City officials were taken by surprise last week when the person who was the city’s Finance Director, Ron Cicatelli, was escorted out of City Hall Friday morning. What started as a normal day at 355 Main St., turned out to be one of the most unusual days ever – that’s saying a lot for a building that has seen some strange things since it was opened 48 years ago.
Cicatelli, who had been appointed Finance Director a scant five months ago, departed his job after handing in a one-sentence resignation letter to Mayor Nancy N. Rossi. It was then the man was allowed to pick up his personal effects and, in what is standard operating procedure in most businesses, he was given an escort.
Why he determined to quit, and why he determined to quit so abruptly has many officials, longtime observers and average citizens scratching their heads. Just last week a staff member told this writer Cicatelli was looking for new digs in the New Haven area, and planned on moving his entire family. He may, but not as a member of West Haven’s Finance Dept.
Still, the question asked by many is why he quit. That is something that hasn’t come out – not yet. In a city like West Haven where city officials sometimes act like sparrows on a fence in their less guarded moments, the chances of the reasons coming out are pretty good.
We do know that there was friction between the mayor’s office and the Finance Dept. in the last few weeks. Friction is normal, but takes on even more significance when a city such as ours in the monetary straits it is. We don’t know the proximate reason for the dispute that was reported, but we can guess it had to do with process – it’s always about process.
Given Mayor Rossi is a hands-on type of personality, friction between she and her various departments have been the stuff of the city’s rumor mill for months. She is nothing if not single-minded, and has shown herself to be a bit of a noodge over the first year of her term. Being a noodge is not a bad thing, and being single-minded in a city that needs leadership isn’t bad either. The difference is in delivery.
There was talk of hiring an assistant soon, and one wonders if the very soon announced Frank Ciepilski, the person who took the job Monday morning, was in the running for that position.
Whatever the reason for Cicatelli’s departure, and the luck of having someone to fill the gap so readily, the city is now entering into that yearly exercise called “budget preparation.” Since last March when Rossi issued her first proposed budget, she had to defend, cajole, bargain and scratch her way into making the plan palatable for the Municipal Accountability Review Board (MARB), the panel that was given the task of overseeing city financial maneuvering by the General Assembly.
Getting the Fiscal Year 2019 budget massaged in such a way that MARB approved was a gargantuan task — one that took most of the rest of 2018. Not having a Financial Director as we get into the first phases of budget prep would be something not to be wished on a worst enemy.
Ciepilski has fine credentials, but he will have to get up to speed quickly. Cicatelli had some time to get himself acclimated to the players and the system. With only weeks to go before the Board of Finance begins the budget process, he will need a crash course.
While that was going on, the city was told it would get the funding necessary to fill a budgetary gap left when the General Assembly reneged on its commitment to West Haven in the form of state aid back in 2017. That budget battle saw most of the state’s 169 towns and cities get the budgetary rug pulled out from under them. The difference is City Hall did not make any adjustments, and found itself staring down an $8 million hole.
MARB has dangled the funding in front of city officials for more than a year – since it was empaneled after the city bonded to pay off its 12-year-old operating deficit. The money is still not safely in city coffers. Two more steps need to take place: the state wants a review of fire service and consolidation, and the audit has to come through. Once those two tasks are completed, an April 30 deadline has been set where it is hoped the funds can be put aside.
With the budget just around the corner, and the closing of the yearlong effort to redesign municipal spending coming to an end, city taxpayers know that higher taxes are coming as well. The five-year plan approved by MARB includes incremental increases over the length of the plan.
The city is not out of the woods. The next budget cycle is going to be pivotal to see if newly imposed spending limits and staffing limits can be maintained. There is a hard road ahead, and the episode of last week might be an indication of just how hard things are going to be.
By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
The 2019 bulk trash pickup schedule is April 8-12 and Sept. 9-13.
Residents are reminded to separate metals and recyclables from regular trash and to put out trash no more than 24 hours before pickup. Violations carry a $100 fine per daily offense, Public Works Commissioner Tom McCarthy said.
