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On behalf of the City of Danbury, I would like to welcome you to our investor relations website.
We appreciate your interest and investment in bonds issued by the City, as it allows us to make critical investments in public infrastructure throughout Danbury. We are committed to maintaining our strong bond ratings, and we are also committed to being as transparent as possible with the investor community and public at large.
When considering working with the City of Danbury, it is also beneficial to understand "who" we are and "what" we are about. The City of Danbury is a large city with a population over 84,000 residents. Danbury's diverse community is something we are all proud of and it has not gone unrecognized. Public safety is always one of our key priorities, and we take great pride in ensuring the safety and well-being of the citizens of Danbury. In fact, we were once again recognized as one of the safest large cities in Connecticut! As we continue our economic rebound, we continue experiencing the joys of seeing people get back to work!
In addition to its growth and diversity, Danbury's vibrancy also has to do with the responsiveness to its growth, businesses choosing Danbury as their new home, focus on the growing student population, and attention to infrastructure. As our population grows, so does the need for public health safety in relation to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Health was extremely instrumental in ensuring testing and vaccination sites were communicated and accessible to the general public, as we do our part to increase safety and decrease infection rates in our community. In doing so, we are experiencing sharp decreases in the infection rate!
Public Safety is a top priority, as it is the cornerstone of overall health and prosperity of the City. As a result, the Danbury Police Department has seen a drop in crime in 2020, and the trend should continue going in the right direction.
I hope you find this website useful as you seek to better understand the credit fundamentals of the city. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with suggestions for how we can be doing better.
Thanks again for your interest in our bond program!
David W. St. Hilaire, Director of Finance
Julia Perkins | June 17, 2021 - Updated: June 17, 2021 9:33 p.m.
Danbury's Palace theater reopens after restoration and 15-month COVID shutdown
The Palace Danbury theatre will be reopen on Saturday for the first time since March 2020. It is undergoing a minor restoration. Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Danbury, Conn.
A shadow hung over The Palace theater’s last show.
On Saturday, March 7, 2020 — the day after the first Danbury and Connecticut connection to the coronavirus was reported — and a comedian performed at the downtown theater as an early St. Patrick’s Day event.
“It was a really funny show … but something didn’t feel quite right,” said Carol Freud Spiegel, managing director for The Palace. “The staff and audience were all talking about ‘that virus.’”
Shortly after, the Palace and other venues across the state and nation closed.
Fifteen months later, the theater is reopening its doors Saturday night, featuring comedian Julia Scotti.
With reopening has come increased cleaning and a minor restoration to the marquee.
Theater officials had considered opening earlier, but will open now without the COVID-19 restrictions the state was under until a month ago.
“I’m glad we waited until now to open,” Spiegel said.
The reopening comes as new COVID-19 cases in Danbury are at among the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic.
The city reported eight positive tests taken June 8 through June 13, according to Danbury’s latest report. That’s the lowest weekly number since seven cases were reported the week of March 9, 2020, and a big improvement from several months ago, Mayor Joe Cavo said.
“I’m excited to see businesses start to be able to reopen,” he said. “It’s nice to be at this point in time.”
He said he still wants to move forward “cautiously,” but has seen more people in restaurants and businesses.
“It’s a sign of encouragement,” Cavo said.
Patrons at The Palace will not be required to wear masks, although staff will, Spiegel said. The theater brought in an outside service to clean and sanitize the building from “head to toe,” she said. The air filtration system was upgraded.
The theater has 400 seats, but only 200 tickets will be sold to Saturday’s show. All tickets are general admission, so patrons may seat themselves away from others.
“This will be a self social-distanced show,” Spiegel said. **“**There are some seats that will be closed off. I don't anticipate us to be at capacity this weekend.”
Ahead of the opening, the theater is returning to its roots. The marquee has been painted with the historic colors the theater’s opening in 1928, she said. LED lights were installed on the marquee.
“The space and the time has given us time to reflect on what we want to see and what we want our public to see,” Spiegel said. “It's pretty exciting.”
The theater plans to continue with interior restoration, she said.
