Haven’t filed your taxes yet? IRS-certified volunteers will provide free assistance from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday during Dollars and Sense Day at the downtown Hartford Public Library.
The event, open to the public, is sponsored by the city of Hartford, the Village for Families and Children, and the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.
If you’re curious about the city’s zoning process, a free workshop will be held tonight at the library discussing how it impacts the neighborhoods and residents.
The workshop also will delve into the purposes of zoning and the city’s plans for modifying the zoning code, officials said.
It begins at 6 p.m. at the library’s downtown location: 500 Main St. (Image via Hartford Public Library)
The city in July announced a new quality of life initiative, urging residents to take action against litter, graffiti, noise and blight.
The initiative centers on community discussions and adherence to “neighborhood standards,” which include ensuring that residents pick up after their pets; mow their lawns and clear snow from sidewalks; and do not park vehicles on lawns; litter or write graffiti; dump trash outside of trash cans; drag race on city streets; or blast music. Residents should also make sure their children attend school.
The city held its first community conversation on Aug. 24, and two more are planned. They are as follows:
* On Sept. 7 (Saturday), from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pope Park Recreation Center, 30 Pope Park Drive. Lunch will be provided. This meeting concerns the neighborhoods of Frog Hollow, South Green, Sheldon Charter Oak, South End, Barry Square, Parkville, Behind the Rocks, Southwest and South Meadows.
* On Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 46 Woodland St. This meeting concerns the West End, Asylum Hill, Downtown and South Downtown neighborhoods.
A community get-together for all participants in the conversations will be held Oct. 23, beginning at 5:30 p.m., at the city’s public library, 500 Main St.
The nonprofit Billings Forge, which provides farm-to-table job training, farmer’s markets and housing for city residents in the Frog Hollow neighborhood, has expanded to Hartford’s downtown with a new cafe in the public library’s Main Street branch.
The Kitchen at Hartford Public Library.
The cafe will serve breakfast, lunch and pastries made from locally grown and sourced ingredients, organizers said.
With the addition of the cafe, about 16 to 20 people will be able to go through the nonprofit’s 12-week job training program per year, said Julie Carrion, the director of catering and education for Billings Forge. Participants learn everything from cooking and baking to sanitation and food safety.
Employees work the register at the new cafe.
Billings Forge started about seven years ago in Frog Hollow. The Kitchen at Billings Forge, set in an 1869 building that once housed the Billings and Spencer tool forge — which manufactured drop iron wrenches for bicycles, pliers and tongs — also sells locally sourced food.
The Billings Forge complex also includes market rate and subsidized apartments, the Firebox restaurant, a farmer’s market, community gardens and an art studio.
You can read more here.
Check out some video of the ribbon cutting:
The Hartford Public Library has started a scrapbook project to collect memories from the Hartford circus fire, Nicole Perez reports. Dozens died in that 1944 disaster, including David Fitzgerald’s 3-year-old brother, James.
Fitzgerald “remembers the 95-degree temperatures on July 6, 1944,” Perez writes. “He remembers jumping on a crowded bus with his brother, mother and next-door neighbors to go to the circus. He remembers sitting high on the wooden bleachers, and seeing orange flames to his left.”
Now 75, Fitzgerald attended the library’s event on Saturday to begin the scrapbook that will be presented next year to coincide with the fire’s 70th anniversary.
Do you have memories of the circus fire? Librarians invite you to write them down in the scrapbook located in the Hartford History Center on the downtown library’s third floor. If you’re out of state and can’t stop by, try contacting staff on the library’s Facebook page.
After reviewing records for several city employee purchasing cards and making recommendations for changes, Hartford’s internal audit commission said late last month that it also would look into purchases made by school, library and parking authority employees.
On Friday, it released the results of the Hartford Parking Authority city credit card review. In a two-page document, Deputy Chief Auditor Craig Trujillo said the commission reviewed 25 purchases (about half of the overall transactions made so far this fiscal year) totaling $8,489. It found no problems with the purchases made, he said.
“We examined evidential matter supporting p-card transactions and compliance to spending policies and procedures,” Trujillo wrote. “We are pleased to report that the results of our examination disclosed no issues that warrant disclosure or management’s attention.”
No word yet on the results of the school or library employees’ p-card reviews.
To read Trujillo’s report, click here: FinalReport1318-HartfordParkingAuthorityPCardAudit
The city’s deputy chief auditor, Craig Trujillo, has informed the school system, the Hartford Public Library and the Hartford Parking Authority that expenses on their city-issued credit cards will be audited. The purchasing cards are used for dining, travel and other expenses.
Here is the main text of Trujillo’s email sent this morning. A copy of the internal memo was provided to Cityline.
We will be starting an audit of the Procurement Card usage and operations at the Hartford Public School System, Hartford Public Library and the Hartford Parking Authority. The purpose of the audit is to evaluate and test internal accounting and operating controls, the accuracy and propriety of transactions processed, and the degree of compliance with established Procurement Card Program operating policy and procedures, and to recommend improvements where required.
If there are any areas you would like us to include or place special emphasis on during our audit, or if you have any questions regarding this audit, please feel free to call me.
Trujillo addressed the memo to city schools’ Chief Financial Officer Paula Altieri, library CEO Matthew Poland and parking authority CEO Mark McGovern.
Cityline has written extensively about the city’s recent p-card controversies, including here, here and here.
Last year, we revealed that the city revoked a school principal’s purchasing card after finance officers flagged multiple spending items, such as a $150 expense from the upscale handbag store Coach. Pamela Totten-Alvarado has since retired as principal of Kinsella Magnet School of the Performing Arts. (She also was the focus of a controversy several months ago over missing PTO funds.)
UPDATED: Here’s the full story on the new audit.
Mayor Pedro Segarra and city council members are hosting a two-part budget workshop called “The People’s Budget” that aims to educate the public on the process, while also seeking input from residents. The first session was Thursday night at Hartford Public Library, where Segarra discussed priorities for the city’s 2013-14 budget.
A second session is planned for Saturday, March 23, beginning at 12:30 p.m. at Trinity College’s Mather Hall.
Segarra is expected to release his proposed budget for next fiscal year on April 15. The annual budget hearing is set for April 24 at Bulkeley High School.
Have a question about how the city’s budget process works? How about suggestions for the mayor or city council on what should be cut, or what should be preserved?
Mayor Pedro Segarra and council members are hosting a two-part budget workshop (called “The People’s Budget”) aimed at educating the public on the process and seeking input. They’ll be discussing the city’s 2013-14 budget. Segarra is expected to release his proposed budget for that fiscal year — which begins July 1 — on April 15.
The first session will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at the city’s public library, 500 Main St. Segarra is expected to lay out his priorities and explain the budget adoption process and how residents can get involved. Attendees are encouraged to share what city services are important to them.
The second session will run from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on March 23 at Trinity College’s Mather Hall (on Summit Street south of the intersection with College Terrace). Attendees will have the opportunity to identify their budget priorities, prepare their own balanced city budget and present the budgets to the mayor. The workshop will be held in Mather Hall’s Washington Room.
Early projections show a $70 million deficit for 2013-14 and officials are considering various methods for offsetting it. Segarra has said his budget proposal will take into account the community’s needs and his commitments to education reform, park beautification and public safety.
To read more about the projections for next year’s budget, click here, here or here.