Bulk items include couches, chairs, tables, carpeting, padding, fencing and small amounts of bundled lumber, which may not exceed 6 feet in length. No building materials, tires, mattresses, propane tanks or hazardous waste are accepted.
Options for disposing of building materials include renting a dumpster or bringing the materials to a disposal facility for a fee.
Tires can be brought to Lakin Tire East Inc., 220 Frontage Road, for a fee.
Mattresses can be disposed of for free in a container at the city’s highway maintenance garage, 1 Collis St. Mattresses must be dry.
Propane tanks can be brought to Taylor Rental, 304 Boston Post Road, Orange, for a fee of $10 per tank.
Hazardous waste can be dropped off for free at HazWaste Central, 90 Sargent Drive, New Haven. HazWaste is open Saturday mornings from mid-May through October.
In addition to bulk trash, the city picks up household appliances, also known as white goods, and toilets. To schedule a pickup on their curbside collection day, residents must call the Highway Department at 203-937-3644 or 203-927-3585. Appliance doors must be removed.
The amount of bulk trash per collection is limited to 6 cubic yards, which is equal to a pile of trash about 6 feet long, 6 feet wide and 4.5 feet high.
Homeowners are required to rent a dumpster or hire a junk removal service at their expense if trash exceeds 6 cubic yards. Otherwise, trash exceeding 6 cubic yards will be left at the curb, and a $100 fine per daily offense will be imposed, McCarthy said.
To prevent a potential fine, property owners should familiarize themselves with the city’s trash guidelines at http://www.cityofwesthaven.com/260/Bulk-Trash-Pickup.
Bulk trash must be generated by the customer at the residential unit where it is collected. Trash will not be collected if it is generated by anyone other than the resident of the home.
Bulk items must be separated and orderly. Do not place them next to a mailbox or utility pole or close to a fence, McCarthy said.
Also, do not place bulk items in front of a vacant lot or home — they will not be collected, he said.
The 2019 e-waste drop-off days are April 13, July 13, Sept. 14 and Nov. 9.
Residents can drop off electronic recyclables — typically anything that contains a circuit board or needs a battery — from 8 a.m. to noon at the highway maintenance garage.
Anything that has refrigerant, including air conditioners and dehumidifiers, is not accepted. Those items are considered white goods, and residents are asked to schedule a pickup on their weekly collection day by calling the Highway Department.
The e-waste drop-off is free for residents who have such items as TVs, hand-held video games, computers, monitors, copiers, scanners, microwaves, toaster ovens and other small appliances.
By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
The second installment of the city’s real estate, personal property, and motor vehicle tax and sewer bills were due Jan. 1, and payments after Feb. 1 are considered delinquent and subject to interest, Tax Collector Dorothy Chambrelli said.
Taxpayers of the Allingtown Fire District received a revised bill for both real estate and personal property because the current levy is insufficient to pay expenses for the current fiscal year, Chambrelli said.
Pursuant to statutory requirements and as required in the five-year plan adopted by the state Municipal Accountability Review Board, the City Council approved an increase of .94 mill to the current Allingtown mill rate, resulting in an increase from 13.06 to 14 mills.
The revised bill replaces the second half of the 2017 grand list bill, which was due Jan. 1. The motor vehicle bill remains the same, Chambrelli said.
The 2017 supplemental motor vehicle bill is for vehicles registered after Oct. 1, 2017.
The tax office is open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays on the first floor of City Hall, 355 Main St. The city has an ATM outside the office.
Taxpayers can see their tax bills, make a payment, and print their payment history for income tax purposes at www.cityofwesthaven.com and clicking on Tax Collector under the Government heading. Sewer bills are on the same page but under a separate heading.
In January, current taxes can be paid by mail to a tax office lockbox, P.O. Box 150461, Hartford 06115-0461. When paying by lockbox or the drop box outside the tax office in City Hall, the canceled check is the receipt.
After Feb. 1, taxes with interest can be paid by mail to the Office of the Tax Collector, P.O. Box 401, West Haven 06516. Payments can also be made in person.
