Board of Finance passes recommended $148 million budget, tax rate increase of 2.21 percent
NEW CANAAN — The Board of Finance has approved the 2017-2018 budget, but not without significant cuts.
In the Thursday, March 9 approval, the board approved a total town budget of $148,136,106, a 2.65 percent increase over the current year’s budget, which is set at $144,073,849.
Of that total, town operating costs account for $32,653,265 and the Board of Education accounts for $87,618,405, which is over this year’s current budget, but reduced by more than $4 million from the board’s original proposed budget.
The largest cuts, however, were made to the capital of both the town’s and the school’s budgets.
The town first proposed $16.2 million in capital projects, with the Board of Education adding another $4 million in capital asks. The Board of Finance cut more than $14 million from total capital costs, to bring those number. The $4.1 million Locust Parking Deck project was included in those cuts, though it was included in a list of projects, totaling more than $9 million, that the board suggests could be bonded. Also on that list is $1.75 million toward the resurfacing of the high school track.
Board member Thomas Schulte asked First Selectman Robert Mallozzi III, an ex-officio member of the board, whether any of the projects cut and left off the list to be bonded might come back down the line.
“I don’t think we’ll see any of this, Tom, honestly. That’s what made me feel pretty good about the numbers,” Mallozzi said.
Given an increase in the grand list — though it was has not been finalized yet — and an increase in the amount to be raised by taxes, the Board of Finance estimated a 2.21 percent mill rate based on the budget increase.
“That’s the lowest in a lot of years,” Mallozzi said, of the potential increase. At the current mill rate of 16.312, $16.312 dollars of every $1,000 of assessed value.
In an effort to keep the mill rate down, the board recommended a contribution of $3.7 million from the General Fund, $1 million more than the proposed contribution going into Thursday nights meeting, which would offset the burden on taxpayers caused by the budget.
“Everybody who got their information together for us this year did a spectacular job. And the amount of work people put in was not unnoticed,” said Ann Murphy Carroll.
The budget will now pass to the Town Council for final approval.