Norwalk Common Council to vote on $45.4 million capital budget

Members of Norwalk’s Economic and Community Development Committee of the Common Council.

Mayor Harry Rilling is recommending the Common Council pass a capital budget for 2024-2025 that is 40 percent less than his initial recommendation. The slimmed-down proposal weighs in at $45.4 million, as opposed to the $70 million budget Rilling presented to the Board of Estimate and Taxation 10 days ago. 

The budget first went to the Council’s Economic and Community Development Committee, which spent more than four hours at its meeting on Thursday, listening to departments present their capital requests before it voted 5-1 to advance the proposed budget. Heather Dunn, an Independent and the only non-Democrat on the council, voted against it. The full council will vote on the budget at its meeting on Tuesday, April 9.

The proposed capital budget breakdown includes: 

  • Board of Education: $8 million
  • Operations, Public Works, and Parks and Recreation: $25.8 million
  • Economic and Community Development: $8 million
  • Fire Department: $876,000
  • Police Department: $1.3 million
  • Finance and IT Departments: $1 million
  • Community Services: $432,405

Although the committee recommended advancing the proposal,  some members said  they were concerned about a few of the items  not recommended for funding.  

“Especially with the fire department— I find it alarming things that we’re not doing,” Council member Jalin Sead said. “I think there’s room.”

Sead said that during the discussion around the operating budget, council members focused on looking at “wants vs. needs.” He said this mentality should be applied to the capital budget process as well. 

“I don’t feel comfortable not funding the fire station or the fire truck where we have a growing city,” he said. 

Council members Barbara Smyth and Josh Goldstein explained that Sead (and any other council member) could propose amendments to the budget on the council floor on Tuesday, before the council votes.

“If you are considering an amendment, there has to be a swap,” Goldstein said, adding that means if a council member wants to bring back the $3 million for the fire station renovations, they would have to find $3 million to cut elsewhere. 

The other option would be to reject the budget cap entirely and send the budget back to the Board of Estimate and Taxation. 

Other council members, including Dunn and Jim Frayer, had questions about whether certain items, like $250,000 for special events, belonged in operating or capital. 

“It seemed like there were a lot of things that we were concerned should have been in operating,” she said. 

Jessica Vonashek, the city’s chief of community and economic development, said that departments had been following the advice of former CFO Henry Dachowitz and that they would look to new CFO Jared Schmitt for advice for the next budget. 


One response to “Norwalk Common Council to vote on $45.4 million capital budget”

  1. Bryan Meek

    This is only the beginning of the rest of the city falling apart thanks to NHS.

    Just like Hartford and Bridgeport. Build shiny, expensive projects in one area of town while letting the rest fall to seed.

Leave a Reply

Recent Comments