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CCM Survey: Towns And Cities Have Sought To Limit Budget Increases, And Cut Back Services, As They Fight For Needed Level Of State Aid For July 1

CCM Survey: Towns And Cities Have Sought To Limit Budget Increases, And Cut Back Services, As They Fight For Needed Level Of State Aid For July 1

 For immediate release

Kevin Maloney, (203) 710-3486

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) today (Monday, April 22 ) reported that more than two dozen towns and cities of all sizes across Connecticut presented CCM with key information on where their proposed municipal budgets stand as municipalities proceed deeper into their own budget-approval seasons; and as as they wait for the General Assembly’s budget committees to report on the next phase of the proposed state budget and the resulting proposed levels of state aid to local governments.

“Here is a key snap shot of where municipal budgets stand as local leaders look to state leaders to ensure that an adequate level of state aid is enacted for the new fiscal year,” said Joe DeLong, CCM Executive Director. “Municipal leaders, as these numbers show, have fought to limit the increases in their budgets — and have made real cutbacks — and manage the fiscal burden on local property taxpayers. Still, the increases reported here, while less than the rate of inflation is many instances, still show demand for growth beyond that level, as towns respond to the service levels sought by their residents and businesses.       

“Local officials understand the difficulties that exist when developing the state budget since municipal officials have a similar process in developing their municipal budgets with one major exception: municipal budgets are often reliant on state aid,” said DeLong. “State funding to municipalities has grown increasingly unpredictable and has added uncertainty to the local budget approval process.  In addition, towns and cities remain heavily reliant on the property tax.  With limited sources of other revenue, ensuring timeliness in the municipal aid at the state level through the state budget process will assist local officials to properly budget and provide property taxpayers assurances in their mill rates.”   

Here are the questions presented and the resulting overall average of the responses:

What is the percentage increase in the town’s proposed mill rate for next fiscal year? -- The average increase is 1.90 percent. The lowest change was a decrease, -1.57 percent, while the highest increase is 4.39 percent.   

What is the percentage increase in the town’s grand list for next fiscal year? -- The average increase is .82 percent. The lowest change was a decrease, -1.05 percent, while the highest increase is 5.05 percent.   

What is the proposed percentage change in your overall budget (town hall and board of education) for next fiscal year? -- The average increase is 2.50 percent. The lowest increase is .02 percent, while the highest increase is 5.36 percent.   

What is the proposed percentage increase in the town hall side of your budget for next fiscal year? -- The average increase is 3.64 percent. The lowest increase is a zero percent hike, while some of the highest increases are over 10 percent.   

What is the proposed percentage increase in the board of education budget for next fiscal year? -- The average increase is 2.13 percent. The lowest change was a decrease, - 2.67 percent, while the highest increase is 5.29 percent.   

The rate of inflation in Connecticut is presently 1.9 percent.

But also remember, with education budgets representing, on average, about 70 percent of local government spending, the dollar value of a percentage hike in education spending is more costly than a similar percentage hike in spending on the town hall side.

 

Service cuts back to top

Name examples of significant services that you have had to cut back? Examples presented include:

Many town hall positions were eliminated since the recession began, affecting all service areas.

Deferred adding needed public works staff and IT services.  

Cutbacks on overtime across all departments.  

Cutbacks on purchase of salt, gasoline, and diesel for public works.  

Requests for capital spending were reduced for a variety of departments. 

Medical benefits were reduced.  

Board of Education budget requests were widely reduced. 

Cutbacks in engineering, grounds and highway services. 

 Underfunding debt service.  

 Hiring freezes instituted. 

 Hours of operation at transfer station cut. 

 Road paving reduced. 

 Deferred action on vehicle purchases. 

 Cutbacks in library services and parks and recreation programs. 

Eliminated more than a dozen administrative and governmental non-essential service positions. 

 

 Here are the towns that responded to the questionnaire:

Barkhamsted

Berlin

Branford

Bridgeport

Columbia

East Hartford

East Haven

Granby

Windsor Locks

Manchester

Meriden

Milford

New Fairfield

New London

Newtown

Old Lyme

Oxford

Portland

Redding

Stamford

Suffield

Weston

Wethersfield

Windsor

Wolcott