The Board of Selectman proposed their $30,878,098 FY 2013-2014 town budget last week to the Board of Finance. The budget represents a 1.96% increase over the current year budget. The same night, the Board of Education presented their budget at a 2.96% increase.
Components of the Board of Selectman budget include:
- Operating expenses
- Regrading/Recrowning of several coastal roads and road maintenance
- Pension Funding
- Replacing old town equipment
"This is a strong budget in this economy," said First Selectman Joe Mazza. "It allows us to still provide great services to the town, and it does this with no real reduction of staffing. Additionally, it keeps intact our great programs, like the elderly tax relief program."
"A key incentive for us is to increase capital expenditures," Mazza said at the meeting. "We want to rely less and less on bonding."
One of the main components of the budget is to replace some of the old equipment at the Public Works Department.
"We have some old machinery at public works," Mazza explained. "We started a program several years ago with bonding that worked on replacing some of the equipment, but there are still machines down there that are 25, 30 years old. And if the recent blizzard showed us anything, is that those pieces are vital to replace."
As expected, due to state budget cuts, state revenue became a bit of a problem. "There was a pretty substantial reduction in state funding, and we may see that decrease steadily," Mazza stated. "It's about half of where it was in 2005. We see that particularly in the ECS grant, and that's something we had to consider."
"Other budget expenditures include only a 2% increase in salaries, workman's comp increases and medical costs," Mazza explained. "We are also working with the DEEP to raise several coastal roads. As far as budgeting for pensions, we are budgeting at the recommended contribution level by the actuaries. This is catch-up from years when we did not fund this."
Between the proposed Board of Selectmen budget and the Board of Education budget, the overall increase is 2.61%. The Board of Finance Budget Public Hearing is scheduled for March 5, 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center.