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Trees Sprouting Across Connecticut, 19 Municipalities Lead the Way

Tree City USA is an honor earned by cities and towns that meet four standards set by theArbor Day Foundation and have their application approved the State Forester.

Connecticut currently has 19 municipalities with the Tree City USA designation, which cover 31 percent of the state’s population. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, Connecticut’s longest running Tree City is Fairfield, which recently surpassed 26 years.  The largest community is Bridgeport, the smallest, by population, is Brookfieldthumb-grid-shaded-path

The four standards are having:

  • A tree board or department
  • A tree care ordinance
  • An urban forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita
  • An Arbor Day observance and proclamation

The other Tree City USA communities in Connecticut are Branford, Danbury, East Hartford, Groton, Hartford, Middletown, Monroe, New Canaan, New Haven, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Southbury, Stamford, West Haven, Wethersfield andWilton.

Norwalk and Wethersfield, for demonstrating a higher level of tree care, have received Growth Awards from the organization.  Overall, there are 3,400 Tree City USA honorees across the country, with a combined population of more than 140 million.logo-tree-city-usa-color

Annual participation as a Tree City USA community provides the opportunity to educate people who care about their community about the value of tree resources, the importance of sustainable tree management and engage individuals and organizations in advancing tree planting and care across the urban forest.

The organization also offers on-line education courses for individuals interested in learning more about trees, or about serving in a citizen advisory role in their local community.

The Arbor Day Foundation indicates that an effective tree program can:

  • Reduce costs for energy, storm water management, and erosion control. Trees yield up to three times their cost in overall benefits to the city, averaging $273 per tree.
  • Cut energy consumption by up to 25%. Studies indicate that as few as three additional trees planted around each building in the United States could save our country $2 billion, annually, in energy costs.
  • Boost property values across your community. Properly placed trees can increase property values from 7-21% and buildings in woodedareas rent more quickly and tenants stay longer.

tree in BridgeportThe Arbor Day Foundation also has a campus program, designating colleges and universities as a Tree Campus USA.  The University of Connecticut is the only college in Connecticut to earn the designation.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Urban Forestry Program is available to work with any community interested in exploring whether it qualifies as a Tree City USA and what is needed to earn that designation.

DEEP officials indicate that “many communities might be surprised at how close they are.”  Applications for next year’s honor are due in December.  The program was initiated by the Arbor Day Foundation in 1976.

Measuring Municipal Fiscal Disparities in Connecticut

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New England Public Policy Center Research Report 15-1

MEASURING MUNICIPAL FISCAL DISPARITIES IN CONNECTICUT

by Bo Zhao Jennifer Weiner

is now available on the Boston Fed’s web site:

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-Abstract-

Fiscal disparities exist when some municipalities face higher costs for

providing a given level of public services or fewer taxable resources to

finance those services than others. A municipality’s economic and social

characteristics can affect both costs and resources.

The potential for fiscal disparities in Connecticut is particularly high given

the vast socioeconomic differences observed across the state’s 169 cities

and towns.  This paper measures the non-school fiscal health of Connecticut

municipalities using a “municipal gap.” Municipal gap is the difference between

the uncontrollable costs associated with providing public services and the

economic resources available to a municipality to pay for those services.

<http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/neppc/researchreports/2015/rr1501.htm?wt.source=neppc_ctgap_email>

AARP Publishes Liveable Communities Index

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AARP Livable Communities

You can find out right now by typing your address — or any U.S. address, zip code, town or city name — into the AARP Livability Index, a new online tool that calculates a score based on the latest data and indicators about an area’s housing, transportation, economy, community services and more. Since the index is customizable, users can find scores based on the features that matter to them most.

Try the tool »

Livability Score

This score rates the overall livability of a selected neighborhood, city, county, or state on a scale from 0 to 100. It is based on the average score of seven livability categories—housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity—which also range from 0 to 100. We score communities by comparing them to one another, so the average community gets a score of 50, while above-average communities score higher and below-average communities score lower.

All scoring begins at the neighborhood level. Cities, counties, and states receive a score based on the average scores of neighborhoods within their boundaries. Most communities have a range of more- or less-livable neighborhoods, but for a community to get a high score, neighborhoods throughout it need to score well. This makes it even more challenging for a city, county, or state to get a high score: the more neighborhoods there are within a given boundary, the less likely it will be that all of them have high scores.

Creating a livable community is challenging, and so is getting a high livability score. To get a perfect score of 100, a neighborhood would have to be among the best in the country in each of the seven livability categories. Scoring highly across all categories is difficult. For example, a transit-rich neighborhood has its benefits, but it can also drive up housing prices. To help that neighborhood score highly in both categories, community leaders would have to commit to ensuring affordable housing near public transit is available.

http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/

Town Poverty Rates 2015 – Legislative Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut

This report published as a PDF file shows the number of people in each Connecticut Town who live in poverty, are unemployed, receive tax relief through the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit, and Use state and federal assistance programs needed to obtain health care, income support, food, and housing.

http://larcc.org/files/larcc_files/Town%20by%20town%202015.pdf

 

State study: Visitors to CT spent $8.3B in 2013

The economic impact of Connecticut tourism in 2013 continued to creep back toward its pre-recession high, according to astate-commissioned report released Wednesday.

Visitors to the state increased their spending to $8.3 billion in 2013, up from $8 billion in 2012 and $8.1 billion in 2011, according to the report, which was authored by Pennsylvania-based Tourism Economics and comes ahead of the May 12 Governor’s Conference on Tourism at the Connecticut Convention Center.

The spending by those 58.1 million visitors created additional indirect and induced economic impacts that together totaled $14 billion, the report said.

And it also generated direct state and local taxes of $504.6 million and 80,645 direct jobs with a payroll of $5 billion.

The 2012-2013 spending increase was driven by the food and beverage and retail sectors.

Meanwhile, the largest piece of the tourism pie — recreation and entertainment — declined by 1 percent, to $2.8 billion. That category includes casino spending.

Two-thirds of visitors to Connecticut in 2013 were day travelers, but overnight travelers accounted for 62 percent of total spending, or $5.1 billion, the report said.

State tourism officials will kick off the latest iteration of their “Connecticut still revolutionary” marketing campaign later this month.