FirstLight to restore $50K contribution
FirstLight Power Resources is back on board with its share of the funding for the Candlewood Lake Authority.
CLA chairwoman Phyllis Schaer was glad to hear last week the lake owner had agreed to restore its full $50,000 contribution to the authority for the coming fiscal year.
"I think it's wonderful," Schaer said. "I'm glad we were all able to come to the table and work together for the good of the lake."
FirstLight had announced in February it would be reducing its CLA appropriation to $10,000 and the authority would be eligible to apply for grants from the newly established Housatonic River Project Fund.
The legislators had contacted GDF Suez North America Inc., FirstLight's parent company.
The trio learned of the company's decision in a phone call with GDF Suez North America president and CEO Zin Smati.
He reported FirstLight's updated decision to act on its commitment to fully contribute and to reconvene with the CLA and five lake communities to find a mutually agreeable solution to fund the CLA in years to come.
"I'm pleased that FirstLight listened to my concerns and the concerns of local community leaders and agreed to pay their fair share," Murphy said. "Candlewood Lake is a regional treasure and its caretakers need to be able to rely on consistent support."
Murphy and Blumenthal said they will work until a permanent funding agreement is reached, stating FirstLight has a "legal duty" to protect and preserve the lake that it owns.
Esty called for FirstLight to continue working with the CLA "to ensure a closer relationship in the future."
Len Greene, spokesman for FirstLight, said the company will "award the CLA $50,000 in total grants for 2015."
The Housatonic River Project Fund, it has already awarded $33,254 in grants to the CLA and will award an additional grant of $16,746 to the CLA for additional projects, Greene said.
"Based on the response that we've had from the community," Greene said, "particularly from our local, state and federal delegations, we've determined that the best course of action is to contribute an additional grant to the CLA."
He said FirstLight takes its role as a good neighbor and corporate citizen seriously.
Schaer said the three grants were awarded for the present, 2014-15 fiscal year: for emergency patrol radios; hazard buoy program; and toward the lake clean up this May.
"I'm happy to work with them," she said. "I understand their corporate needs to qualify their contributions. I'm hoping this year's grants were generosity to help fund three key programs and that the $25,000 won't be reduced from the 2015-16 funding."
Mayor Pat Murphy of New Milford and New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman said they would like to hear from the CLA about any budget adjustments that would be made with FirstLight funding restored.
The lake communities all contribute to the CLA and both community leaders would like to see if there will be a reduction in funding required from their towns.
"This is a good move on FirstLight's part," the mayor said, "to help the communities support the investment we all have in the lake."