Today, the Board of Selectmen held our first remote meeting via the ZOOM platform. Nineteen people attended the meeting via telephone or computer video. Regardless of the fact that I had absolutely no experience and basically fumbled my way through the technical aspects - we pulled it off. This is, for now, our new reality. All of our meetings, and any other board or commission who holds a meeting to do business, will be open to the public, properly noticed, posted on the website, and either recorded or transcribed. Backup materials for the meetings will be posted as well for public scrutiny. Thank you to all who joined the meeting for your patience while we learn how to do things differently.
One of the things I did today was join what seemed to be endless online and video meetings. Some of them focused on new procedures required by the Governor's executive orders, some were updates on our response to COVID-19, and others were opportunities for all of the First Selectmen to ask questions and let the Governor and Lt. Governor know what the towns need to best protect and serve our constituents.
The most important and pressing item that was discussed (in my humble opinion) was a description of what the State and Federal Government were doing to help mitigate the damage done to workers and businesses during necessary closures and layoffs. Within the next few days, there will be several "Tele-Town Meetings" scheduled around the state to explain the programs that are being put in place and how to access them. Here is a partial description of what is coming down the pike:
Help for Businesses and residents
Launch of the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program
news briefing this afternoon
, Governor Lamont today announced that his administration will soon launch a zero-interest loan program to help Connecticut small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by COVID-19.
The Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program will be administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development and will make $25 million available to businesses and nonprofits in the state that have fewer than 100 employees. Additional eligibility information and guidance on the application process will be published soon at
Federal Coronavirus Stimulus Bill #3
A few big things stand out:
Direct payments to taxpayers:
If you make less than $75,000 a year ($150,000 for couples), you’ll get $1,200 — faster if the I.R.S. has your direct-deposit information, later if they mail you a check. There’s an extra $500 for each dependent child. People who make more get less; over $100,000 a year ($200,000 for couples), and you’ll get nothing.
Expanded unemployment benefits:
Larger checks for four months; an extra 13 weeks of eligibility; and assistance for freelancers, “gig” workers (like Uber drivers) and furloughed workers.
Emergency loans for small businesses:
Employers who pledge not to lay anyone off can get government loans to help make payroll — and if they keep that promise for the duration of the crisis, they won’t have to repay the loan.
Money to shore up the heath care system:
$100 billion for hospitals and health systems, and billions more for testing supplies, protective equipment for health care workers, and construction of more space to house patients.
$500 billion to bail out larger companies:
To be doled out at the administration’s discretion, but with immediate reporting of who receives it, an inspector general to watch over the process, and a ban on any of the money going to businesses owned by senior government officials — including the Trump family.