Final Mill Rate Increase 1.05%
April 12, 2019
TOWN AND EDUCATION BUDGET VOTE ON SATURDAY, MAY 4th – PLEASE VOTE!!
May 2, 2019

The date of the Annual Budget Vote has been set for next Saturday, May 4 from 10:00 AM until 8:00 PM at Meeting House Hill School. If you are unable to vote in person, absentee ballots are available at the Town Clerk’s Office in Town Hall Monday – Thursday from 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM, and on Friday from 8:30 until 12:00 PM. The projected tax increase this year is 1.05%. This is the lowest mill rate increase in ten years, with the exception of the 2016/2017 budget when the Treasurer refinanced the Town’s debt. This is also the first year since 2009/2010 that the increase in taxes will be significantly below the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), which this year is set at 2.8%.

  11/12

Hodge

12/13

Hodge

13/14

Hodge

14/15

Chapman

15/16

Chapman

16/17

Chapman

17/18

Chapman

18/19

Del Monaco

19/20

Del Monaco

% COLA increase 0.0 3.6 1.7 1.5 1.7 0.0 0.3 2.0 2.8
% Tax Increase 2.88 2.96 3.97 1.72 1.97* 0.53 3.97 2.55 1.05

*Adjusted to reflect property value revaluation process

 

Even with this conservative tax increase, the municipal budget improves services provided to Town residents. The Board of Selectmen has prioritized School Safety, EMT/ Paramedic Services, bridge and drainage repair and preventive maintenance in next year’s budget as discussed in detail in my April 11 column.

The role of town government is to provide services to residents such as public safety (police, fire, EMS), road maintenance, buildings and grounds maintenance, senior and social services and recreation. As First Selectman, it is my responsibility to manage the day to day operation of the Town, ensuring that we consistently deliver services at the lowest cost possible to taxpayers. The proposed 2019/2020 budget reflects my experience and observations over the past year.

Public Safety improvements account for approximately two thirds of the municipal budget increase. The Town has requested an increase in contracted paramedic and EMT services provided by Danbury Hospital to ensure ambulance coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. This addition is necessary to supplement our volunteer ambulance corps in the overnight hours, and will cost $145,284 annually.  We have also proposed the addition of a police officer who will serve as a School Resource Officer during the school year and will supplement patrols during our busy summer season. This addition is more cost effective for the taxpayer than continuing to provide SROs to all four schools solely on overtime shifts. As recommended by the School Safety and Security Committee, the budget also adds an additional Dispatcher to monitor school surveillance cameras during the school year. This additional Dispatcher will also assist with increased emergency call volume during the busy summer months.

The Selectman’s Office receives many phone calls, e-mails and in person complaints about Town roads, drainage and condition of Town owned properties. Examples include poor road drainage resulting in damage to personal property, ice and water ponding on roadways, overflowing storm drains, potholes, and poor sight lines and limited visibility at intersections. It is my practice to personally inspect as many of these sites as possible with the Town employees charged with determining the underlying problem and best response. Very often, the answer is prioritizing preventative maintenance, which improves function and safety, extends the useful life of Town infrastructure and decreases the need for costly repairs in the future. Over the last 10 years, 4 positions have been eliminated from Public Works and Buildings and Grounds. As a result, it has become more difficult to schedule and complete critical Preventative Maintenance tasks, including routine roadside mowing to maintain adequate site lines and visibility, catch basin cleaning to prevent ponding and icing on Town roads, maintenance of aging drainage systems to prevent damage to roads and private property and routine maintenance of Town buildings and parks.   Therefore the 2019/2020 budget includes the addition of one Public Works employee to assist with these tasks.

I do not take any tax increase lightly, and propose only increases that I feel are necessary based on my day to day observations managing Town resources. My goal is always to provide the best value and efficiency to Town residents. If you have any questions on the budget, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 203-312-5600 or pdelmonaco@newfairfield.org.

 

– Pat Del Monaco, First Selectman