Finance board approves 3.27 percent budget increase
The Board of Finance unanimously approved the proposed fiscal year 2011 budget for the Town of New Canaan last Tuesday night. Totalling nearly $119 million, the overall budget, which includes town and school operating expenses, capital expenditures and all debt service, represents a 3.27 percent increase from the 2010 budget.
To cover this cost, the town projects it will incur about $7.9 million in revenue within its own departments and agencies, 12.5 percent more than last year, and more than $111 million in resident taxation, which represents a 2.67 hike from 2010.
New Canaan resident Richard Vachula, the only person from the public to speak at the hearing, asked the board why the proposed budget represents an increase from last year's budget.
"All I'm saying is, I moved here 23 years ago [and] my taxes were $5,100 and in 23 years my taxes are now $15,000," Vachula said. "Now the value of my house didn't go up 350 percent, but my taxes have and that's because the town government every year raises the taxes no matter what. ... You're telling me there's no way you can run this town government on the same amount of money that you ran it on last year?"
First Selectman Jeb Walker said the budget proposal represents the board's best effort to eliminate excess spending without debilitating important services, though funding for some town services has been reduced.
"There are a number of reasons why the budget increases," Walker said. "We try to control spending, but there are certain built-in costs that we can't control. There are union contracts, teacher contracts, public works employees and others costs over which are increasing that we have no control of like energy costs, electricity costs and in some cases we experience a decrease in revenues."