Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Donations to Rockville downtown association dwindling

By Max Bakke
Journal Inquirer
Published: Thursday, December 18, 2008 1:12 PM EST

VERNON — The nonprofit tasked with enhancing and rejuvenating downtown Rockville is facing dwindling public support and has run budget deficits in recent years, according to tax records.

Revenues for the Rockville Downtown Association, Inc. have decreased nearly 45 percent during the three-year period from 2004 to 2007, federal tax data show.

The nonprofit boasted revenues of $119,751 during the fiscal year ending July 2005 — mostly from public donations — but those figures shrank to only $66,204 by July 2007, according to the data.

The organization’s returns from the fiscal year ending July 2008 are not yet available.

Moreover, the downtown association has run a budget deficit of $14,337 and $15,908 in the fiscal years ending in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Those deficits have depleted the organization’s assets to $58,623 at the end of the 2007 fiscal year, down from $88,868 in 2005, the data show.

The organization’s largest donor is the town of Vernon, which increased its funding to the association to $35,000 in the current fiscal year, town records show.

Other donors include the Reminder Community News, Rockville Bank, and Rockville General Hospital.

Meanwhile, the association’s expenses have fluctuated in recent years, as much of its budget is used to pay Executive Director Randy Anagnostis, a Hebron musician and photographer who also runs a management and consulting firm.

Anagnostis made $50,328 in 2006-07 — 61 percent of the organization’s expenses that year and 23 percent more than the $41,000 salary he was originally paid when hired in the summer of 2005 to replace outgoing coordinator Luise Craige.

By comparison, Craige made $38,038 in the fiscal year ending July 2005.

Its other expenses include $5,884 in rent for the association’s Park Place office next to Town Hall, $2,757 for printing and other publications, and $35,061 parsed out to the organization’s subcommittees, which comprise members from its 17-member board of directors.

The organization’s directors include state Rep. Claire Janowski, D-Vernon; William Breslau, a lawyer from the firm Kahan, Kerensky & Caposella; former mayor Stephen C. Marcham; and Robert Kleinhans, a former town councilman who owns a real estate firm and construction company.

Anagnostis, who did not return a phone call seeking comment, is tasked with implementing the association’s mission to promote, preserve, and enhance Rockville’s downtown through economic development, and creating partnerships that stimulate growth in the area, according to a recent newsletter from the association.

It holds community events and has pushed for amendments to zoning regulations. It recently has courted a Massachusetts developer to revitalize downtown.

HallKeen LLC, which recently completed another downtown revitalization project consisting of mixed-used development, is considering a similar project in Rockville, Anagnostis told the Town Council in October.

HallKeen is in talks with several property owners in the downtown area and plans to update the town on its vision for the area in a report in February, Anagnostis told the council.

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