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Sound Bites: New York might have a budget this week

New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks to reporters about legislation passed during a special legislative session, in the Red Room at the state Capitol.
Hans Pennink
Associated Press
New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks to reporters.

Good morning. New Yorkers could see a vote on an overdue state budget this week. 

A Friday night memo to lawmakers shows possibly some movement on two of Governor Kathy Hochul’s budget requests. It appears lawmakers are expected to be in Albany for the full week discussing bolstering housing statewide and making changes to bail reform in New York. The spending plan was due on April 1, but the state Legislature has passed two budget extenders to keep the government running. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

Bridgeport is looking for a property manager to oversee the abandoned Harding High School, and 800 other city properties, including parks, schools, government buildings and vacant lots. The Office of Planning & Economic Development is responsible for some of those properties. Two positions are on the table: a second $122,900 deputy director of economic development and a $72,000 special project coordinator to collect rent payments on city-owned properties.

Nearly 150,000 New Yorkers are warned that their drivers’ licenses could be suspended. These motorists were allowed to defer a required vision test for renewing their license during the pandemic. The state Department of Motor Vehicles sent repeated notices to drivers over the last two years. Drivers are asked to submit proof of a vision test online or by mail; through the DMV’s list of approved providers; or go to a DMV office to complete the test in-person.

A New Haven city employee was arrested Friday for allegedly falsifying overtime records. Mayor Justin Elicker said that Denise Pair, whose job duties are to collect weekly timesheets for the city's Office of Building Inspection & Enforcement, allegedly collected about $11,500 in overtime pay. The “abnormal amount” of overtime was discovered during an audit across city departments in October. Elicker said she was put on administrative leave in November. Pair turned herself in hours after the charges were made public.

Nearly 20 wildfires have scorched more than 700 acres of land in New York, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The wildfire season began after the winter months when dry, dead vegetation is most vulnerable to fire — recent high temperatures across the state make this year especially dangerous. A statewide burn ban is in place until May 14.

The Mystic Aquarium is expected to announce a new president and CEO. The Day of New London reports Susette Tibus, a member of the aquarium’s Board of Trustees, will take the post. The aquarium has yet to publicly announce her hiring. Tibus is a civic organizer and co-owner of a Mystic jewelry store. She succeeds Katie Cubina, who was interim in charge after Stephen Coan retired last summer following 20 years of service to the aquarium.

Sea Kelp Harvest Week will support independent farmers’ along the Long Island Sound. A week of events culminates on Earth Day — Saturday, April 22. The celebration of the burgeoning aquaculture industry began in 2021 with farmers partnering with local restaurants to educate the public about kelp. This celebration features restaurants, breweries, and markets from Fairfield County, Connecticut, to Newport, Rhode Island.

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A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.