Anyone needing a motor vehicle clearance must pay in person with cash, credit card, bank check or money order.
By Joseph Weber and John Dolan
In our quest to get out the story of the HMT Rohna over the past year, we reached out to many, and wish to acknowledge all those who so willingly helped.
University of New Haven…Ron Quagliani, Joe Sudol, Bruce Barber, Julie Carbonella.
WHHS…Mark Consorte, Mike Backman, Jason Kirck, Alex Znosko, Donna Morgan, Jon Capone, MaryLou Limauro, Cassie Marcella, Joe Morrell.
WHHS Student Actors…Lauren Panza, Dan Gallipoli, Wilson Valois, Austin Greenwood.
US Servicemen Actors… SSgt Philip Lee-US Army, Seaman Mason Couch-USCG.
WH Veterans Museum& Learning Center…Frank Chasney, Arlene Painter, Irving Moy, Gordon Bergman, Ed Kacey, Bob Ellis, Bill Benson, Beth Sabo, Carole McElrath.
The Rohna Survivors Memorial Association…Janice Pumelia & Rob, Michael Walsh & Danette, Catherine Ladnier & Mickey, Ellen Weber, Jack Ballo & Barbara, Lt. Col. Jason Markiewitz.
Media…Bill Riccio (WH Voice), Mark Zaretsky (NH Register/ CT Magazine), Gabor Kautzner (WNHU/Citizen’s TV).
Typists…Joan Vitolo, Patrice Farquharson, Joan Venditto.
Music…DJ Rick Gilbert & Sue
Peter Logiodice, Br. George Schmitz (ND), Joe (Trooper) Weber, Peggy Dolan (WHPL), Dave Ricci (WH Veterans Council), Bill Gordon (WW2 Vet), NHPL, Joe & Janet Scaglia, Cindy Latham.
Rohna Remembrance Committee of WH…Judy Pfister, Grace Youngs Hall, Frank Consorte, Gloria Weber, Barbara Melotto, Suzanne Dolan, Jenny Weber, Helen & Charlie Dolan, Ron Conlan, Ray & Kathy St Clair, Bud Giaquinto, Mark Levine, Joe Linehan.
We thank US Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Mayor Nancy Rossi, State Reps. Dorinda Borer and Michael Di Massa, along with a large audience, for attending the “WH Remembers the Rohna” program on 12/2.
May all the casualties & survivors of the HMT Rohna sinking on Nov. 26, 1943 forever be remembered.
The public is invited to the Winter Concert of the Nutmeg Symphonic Pops Orchestra and Chorale. It will be on Sunday, Jan. 27, at 3 p.m. in the Church Hall of St. Louis Church/St. John XXIII Parish, 89 Bull Hill Lane.
The program features soloists Daniel Juarez, Tenor and Kristin Smith-Gionfriddo, along with the Nutmeg-Gateway Chorale in selections from Rodgers & Hammerstein, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and other exciting and beautiful music.
No tickets are required. Seating is on a first-come basis. There is ample free parking in the back of the Church right next to the Hall, which is handicap accessible. The St. Louis Church Women’s Guild will provide light refreshments at the end of the concert. For information call Dino Ciaburri at (203) 933-2224.
Soup and Song
New Life Church at 255 Jones Hill Road, is featuring the sounds of Patti Dahl and Heartsong at the Soup and Song First Friday Fellowship on Friday, Feb. 1. Soup will be served starting at 6 and the concert begins at 7. A collection will be taken for the band. New Life Church is on the corner of South St. and Jones Hill Road., with plenty of parking and handicap accessibility.
The Seth Haley Memorial Loan Fund of West Haven provides eligible college students with loans of up to $2500 to help students finish their post high school education. Applicants must be West Haven residents who have completed two or more years of college or post-secondary work or be in their final two years of advanced work. Any West Haven resident attending college or a post high school professional, technical or trade school can be eligible for a loan. Repayments do not begin, and no interest will be charged until one year after graduation. If you are interested in making an application for a loan, please Gert Beckwith at (203) 934-6921, or Ralph Lawson, (203) 934-6442 or write to 170 Ivy St.
