NORWALK, Conn. – The Common Council’s Finance Committee moved the operating budget process along Thursday night, advancing Finance Director Thomas Hamilton’s recommendation along to the full council for a vote without debating it or making any alterations.
The budget at this point calls for a total 2014-2015 budget cap of $318,480,145, less intergovernmental grants of $16,163,897. That makes the cap on spending due to Norwalk property taxes $302,316,248.
It calls for a 2.9 percent increase in spending, for both the Board of Education and the city, Chairman Bruce Kimmel said, calling it a “pretty even deal.”
The 2013-2014 budget was for $309,427,949.
Hamilton kept this budget lower than it might have been by taking $1.2 million out of the BOE insurance budget. Hamilton said the board has accumulated enough money in its insurance account and does not need to add more to it. Kimmel said everyone seems to agree with that decision. Board members had checked with a consultant, he said. “Their projections were pretty solid,” he said.
The goal for this year was to keep the increase as low as possible because it’s a property revaluation year, Kimmel said.
“I think they did a good job,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised that they were able to come in in a reval year with a budget, where the impact of the budget was minimal. We tried to ameliorate the impact of the reval on basically the 5th and 6th Taxing Districts. That was the goal. That can only go so far but I think coming in low like that, it helped. … You’ve got to be extra careful every five years. I think 2.9 percent spending increase, the lowest it’s been in three years, that’s the best you can do.”
The committee did not get to debate the budget because of all the snow, Kimmel said. Last week’s meeting had been canceled; ordinarily the committee would listen to the Finance Department’s recommendation and then discuss it one week later.