distributions, broker statements
  • Receipts for deductible expenses, including real estate and vehicle taxes paid
  • Verification of the original purchase price of sold assets (home, stocks, etc.)
  • Receipts/canceled checks if itemizing deductions (charitable contributions, etc.)
  • Form 1095-A if health insurance was from the Access Health Connecticut Marketplace.

For more information, call the Department of Human Services: 203-341-1050.

NOTE: The “tax assistance program” refers to helping figure out your taxes — not actually paying them. Damn!

Pic Of The Day #962

A gaggle of children joins 1st Selectman Jim Marpe (center), 2nd Selectman Jen Tooker (left) and the Staples Orphenians, to count down before Westport’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony this evening, at Town Hall.

The Christmas tree, in front of Town Hall on Myrtle Avenue. (Photos/Dan Woog)

Photo Challenge #234

Wow — last week’s Photo Challenge was harder than I thought.

The image itself was obvious: an aerial photo of Staples High School, in its autumnal glory. (Click here for the great shot.)

The challenge was: Where in Westport can you see the actual photograph?

There were plenty of incorrect guesses: Westport Library, the Senior Center, the Board of Education office, Rolnick Observatory, a charging station (!), even Staples itself.

Here’s the correct answer: It hangs in Town Hall — on the main floor, around the first corner to the right as you walk in the front door. To be precise: near the tree warden and Conservation Commission’s office.

It’s just part of a remarkable series of aerial photos, all taken by Larry Untermeyer a few years ago. They provide a great, comprehensive, beautiful bird’s-eye view of our town.

Congratulations Matt Murray, Tammy Barry, Patti Brill, Wanda Tedesco, Bruce Salvo and Andrew Colabella. You must spend a lot of time at Town Hall.

The rest of you: Go see the photos for yourselves!

Now it’s “time” for this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Photo Challenge #201

Two mysteries were solved last week: The Photo Challenge — faded “No Parking” paint sprayed on the wall of what was clearly a parking lot — showed the back lot at Town Hall.

Krystof Bondar, Mary-Ellen Kuhn, Edward Bloch, Andrew Colabella and Bruce Salvo knew where Mark Mathias took the shot.

Incorrect guesses included Trader Joe’s, the Playhouse, People’s Bank, Sunny Daes, Fortuna’s and the train station. (Click here for the photo, and all the guesses.)

The 2nd mystery was: Who painted it there? And why?

Alert “06880” reader — and Bedford Elementary School graduate (long before it became Town Hall) — Chip Stephens says:

The photo shows where the buses used to pick up and drop off
Bedford El students. The buses came up St John’s Place, entered the loop and picked up passengers lined up on the playground by bus number. The loop adjoined the paved playground and the school itself.

So of course there was no parking there. It was an active bus loop!

Now on to the next mystery: this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport you’d see this fantastic fall scene, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

Wrong Way, Myrtle!

At first glance, there’s nothing wrong with this photo:

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

But look closely. The car is cruising the wrong way down the 1-way stretch of Myrtle Avenue, between Avery Place and Main Street.

After never in my life seeing that happen, I spotted it twice in 2 days recently. Alert “06880” reader/photographer JP Vellotti saw it too — a different time — and snapped this photo.

Then yesterday evening — while standing with 100 or so people outside the Westport Historical Society, at the opening of the (fantastic) new exhibit on our town’s African-American past — we all watched another car zip past Town Hall, headed the wrong way. (For good measure, it blew past the stop sign at Avery Place.)

I have no clue why there’s this sudden epidemic of driver cluelessness.

But it gives me a chance to ask a question I’ve thought about for years:

Why is Myrtle Avenue 1-way in front of Town Hall?

There’s no logical reason. The road is wide enough for 2-way traffic (if there’s no parking on the street next to the stone wall). It’s a waste of time — and a teeny bit of gas — to send people leaving Town Hall on a 180-degree loop from Main Street to Avery Place, just to go south on Myrtle toward the Post Road.

With 2 traffic lights on the way.

I know why Myrtle Avenue is one way at the Main Street/North Kings Highway light. There’s not a lot of room there, and traffic from Myrtle heads left, straight and right. All I’m talking about is 2-way traffic from the Town Hall exit, back toward Avery Place.

If someone has a good argument for keeping Myrtle Avenue 1-way, I’d love to hear it.

Otherwise, let’s make this little-but-big change now!

Traffic coming out of Town Hall should be able to turn left as well as right — right? (Photo/Alison Patton)

Unsung Heroes #45

Last week, I stopped at Town Hall. I needed a copy of something on file at the Town Clerk’s office.

The clerk’s clerk could not have been friendlier or more efficient. She quickly found the document — it dated back to 1986. As she Xeroxed it, we chatted.

It was the sort of thing she does, I’m sure, countless times every day. Yet she made me feel like I was the most important person to visit all year.

Bureaucracies can be impersonal. (Hey, DMV and IRS, how you doin’?!)

It may be because this is — ultimately — just a small town. It may be because we’ve hired wonderful, and wonderfully nice, people. It may be because we’re very lucky.

But whatever the reason, Town Hall is filled with folks who make it a joy — not a chore — to go to.

You may need a property deed, a building permit or some other form. Perhaps you have a question, a problem or a complaint.

Whatever it is, the men and women who staff the many departments — assessor’s office, conservation, planning and zoning, human services, tax collector, registrar of voters — are there for us, all day and in all ways.

I don’t have any fantastic above-and-beyond stories. But I’m sure that many readers do. If you’ve got one, click “Comments” below.

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Pic Of The Day #368

Spring comes — slowly but surely — to Town Hall (Photo/Dan Woog)

Pic Of The Day #346

Rev. Alison Patton spotted this object this morning, on her daily walk. If you know what it is — or why it’s there — click “Comments” below. (Photo/Alison Patton)

Pic Of The Day #176

Peace at Town Hall (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)