The West Haven Squirt A travel hockey team played two close games this weekend. The Westies tied a tough Riverhawks A team, 3-3, before dropping a 5-4 decision to Yale A. The Blue Devils are now 21-15-3 overall.
On Saturday morning at Edward L. Bennett Rink, the Westies came back from two goals down in the third period to earn a 3-3 tie against the Riverhawks. Ethan Kelly had a goal and two assists and Sean Studley scored the tying goal to lead the West Haven offense.
The Blue Devils scored the only goal of the first period when Ethan Kelly won an offensive zone faceoff to his brother Matthew, who zipped home a wrist shot from the blue line. The Riverhawks then took control of the game in the second period and went up 2-1 at the second intermission.
The Riverhawks made it 3-1, before the Westies battled back. Zach Melchiore worked hard in the neutral zone and drew a penalty. On the power play, Ethan Kelly won a draw back to Jonathan Charbonneau, who quickly passed to Ryan Pniewski. Pniewski’s shot was deflected by Kelly over the goalie and in. Less than a minute later, Ethan Kelly stole the puck and found Studley in the high slot. Studley buried the tying goal with a rising wrist shot.
Leo Mazuroski played solid defense throughout the game and Maddex LaFountain made 14 saves in goal for the Westies.
On Sunday, the Blue Devils faced Yale at Ingalls Rink in New Haven. Studley and Ethan Kelly each scored a pair of goals, but it was not enough as Yale outlasted West Haven, 5-4.
Kelly tallied the only goal of the first period when he stole the puck in Yale’s end and roofed it with two minutes left before intermission. LaFountain made a sprawling save as the buzzer rang to preserve the lead.
Yale tied the score at 1-1 in the first minute of the second period and looked to take the lead with a power play. But Melchiore chipped the puck against the boards where Studley grabbed it and beat a defender. His rising wrist shot went upper 90 and the short-handed tally gave West Haven the lead again.
A minute later Melchiore tipped the puck to Kelly who slid it to Studley. The winger made an easy deposit in the net and the Westies looked to be in control.
Yale rallied for two goals within 15 seconds of each other late in the second to even it at 3-3. LaFountain made another clutch save on a breakaway with two seconds remaining to keep it tied.
Yale scored twice more in the third period while Ethan Kelly scored an unassisted goal for the Westies with three seconds remaining for the final margin. LaFountain made 16 saves in goal.
The West Haven Peewee A travel hockey team split a pair of games this week, falling to Southeastern in Norwich, before defeating Yale in West Haven.
The Westies opened the week with a 5-1 loss against Southeastern A. West Haven opened the scoring when Mickey Dowd scored off an assist from Michael Madera, but that was all West Haven could muster as Southeastern evened the game after one period and had a 3-1 lead after two.
The Westies rebounded with a 6-2 victory over Yale Sunday morning at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven. Madera led the way with two goals and two assists, Dowd had one goal and two assists, and Zach Goetze added a goal and an assist.
West Haven took a 2-0 lead after one period as Goetze scored off assists from Dowd and Madera 4:19 in, and Chris Consorte scored off an assist from Dylan Bosworth with 3:26 to go in the period. After Yale got within 2-1, West Haven scored the next two goals for a 4-1 lead.
Brady Price scored off an assist from Danny Johnson 5:13 into the second, and Madera scored off assists from Dowd and Ray Heenie with 1:54 to go for the three goal lead.
Yale scored 13 seconds into the third to get within 4-2, but Dowd scored off an assist from Madera just over three minutes in, and Madera capped the scoring off an assist from Goetze in the final two minutes.
For the sixth straight year, the Notre Dame basketball team is hosting a fundraising game for a deserving charity and like most years, the cause hits close to home.
This year, in conjunction with the teams’ home game with rival Hamden on Friday, the basketball team is partnering with the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) to raise money and awareness to benefit juvenile diabetes. The game tips off at 7 pm in Alumni Hall.
Juvenile diabetes hits home for this year’s Notre Dame team as senior Jaiden Kimbro (New Haven, CT) has a younger sister, Ava, who suffers from the disease.
