Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mayor's Budget Address to Town Council

As best as I can reconstruct, this is what the Mayor said on the night that she delivered her proposed Budget to the Town Council:

"Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen, Town Council, Board of Finance members, and members of the press,

Tonight, we are here to start the discussion for the 2010 thru 2011 budget year for the Town of New Milford, CT. Unlike years previous, the State of Connecticut has yet to complete its budget for 2009 – 2010; we are ½ way through our present Budget year and this means that we can only guess at how and when state reimbursements and payments will be received for this year, making next years predictions even more difficult than usual.

Tonight, I am making recommendations but also I am looking for your input in maintaining and operating our Community. As usual, some will argue we are spending too much while others will lament we are spending too little. This is a balancing act we go through each year to make sure that the needs of our Community are met.

Over the next two weeks, we will invite Department Heads and Staff to help review and explain their budget requests in great detail so that we and the public know where their hard earned tax dollars are being spent. This process and time line is dictated by Charter and when the Town of New Milford next revises the Charter, I would recommend pushing the start dates out 4 – 6 weeks to allow time for more concrete information to be collected on the revenue side of the budget and I would also recommend that the Mayor be authorized to ask our Board of Education Department to take another look at their request and, if necessary, make adjustments like all other Town Departments before presenting to the Town Council and Board of Finance.

While all of the departments have diligently implemented savings wherever possible, and we all appreciate those efforts, I am recommending a reduction to both the Town requests and the Board of Education request.

I am recommending a reduction of $1,910,866 to the town side requests; and an $800,000 reduction to the BOE request, bringing forth a total of $91,764,131 as the number we start working with from this point on.

Included in that number are not only the Education and Town Department requests but all the Community debt payments in the amount of $6,709,590 for schools, roads, sewer and any bonded infrastructure improvements.

Furthermore, there are many other services included in this budget request.

There is $921,829 for the operations and maintenance of equipment for our very valuable fire departments, ambulance and our medic services.

We’ve included the Children’s Center for $79,500 and the VNA for $76,000; the Housatonic Transit Authority (Hart Bus) for $54,912 which provides public transportation options for our residents, along with a whole host of boards and commissions which help contribute to the well rounded community we enjoy here in New Milford.

Again, this year I am not recommending any money come from the undesignated account and I do expect a favorable audit outcome; however, we are still waiting for the printed version.

I look forward to working with all of your over the next few weeks in preparing the best possible Budget for the people of the Town of New Milford and if you have any questions or need more information, please do not hesitate to call. Thank you."

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