4/14/20 - COVID-19 Update from First Selectman Jim Marpe
Announcement on Tax Relief Proposal
Tax Relief Program
On April 1, 2020, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7S, which includes directives that may provide relief for the municipal taxes that are due to be paid to Westport in April 2020. The Order requires that each municipality adopt one or both program(s) offering tax relief to local residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Per the Governor’s Executive Order, such a proposal must then be adopted by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM).
Since the time of that Executive Order issuance, Town officials have been working diligently to develop a tax relief program. After careful analysis, the administration today recommended that the RTM approve the deferment program because it offers the most financial benefit to the neediest subset of taxpayers. The deferment program authorizes an extended three-month grace period for payment of taxes by eligible taxpayers.
Mr. Marpe stated, “Many Westporters are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. These individuals and businesses need relief and we cannot wait. I am committed to supporting the proposed deferral program so that those who are struggling to make their tax payments can seek immediate relief.”
The administration will explain its detailed analysis and justifications to the RTM during its special meeting on April 22. The RTM will vote on the program during that meeting. Upon the RTM’s approval of a tax relief program for Westport, additional information and instructions to the public will be released as quickly as possible.
Local Business Advisor Program
Local businesses are also reminded of the opportunity to participate in the newly-formed Local Business Advisor Program, being overseen by Second Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker. The Town of Westport, in partnership with the Westport-based non-profit organization Social Venture Partners (SVP), announced that it has launched the program to provide support to Westport’s businesses as they navigate the current COVID-19 crisis and plan strategically for the post-COVID-19 business environment. SVP volunteers, who include talented businessmen and women with expertise in various key areas, will be paired with local business owners to provide cost-free, individual, and confidential advisory services.
Businesses are eligible to participate in the program if they have a bricks and mortar presence in Westport, an employee base, and have been an established business for at least one year. Westport-based businesses interested in participating in the Local Business Advisor Program should email LBAPInfo@westportct.gov. For more information about SVP, please visit https://www.socialventurepartners.org/connecticut/
Community Bell Ring
In an effort to stay connected while apart, we will continue our community bell ring at 5pm on Wednesday. Tomorrow, please step out to your front yard, front steps or even open your window from 5:00 pm to 5:02 pm and sound a bell, chime, play an instrument, clap or bang a pot to ring out your gratitude to our medical personnel and essential workers and all the people who are keeping our community safe. This will remind us that, while we may be physically separated, we remain united.
We are continuing to emphasize the need to self-isolate, quarantine if necessary, socially distance yourself and, as much as possible, stay at home. With the nicer weather upon us it will be a challenge to abide by these directives, but it is as important as ever to be consistent in our efforts. Together, we can flatten the curve. Remember, you’re not stuck at home, you’re safe at home.
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