Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mayor's Budget Calls For 1.35% Tax Increase

In what she calls a "snapshot in time" in an "evolving" process, tonight Mayor Murphy presented her 09/10 Budget to a Joint Meeting of the Town Council and Board of Finance.

The proposal cuts $2,102,729 from the "Town Side" and provides no increase from the BOE's current operating budget i.e. it does not provide for the 1.88% increase that it requested.

The Mayor's Budget does not take the Union proposals into account and does not take any money from the Undesignated Account.

Among the areas in which money has been saved, the Mayor cited a $300,000 refinancing of bond debt. Specifically, Town Finance Director Ray Jankowski said there's a savings this year of $282,000 and $320,000 next year.

The Mayor wants to see "an agressive marketing plan" for certain Town-owned properties like Still Meadow and the Sunny Valley condo that is used by Parks and Rec.

The most interesting proposal of the night was the Mayor's interest in joining Litchfield County Dispatch that would result in a savings of $250,000 in personnel costs and more in hard costs. She intends to meet with State officials next week to examine the matter further. There is a $250,000 grant to pay for the transition costs from local dispatchers to the LCD system that is widely used in the region.

The Mayor said that she wants a Budget that provides necessary services at an affordable cost.

Ray Jankowski said that there would need to be an additional cut of about $890,000 to get to a 0% tax increase.

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