During the waning hours of the 2014 legislative session, state Rep. Jason Perillo and state Sen. Kevin Kelly collaborated to move legislation through both the House and Senate to forgive $422,000 that the city of Shelton owes the state of Connecticut from the 1996 Shelton Intermediate School (SIS) construction project.
Shelton officials had been in negotiation with the state over the payment of the funds for many years, but without resolution.
In the autumn of 2013, Perillo and Kelly convened a meeting with city officials, Shelton school administrators and state Department of Education staff to make an attempt at creating a satisfactory resolution for the state and for Shelton.
The result was the crafting of legislation that would ultimately eliminate the state’s claim on the funds from Shelton.
Perillo: ‘Issue hanging over the city’
“This has been a difficult issue hanging over the city of Shelton and our Board of Education for nearly two decades,” Perillo said.
“I am grateful,” he said, “for the hard work of city and state officials that Senator Kelly and I successfully brought together to achieve a satisfactory and final solution which forgives the debt of Shelton for the school project, and ultimately saves Shelton taxpayers the burden of having to foot this bill.”
Kelly: ‘Elimination of [a] burden’
“It is such a relief to see the elimination of this burden on the city of Shelton,” Kelly said. “For years this financial liability has hung heavily over the heads of school administrators.
“By working together with many state and local officials,” he said, “we have finally achieved a solution. Waiving the outdated costs now allows Shelton to move forward and focus on the future.”
Late-night text played a role
Kelly successfully moved the legislation through the Senate at 11 p.m. on Tuesday night, with about 24 hours remaining in the 2014 legislative session. A quick text from Kelly notified Perillo that his part was done.
Perillo then maneuvered the bill successfully through the House just before midnight on Tuesday.
This year’s legislative session ended at midnight on Wednesday, May 7, as required by the state constitution.
The SIS construction forgiveness measure, part of SB 475, now heads to the desk of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for his signature.
About the two legislators
Perillo is a Republican who has represented the 113th District since 2007. The district includes most of Shelton.
Kelly is a Republican who had represented the 21st District since 2011. The district includes all of Shelton as well as parts of Monroe, Seymour and Stratford. Kelly lives in Stratford.