Budget discussion expected at joint meeting in Berlin

Published on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 22:12
Written by Charles Paullin


BERLIN - The Town Council is expected to discuss the town budget in a joint meeting with the Board of Finance tonight.

Finance Director Kevin Delaney said Friday that he would add the discussion to the end of the joint meeting in case it may be lengthy.

On Dec. 5, Delaney presented the council with a breakdown of the nearly $600,000 additional cuts the town received from Gov. Dannel Malloy on Nov. 17. The cuts to the town’s $85.2 million budget were made when the state legislature passed its budget by numbers in late October but left specifics of where cuts needed to be made up to Malloy.

The town was originally set to gain $90,000 when the state legislature passed its budget 117 days later than its usual July 1 adoption date.

Delaney presented four options to council on how to handle the cuts. Those are, use fund balance at the end of the year to make up any difference in state aid; issue a supplemental tax bill; revise the budget; and asking the town and Board of Education to not spend as much as they planned to account for the shortfall.

The fourth option would include direction from the council and finance board on which areas to not spend in.

At the finance board meeting Tuesday night, acting Town Manager Jack Healy suggested making a $200,000 cut to the town and $400,000 to the education budget, equal to the percentages they comprise of the general budget.

Board of Finance members suggested continuing discussion with the council and Board of Education before taking any action. According to Delaney, the Board of Education has already suggested a “soft” $200,000 in savings that could be realized.

The finance board members want to know what would actually be cut with those figures.

Delaney said using fund balance would put at risk the town’s pension program that offers a lump sum payment, and capital improvement projects that are paid up front by the town and then reimbursed by state.

For the supplemental tax bill, he said, a 0.28-mill tax rate increase would be needed to make up the difference, meaning $48.17 would be needed on a home valued at $250,000.

The budget sent to referendum earlier this year included a $140 increase in property taxes for a property at the same value.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. in the Berlin-Peck Memorial Library, 234 Kensington Road.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or cpaullin@centralctcommunications.com.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 22:12. Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2017 22:14.