“My family and I appreciate Coach Shea taking on this cause for the charity game,” said Kimbro, who is averaging 13.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in his senior season for the currently undefeated Green Knights.
Kimbro added, “Diabetes has affected her life in a lot of ways. She deals with it every day with her insulin and pump. She hasn’t had a normal childhood for the last five years. I hope we can raise a lot of money to help find a cure.”
“I am so proud of the team and their dedication and heart-felt approach to this event each year, especially with this disease affecting one of our family members” said head coach Jason Shea, whose teams have spearheaded past fundraiser nights for cancer, sickle cell disease, homelessness, and Alzheimer’s in his five years as head coach.
West Haven Girls basketball resumed play with games Friday night and Saturday morning at Haley
Jaciannna Mitchell and Ciara Harp combined for 14 points West Haven Drug and Alcohol Task Force Panthers handed the Gunning Law Huskies their first loss of the season with a 22-20 win. The Panthers also received four points each from Jocelyn Silber and Jasmine Smith. Finley Gunning hit for 12 points for the Huskies and Sophie McFarlane and Emma McFarland also scored for the Huskies.
The Panthers grabbed another win with an 18-13 win over the Prospect Beach Club Blue Devils. Rylie Boynton and Aleyia Lachance led the Panthers scoring. Micah Pullen, Heaven McKinney and Savannah McGorty led the Blue Devil attack.
The Rings End Lumbar Bruins picked two wins over the weekend. On Friday, Noelle Lawrence scored 19 points and Abby Wynus and Naveah Stegall added a combined nine in their 35-10 win over the Napoli Parts Eagles. The Eagles were led on the offensive end by Amarae Rosario, Ava Sorbo, and Justice Butler.
Samantha Boyd, Sara Went, Camilla Murphy and Jada Turner powered the Bruins over Prospect Beach Club Blue Devils, 25-9. The Eagles were led by Angelica Riley, Madison McGuire and Kira Sek.
The Gunning Law Huskies upended the Shoreline Dental Cardinals 15-8. The Huskies were led by the scoring of Samira Huckaby, Cashlin O’Neil Taryn Walker and Molly Gunning. The Cardinals were led by 6 points from Lily Granata and 2 points from Jada Fowler.
The Cardinals bounced back Saturday morning with a 19-17 come from behind win over the Eagles. Denavia Pittman, Cristel Miguel and Parish Rutledge starred for the Cardinals. Asihan Tuzcu, Brooklyn McCormack and Amalia Ortiz powered the Eagle offense.
The West Haven boys’ hockey team came up with two, big wins last week. On Wednesday evening the Westies hosted the Cheshire Rams at the Bennett Rink, Robbie Forleo circled behind the net and made a pass into the slot where Niko Kyle’s shot was denied but, Kaden Morgillo was there to score on a rebound with 1:49 left in the first period to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead. After a scoreless second period the Rams took advantage of a giveaway and evened the score at 4:38 of the third period. The teams battled for the remainder of the period but neither was able to capitalize, necessitating overtime. In the OT, Cheshire’s attempted clearing pass was intercepted by Richie Greene, who spun around and threw the puck toward the front of the net, where Kaden Morgillo made a beautiful tip over the Ram goaltender’s shoulder and into the top corner at 1:48 to give the Westies the 2-1 victory. Jared Plizska made 22 saves between the pipes for West Haven.
On Saturday afternoon, the Blue Devils headed to DiLungo Rink in East Haven to take on the East Haven/Old Lyme/Old Saybrook/East Hampton/Morgan/Valley Yellow Jackets. The Blue Devils jumped on the Yellow Jackets early when Nick Boanno scored assisted by Kaden Morgillo 1:24 into the game for a 1-0 lead. Boanno capitalized again on a rebound of a Richie Greene shot with 47 seconds left in the first period to make it 2-0. It was Boanno 5:29 into the second period when he battled through several Yellow Jackets, broke in on goal and his shot trickled through the Easties’ goaltender to increase the lead to 3-0.
