Panel hears requests for funding

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
April 29, 2008

NEW HAVEN — The Board of Aldermen’s Finance Committee held a public hearing on the city’s 2008-09 budget Tuesday night.

Supporters of various city programs and other entities, including the Shubert Theater and Tweed New Haven Regional Airport, urged the aldermen to continue funding support in the budget.

Mayor John DeStefano Jr. has proposed a $466 million budget that would represent a 4.6 percent increase over this year’s spending. But the mayor’s budget relies on millions of dollars in state funding that the legislature may not approve.

About 200 people crowded into aldermanic chambers for Tuesday’s hearing, and more than 20 spoke.

Several of the speakers expressed support for the Shubert, saying it plays an important role in the community’s economic and cultural development.

“I think the Shubert Theater is an invaluable resource for the city residents,” said Norman Forrester, secretary of the Shubert’s board of directors.

Claire Criscuolo, co-owner of Claire’s Corner Copia near the Shubert, said that customers brought in during shows at the Shubert have helped support her business.

“We employ 50 people at our restaurant,” she said. “We couldn’t do this without the Shubert shows on a regular basis because there just isn’t enough business when the students are away.”

Another group of speakers asked the aldermen to continue subsidies for Tweed New Haven Regional Airport.

“We need a small regional airport from which we can quickly reach major hub airports,” said Tina Doyle, chairwoman of the Tweed New Haven neighborhood liaison committee.

Other speakers asked the board to maintain funding for programs like the Small Business Initiative and the Commission on Equal Opportunities.

The Finance Committee is scheduled to start deliberations on the budget May 7.

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