East Haven finance board sets budget workshops – New Haven Register
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EAST HAVEN >> The Board of Finance met Wednesday to approve the dates for the workshops for the next fiscal year budget, and Noreen Clough, a 14-year board member said she looks forward to seeing what Mayor Joseph Maturo has in store for his presentation.
“It looks like it’s going to be a flat budget but it’s interesting to see what the board of edis coming with and what the mayor’s going to propose,” Clough said.
All town departments submitted their budgets to the mayor earlier this month. Maturo and Town Finance Director Paul Rizza have been working on putting all the budgets together so they can present it to the finance board next month.
Once Maturo presents the budget to the finance board March 3, they have 20 days to comb through what Clough called the “big book,” and make changes as they see fit.
Among challenges that may come this budget cycle is the effect the lack of state funding may have on the town. According to Rizza, after resident taxes, state aid is the town’s second-highest revenue.
“It gets difficult because you’re not getting that much change in revenue. The real scary part of the whole thing isn’t on the expenditure side, it’s on the revenue side. What’s the state is going to do?” Rizza said. “Next year is going to be another deficit, they usually start cutting aids to almost everybody. I’m kind of leery of what the governor will put out.”
During his recent State of the State address, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called for changes that would reduce the approved $40 billion 2016-17 budget by $570 million. In order to offset the projected deficit in the state’s biennial budget, Malloy has proposed cuts that would reduce the second year’s total from $20.4 billion to $19.8 billion.
Clough said because it is still early in the state budget session, the Board of Finance will not have much to work with, and it is something that will fall on the Town Council.
“Paul (Rizza) can give us the revenues, but thats just a guesstimate. Unfortunately, that’s a hard decision the council is going to have to make if the state cuts our money,” Clough said.
The highest expenditure in the approximately $90 million town budget is education. It accounts for about 52 percent of the current budget. Last month the Board of education approved a budget that was $1.6 million higher than its current budget. Rizza said employee benefits also will be increased in the next budget.
“There are some things that are out of our control, like medical benefits. It doesn’t go down, it always goes up. Ill be happy if we only get a one- to two-percent increase,” Rizza said.
There are five budget workshop meetings between March 8 and March 17.
“It is a tough time, there’s three meetings in a row, that can get tiring after three days,” Clough said. “The nice thing is that it’s a lot of the same department heads so we know lot of what they do.”
The board will go into this budget session with two new members, Nicole Clark and Bob Schumitz, who were elected to the board in November.
“They never did this before so it’s going to be a learning experience for them. It’s harder when you have two new members, it takes a little longer because they have to acclimated with the process and look the book over, it’s pretty thick and there’s a lot of information to take in,” Clough said.
The finance board has until March 23 to submit a budget back to the mayor, who will then bring it to the Town Council for final approval in April.
“A lot of work that we do here, it makes it easier for the Town Council,” board member Richard DePalma said to the new members during the meeting.
Clough said her main goal is to come up with a budget that will best serve the town.
“My biggest thing is I’m a taxpayer, too; people assume we don’t pay taxes, we do. So it’s just making sure we can give the right services for the best price,” Clough said. “Being in finance myself, its a business decision. It’s a big corporation. The mayor has his ideas, we have ours.”
East Haven finance board sets budget workshops – New Haven Register}