The Yellow Jackets got one back on a deflection on the power play with 5:18 left in the second period to cut the lead to 3-1. The Easties tallied again 3:39 into the third to make it 3-2 before Nick Boanno made a beautiful pass to Kaden Morgillo on a 2 on 1, Morgillo’s shot caromed off the post but Boanno crashed to the net and picked the puck out of midair to score his fourth goal of the game. The Yellow Jackets responded less than two minutes later to get the Easties back to a one goal deficit at 4-3.
The Blue Devils made it 5-3 when Kevin Moriarty scored on a rebound on the power play assisted by Niko Kyle and D.J. Carfora. Thirty-four seconds later Ryan Bernardi went top shelf to put the Westies up 6-3 and then Kevin Moriarty tipped a Robbie Forleo point shot with 2:06 for the 7-3 final. Also picking up an assist on the goal was Conner Fowler. Jared Pliszka stopped 38 shots in goal for West Haven.
This week, the Blue Devils hosted the Fairfield Prep Jesuits on Wednesday evening and will have the weekend off before hosting the Hamden Green Dragons next Wednesday at 6:30.
After dropping its first game of the season, the West Haven/Sacred Heart girls’ hockey team has reeled of six, straight victories, included two 4-1 wins last week. On Tuesday evening, the Westie Sharks scored two goals in the first period and two, more in the second period to cruise to victory over the Notre Dame of Fairfield/Law/Foran/Weston/Pomperaug Lancers. Megan Froehlich took a pass from Taylor Nowak and found the back of the net 5:39 into the game for a 1-0 lead. Nowak then buried a one-timer from the slot with 4:55 left in the period to make it 2-0. Brooke McNabola’s point shot made it a 3-0 lead 3:14 into the second period followed by a Jenna Hunt redirection of a Veronica Lynn shot from the point increased the lead to 4-0 with 4:35 left in the period. The Lancers got one back with 38.1 seconds left in the period but, that would be their only offense in the game. Kyleen Crowe preserved the victory in between the pipes for the Westie Sharks.
On Saturday evening, the Westie Sharks extended their winning streak to eight games with a 4-1 triumph over the Branford/North Branford/Sheehan/Lyman Hall Wings.
This week, the streak will be tested with two, tough games on the schedule. On Wednesday, the girls traveled to Darien to face the perennial powerhouse Blue Wave and then finish the week with a trip to face Northwest Catholic/Mercy on Saturday at 4:10 in Cromwell.
The boys’ basketball team dropped two games last week to Cheshire and Fairfield Prep. On Wednesday evening the Westies lost to the Cheshire Rams 63-55.
On Friday evening, the Blue Devils trailed the Fairfield Prep Jesuits 32-25 at halftime but rallied to take the lead in the third quarter setting up a classic fourth quarter. The Westies took an eight-point lead in the final quarter but then watched the Jesuits battle back. The game was tied at 50-50 with 1:50 left in the game but, Jesuits hit a 3-pointer, a foul shot and after a West Haven turnover hit another basket to extend the lead to six at 56-50. The Westies continued to battle but fell short by a score of 59-58. Quannel Straughter had 14 points to lead the Blue Devils while Mufee Cooper had 11 points, Malcolm Duncanson had 10 points and Shea Sheffield added nine points in the loss.
This week, the boys traveled to North Haven to face the Indians on Tuesday and host the Sheehan Titans on Thursday at 7.
The girls’ basketball team has been struggling to get back on track but couldn’t find the answer last week. On Monday evening, the Westies traveled to East Haven to face defending state champion East Haven. The Yellow Jackets never gave the Blue Devils a chance in a 75-27 loss. Freshman Davina Mendez led the Westies with five points while Natalia Frazer had four points in the loss.
On Friday evening, the girls didn’t fare much better in a 55-36 loss to the Amity Spartans in Woodbridge.
This week, the girls hosted Lauralton Hall on Tuesday, traveled to face the Harding Presidents on Wednesday and finish the week hosted the Hillhouse Academics on Friday at 7.