I have been receiving many letters on this year’s budget proposal. I am attempting to read all the emails (close to 800 at last count). Since I will not be able to answer them all individually, I will do my best to respond to all concerns in a series of updates.
Here is the first:
Since our last budget a lot has changed. We managed over $3 million in cuts to municipal aid from the State including a midyear cut of $570,000. We were able to make adjustments in the budget to minimize the impact on services and our citizens.
This year the Governor is proposing $5 million in municipal aid cuts along with an additional $9 million in shared expense for the State Teachers’ Pension fund. The State is also transferring another $1 million in Special Education housing costs previously paid directly by the state. As most are aware, with the GE property purchase by Sacred Heart University, we are losing another $1 million in tax revenue. When you add all this up, we have a $16 million negative impact on our $308 million dollar budget.
The Governor’s proposal is now in the hands of the State Assembly. It is the State Assembly that crafts the final budget. In another one of the absurd state budget practices, they will not let the towns know their final budget till after we have all set our mill rates.
I have prepared my budget recommendation including the Governor’s adjustments. We have a guideline, in place since my time on the Board of Finance, to use the best available information. The word from the State Assembly is that the Governor’s budget will not pass. However, no one is ready to say just what will pass. Only that it will be different. It is clear that the State does not have enough revenue to meet all its expenses. We can expect significant cuts to our state aid and state programs.
The budget I prepared shows the impact of the State Aid cuts. It gives a clear picture of the impact on our town. It makes it clear for everyone the impact of the State’s fiscal woes on our town. Once the State Assembly makes up their minds it will be too late. We all need to know what we are fighting for now.
I am committed to fighting this unfair tax burden being transferred to Fairfield. I am working with our State Delegation. I am meeting with State Assembly leaders. I am joining with other Mayors and First Selectmen. I am working with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM). We are all demanding a better solution from the State.
Every resident can help by contacting our State Delegation and State Assembly leadership. Let them know we need a better solution for Fairfield and Connecticut.
Thank you for listening.