UA-8412995-1 The Southport Globe: More budget cuts, Fairfield BOF cuts budget by $2.6 million

Friday, April 12, 2013

More budget cuts, Fairfield BOF cuts budget by $2.6 million

The big discussion at the Board of Finance meeting on Tuesday, April 2 was not the $1.25 million cut that members made to the Board of Education budget, but the $350,000 cut to the Pequot Library’s budget. That was one-third of the library’s budget, and the town’s entire contribution to it, while the cut to education was less than one percent of its budget, as finance board member James Brown was to point out. Those two cuts were the most prominent of the $2,664,474 in cuts that the finance board made on April 2, after the Board of Selectmen had cut $4.7 million the day before, including their own cut to the schools of $1.787 million, most of that coming from health insurance. The total of cuts brought the Town budget down to $279,778,811, including a reduced Board of Education operating budget of $151,691,746. That puts the Town’s total spending increase at 2.75 percent after an original proposed increase of 5.52 percent and the tax increase is now at 2.91 percent, after an original proposed 6.38 percent. If left untouched by the Representative Town Meeting, when they vote on May 6 — an unlikely scenario — the mill rate would be 24.05, according to Bob Meyer, acting Town Finance Director. The RTM has not been shy about cutting the budget in the past few years.
What may be different this time is that the RTM may be asked to add money back into the budget for the Pequot Library. First Selectman Mike Tetreau noted as much the next day at a Board of Selectmen meeting, saying the money can be restored by a two-thirds vote of the RTM.

Tetreau and others said they thought it was unfair to cut the Town’s entire contribution to the Pequot Library without giving that institution notice ahead of time.

On the other hand, the night before, finance board member Robert B. Bellitto, Jr., who voted to zero out contributions to all the non-profits in the budget, said that for three years in a row, he had been saying that he wanted to zero out contributions to all of them.

Chairman Tom Flynn said he would not support zeroing out for any “partner,” and quoted Selectman Cristin McCarthy Vahey, who told the finance board that the amounts spent were not contributions, because “We receive services in return.”


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