Town hires new budget director
NEW CANAAN — Growing up with an economist for a father, Lunda Asmani would always see issues of The Economist and other financial papers scattered around the house.
“It was something that we were always surrounded with,” Asmani said. “Economic journals, conferences, all of that.”
His office in Norwalk City Hall is laid bare as he prepares to transition to New Canaan town hall. Only a couple of titles and a Tanzanian canvas painting adorn the wall behind his desk.
As director of management and budgets at Norwalk, Asmani oversaw the city’s $354 million operating budget and $194 million five-year capital budget.
When asked about the state of Connecticut’s budget, which saw a crisis last fiscal year, Asmani pointed out that towns like New Canaan and Norwalk collect 90 percent of their revenues from property taxes and only about five percent from state in aid.
“Even when the state fluctuates, it’s about five percent and so these towns are fairly insulated,” Asmani, a Norwalk resident, said.
The bulk of Asmani’s experience was in Kansas, where he worked in three different towns — Maize, Sedgwick and Newton — for around 20 years. He obtained his Master of Public Administration degree from Wichita State University in 2001.
Sandra Dennies, who was recently made full-time chief financial officer, said she was looking forward to working with Asmani.
“He’s got a lot of skills that we need to function, especially his background and knowledge of the system we use for finances,” Dennies said. “Bringing him in to do the same thing with our process will raise the bar.”
An avid tennis player, Asmani is a member of New Canaan’s YMCA and hopes to join volunteer organizations in town once he has settled into his new gig.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan also extolled Asmani’s work experience.
“We are very pleased to have found a candidate with (Asmani’s) credentials and experience. We are looking forward to having him join the Finance Department on July 23.”
With his last day in Norwalk only this week, Asmani will take a brief break before heading to his new office later this month.