City Still Waiting for State Budget

By at June 1, 2017 | 2:45 pm | Print


It appears the City may once again be forced to pass a budget not knowing how much funds it will get from the State. The city will pass a budget on Tuesday, June 6.

“It is very difficult year due to the financial difficulties at the State,” said Mayor Erin E. Stewart. “We have heard nothing about the state budget. Will they have one by the time we pass ours?”

New Britain has to pass a budget according to the time set forth by the city charter and plans to do just that. The State’s final day of session is Wednesday, June 7.

“We are waiting until the last day, so we are passing ours June 6th without knowing what funding from the state will look like,” said Stewart. “We did this last year and the year before that was unknown. We are monitoring the situation very closely.”

There are very different possible budget scenarios. Some certain budgets have the City losing money. Then, there are budgets that the City gains money.

“We are taking our best guess of what we think they are going to do,” said Stewart. “What I did to insure our financial safety was, I built in a cushion in our contingency line item that would be able to absorb up to a 10 percent cut in state aid. We will be prepared on that front.”

Mayor Stewart submitted a budget to the Common Council in April that showed no tax increases.

The $241,537,535 million budget represents an increase of less than 1 percent over the current year budget. Due to Grand List growth, the tax rate will stay level at 50.50 mills.

Since then the Council has listened to residents speak at public meetings.

Under the spending plan, 52.44 percent of the budget would go to the Board of Education. The School board is not getting an increase in funds over last year. Last year it was given a $2.5 million increase. It requested a 0.85 increase.

Savings in the budget come from a school transportation reduction, a reduction in overtime costs, an estimated reduction in electricity costs, and employee healthcare cost savings. Savings were also budgeted for the reorganization of City Hall (which reduced the number of department heads) and through the restructuring of debt.

There is a 1 percent increase in the Grand List which equals to about $1 million. Twenty-three new businesses opened since the last budget presentation and seven expanded. Over 200 new jobs were created and the City unemployment rate went from 11 percent to 5.4 percent under Stewart.

Other new revenue stems from fee increases, an agreement with TaxServ to collect delinquent motor vehicle and property taxes, and an agreement with Tax Management Associates to audit personal property declarations. Those two services are expected to bring at least $2.3 million.

“I applaud her for holding the line on taxes while maintaining the services residents have come to expect,” said Mayor Pro Tem Jamie Giantonio. “I think it’s a fair and balanced budget, based on real revenue numbers that aren’t artificially generated to make it work.”

The special meeting to approve the budget is on June 6 at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 27 West Main St.

.News Feature

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