New Canaan officials: Budget crisis averted after reduced state aid
Published 11:00 pm, Sunday, June 19, 2016
NEW CANAAN — When the state announced in April that school grants could be completely wiped out for many Fairfield County towns, New Canaan officials decided to attack the issue proactively.
In the town’s case, New Canaan stood to lose about $1.5 million in Education Cost Sharing grant money, according to the projections.
“The hype has kind of died down a little bit now that the state pretty much set their budget,” Chief Financial Officer Dawn Norton told the Board of Finance on Tuesday night as she reported on how the town fared.
According to First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, Norton advised town officials early in the budget process that the state may not be able to pay out, and the amount of all state aid budgeted for by the town was reduced by 10 percent.
Still, the town’s ECS grant money took a heavy hit, officials said. New Canaan received less than half of the $1.5 million originally expected in the grants, resulting in a total cut of $816,759.
New Canaan also received $242,000 in Municipal Revenue Sharing Grants, which were not finalized at the time of budgeting and were not included in town projections.
“I really want to compliment Dawn because Dawn took an extremely conservative approach to the budget, and we had long talks about it and it was her guidance,” Mallozzi said.
Initial news of the proposed cuts caused many towns in the state to act defensively.
Darien suspended $860,000 worth of projects from its capital budget and raised its mill rate 2.87 percent in April before the state budget was finalized. New Canaan residents will see no such tax increase as a result of the fallout of the state budget.