The budget proposal for fiscal year 2019-2020 projects a new mill rate of 35.58, resulting in a nominal tax increase (just under 1%), and sustaining a two-year cumulative tax decrease. First Selectman Ken Kellogg stated that “the budget was developed with an overarching goal of controlling taxes, while ensuring that we continue to invest in roads and infrastructure, deliver cost-effective services to our community, provide excellence in education, and maintain the good financial health of the Town.”
While significant efforts have contained operational costs without impacting services, contractual obligations under collective bargaining, increases in the costs of recycling disposal, and anticipated health insurance costs have contributed to a 1.81% increase in overall operating expenditures (including municipal and education.)
Kellogg said that controlling the tax burden was the result of conservative spending, a growing grand list, and by identifying and implementing budget-neutral solutions to expand services where necessary and appropriate. By fostering collaboration among departments and creative programming, this budget incorporates certain service improvements without impacting the tax rate. These initiatives are wide-ranging and include:
• An increase in hours of operation at the Library and at the pool at Wolfe Park
• Mailing Wolfe Park stickers with the motor vehicle tax bill
• New recreation programming for members of the Senior Center
• Organizational refinements proposed in the land use departments to improve customer service and efficiency
• Use of grant funding for the regional purchase of a permitting workflow management system that will be configured and implemented locally
Furthermore, the Board of Finance has allocated a contingency line, in part to address the uncertainty that remains with the state budget. “This will allow us to be prepared to address the ongoing potential of a reduction in state aid,” said Mike Manjos, Board of Finance Chairman. The Board of Finance has funded this contingency without affecting the tax rate.
“Once again, this year’s budget process was a remarkable demonstration of collaboration among department heads, Town Council, Board of Education, and Board of Finance,” said Kellogg. “I thank our dedicated staff and volunteers who serve our Town and have contributed to this budget, which I now present to the citizens of Monroe. Please exercise your right to vote at the referendum on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.”
Click here to view entire proposed budget document.