Town Council members are expected to vote on Mayor John A. Harkins' proposed $191 million budget for next fiscal year when they meet at 8 p.m. Tuesday at .
The May 8 special meeting comes after several budget workshops and two public hearings.
During the first hearing held at , residents spoke in favor of maintaining the .
At the same hearing, a group of animal volunteers requested .
The appeal to Town Council members has since been a hot topic on Stratford Patch, with as well as a offering opposing views on the issue via letters to the editor. (See related 'In This Article' stories on the right side of page.)
This original report, published April 9, follows:
Stratford Town Council members this week will start the process of appraising the for next fiscal year.
The discussion starts at 8 p.m. tonight when the Council will hold its first reading of the budget at . A public forum precedes the meeting at 6:45 p.m.
From Tuesday through Thursday this week, Council members will host a series of budget workshops with town department heads. Those meetings are open to the public and a full schedule is included at the end of this article.
Mayor John A. Harkins' proposed budget would increase the average tax bill by $67.78, which he deems in a letter to town officials as "an unavoidable consequence of the state's economic fortunes and the continually rising costs of municipal labor."
Harkins continues, "The cost per employee of municipal labor is far outstripping the taxpayers' ability to pay for a level of services to which they have become accustomed, which is something we continue to address through the collective bargaining process.
"In FY 2013 (which begins July 1), we will have to spend 10.4 percent of our total municipal budget on pension costs, an increase of $821,639 as recommended by our actuaries."
The mayor's budget represents an overall spending increase of .99 percent or $943,825 more than the current budget. makes up $550,347 of those monies.
Chart comparing FY 2012 adopted budget with Mayor Harkins' FY 2013 proposal:
A department-by-department look at the FY 2013 proposed budget:Service Area Proposed Dollar Amount Percentage of Budget Administration $4,793,704 2.51 Contingencies $2,293,147 1.20 Debt/Capital $13,461,132 7.04 Employee Benefits $35,418,352 18.53 Finance $1,586,928 0.83 Fire $11,680,539 6.11 Health/Human Services $2,616,995 1.37 Library $2,824,214 1.48 Police $9,939,369 5.20 Public Works $12,564,332 6.57 Board of Ed $93,952,529 49.16 Total Expenditures $191,131,241 100
BUDGET WORKSHOP SCHEDULE
All meetings held on the second floor of Stratford Town Hall.
Tuesday, April 10 (6 p.m.): EMS; Emergency Management; Fire; Police.
Wednesday, April 11 (6 p.m.): Public Works-WPCA-Building; Recreation; IT; Human Resources.
Thursday, April 12 (5 p.m.): Sterling House; Finance; Health; Community Services; Library; Planning; Zoning; Economic Development; Mayor; CAO; Council Clerk; VNA.
PUBLIC HEARINGS TO FOLLOW
Two public hearings on the budget are slated for next week: April 17, 7 p.m. at B; April 18, 7 p.m. at .
What changes, if any, would you like to see to the mayor's proposed budget? Tell us in the comments.