NEW BRITAIN -Subcommittees of the Common Council forwarded Mayor Erin Stewart’s budget proposal for 2017-2018 back to the full council Thursday night in various meetings.
One after another the Consolidated Subcommittee, the Committee on Administration, Finance and Law and the Committee on Planning, Zoning and Housing forwarded the mayor’s budget proposal back to the Common Council with neutral recommendations.
Stewart presented a budget of $241.5 million to the Common Council on April 12 - less than a 1 percent increase from the current budget of $239.3 million. The city’s tax rate - which currently sits at 50.50 mills - will remain unchanged in Stewart’s budget proposal.
Spending for the Board of Education makes up about 52 percent of the mayor’s budget proposal - $125.7 million. The spending plan allocates about $17 million for the Police Department and about $13.6 million for the Fire Department. The Public Works Department is allocated about $10.2 million.
Speaking during the Consolidated Subcommittee meeting, Alderman Daniel Salerno commended the Board of Finance for developing a tight budget before sending it to the mayor.
“We’ve gotten to this point on the budget through a very extensive process,” Salerno said of the preparation before the mayor’s presentation. “I just really think it’s a very viable budget.” City Finance Director Lori Granato said she likes the city’s use of zero-based budgeting and hopes it is used in the coming years.
“We’ve looked long term down the road - two to three years out - to see what we need to do today to ensure we have a balanced budget tomorrow,” Granato said of the budget process. “This city has done a really great job of doing that.”
The next fiscal year begins July 1, so the Common Council will adopt a final budget in June.
In other news of the night, the council’s Consolidated Subcommittee discussed a proposed amendment to the code of ordinances regarding parks in the city. The resolution would change the hours of operation for parks in the city, and also add a $100 fine for those located in parks after closing hours.
After discussing a possible reduction in the suggested fine amount, the proposed amendment was referred back to the Common Council, as-is, with a favorable recommendation.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.