NEW FAIRFIELD – In a special meeting on May 24, the Board of Finance set the mill rate and recommended to a Town Meeting the appropriation of funds to finance town cleanup from the May 15 storm.
BOF Chair Wes Marsh started the meeting by making a motion to set the 2018-2019 fiscal year mill rate at 30.58 mills. The fiscal year runs from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. The Board approved the motion.
The Board moved on to approve the town suspense list. The list consists of delinquent tax bills, mostly for motor vehicle taxes, that the town Tax Collector has been unable to collect. Once approved by the Board, the list will be recorded by the Town Clerk and sent out to a collection company. The total amount of delinquent payments is $48,054.43.
The final topic of discussion for the evening was possible appropriation of funds to pay for cleanup of the previous week’s storm. Mr. Marsh noted that he had discussed the matter with the town’s auditor company and they had recommended two possible approaches. The first approach involved appropriating funds from the general fund in anticipation of reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Any funds expended that were not reimbursed would go to a Town Meeting for a vote after the fact. The second approach was to earmark a certain maximum amount and recommend that to a Town Meeting vote prior to any spending. That option would also stipulate that any FEMA reimbursement would be put back in the general fund.
During the discussion, Board Member Cheryl Reedy noted that she thought any appropriation had to go to a Town Meeting first. The Board agreed that this was the best course, but discussion ensued on how quickly a Town Meeting could be called and what amount should be set as the upper limit. The Board referred to the last major storm in 2011, which cost $386,000 to clean up. It was agreed that the cost of cleanup from the current storm will be much higher. In the end, the Board approved the following motion: To recommend to a Town Meeting an appropriation not to exceed $750,000 from the General Fund for storm-related expenses with all FEMA reimbursements from said storm to be deposited into the General Fund.
A special meeting of the Board of Finance will be held tonight, Thursday, May 31, 7:30pm at the New Fairfield Community Room.
By Greg Slomba