Saturday’s show begins at 8 p.m. with opener Anita Wise, a stand-up comedian who has been featured at the “Just for Laughs Festival” in Montreal and has appeared on “Seinfield” and “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno.
The main act is Julia Scotti, who has been named one of the Top Five Transgender Comedians in the country by The Advocate magazine. She was a finalist on Season 11 of “America’s Got Talent” and is known as the “crazy old lady of comedy.”
She has a comedy special on Showtime called “More Women of a Certain Age” and a new documentary film, “Julia Scotti: Funny That Way.”
Scotti said she appeals to all generations.
“Young kids laugh at me because I'm like a crazy grandmother,” she said in a statement. “Middle-aged people say I remind them of their grandmother, and my age people say it's so true what I say.”
Julia Perkins | June 28, 2021Updated: June 28, 2021 4:41 p.m.
Interim superintendent named in Danbury ahead of Pascarella's retirement
DANBURY — Assistant Superintendent Kevin Walston will temporarily lead the district until a permanent school chief is named.
Sal Pascarella, who has served as superintendent for 15 years, is set to retire after Wednesday, and the school board has narrowed down a list of candidates to replace him.
“It’s an honor to have been in this district,” Pascarella said after the board voted Wednesday to name Walston as interim superintendent. “It’s a labor of love. It’s a wonderful, wonderful community to be in and to retire from for me, wonderful memories. And I know you’ll continue to do good work. I’m really proud of the district.”
The school board plans to interview the top five candidates for permanent superintendent on Tuesday and Wednesday over Zoom, said Gladys Cooper, chair of the education board. Members will narrow down the list to two to three candidates, who will then be interviewed in-person, she said.
The board has eyed July 7 as the date to pick the new leader, but the decision could be pushed if board members aren’t satisfied with the candidates, Cooper said.
“We just don’t want to rush the process,” she said.
The new superintendent is expected to be announced sometime after the week of July 5, according to a timeline on the district’s website.
Walston is expected to serve until the new superintendent takes over or “until the board otherwise takes further action,” according to the motion the board members approved. His new role begins July 1.
“Obviously I’m honored to be filling for Dr. Sal and supporting the district in this role in the interim,” he said.
Other new positions
The district has a new interim finance director, Frank Connolly, with experience in schools and municipal governance. Connolly has served as town manager in North Branford, Newington and Coventry and as school business manager in Stonington.
He has been interim school finance director for various districts, including North Haven and Monroe, where he and the superintendent were put on leave in January 2020 due to budgetary shortfall problems that investigators later determined started before they were hired.
Connolly is the author of “Hidden Agendas: Inside Town Hall,” a book about small-town politics in a fictional Connecticut community.
He is taking over for Courtney LeBorious, who is leaving Danbury for another position. She became finance director in November 2019.
Three new principals were hired, too.
Michelle Tarsi will lead Mill Ridge Primary School, while Ellen Paolino will head Hayestown Elementary School beginning July 1. Janet Sayegh will be interim principal of the Danbury Primary Center, the new kindergarten school opening in Brookfield under the COVID-19 return-to-school plan.
Since 2009, Sayegh has been a fifth-grade teacher at Pembroke Elementary School, where she is seen as the “right-hand person,” said Kara Casimiro, director of teaching and learning. Sayegh is one of three summer school directors.
Tarsi has been Mill Ridge’s interim principal for the past year and previously served as assistant principal at Park Avenue Elementary School, where she taught for 15 years. She has worked as a district numeracy coach and summer school administrator.
“Michelle is committed to ensuring that all students learn to their maximum potential and to fostering innovation through collaboration with teachers, staff, students and families,” Walston said in a statement. “She is familiar with the traditions and successful practices at Mill Ridge Primary and will diligently continue in her official capacity as its principal.”
Paolino has been principal of Walsh School in Waterbury for seven years and served as interim principal for Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School in Waterbury.
“Ms. Paolino impressed all of our interview committees with her education, her experience, her knowledge and her passion, and we believe that she is poised to lead Hayestown forward in the strongest way,” Walston said.