Norwalk PTOC organizes rally as Council sets budget cap

A graphic distributed by the Norwalk Parent Teacher Organization Council (PTOC).

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk parents plan to rally Tuesday outside City Hall ahead of the Common Council considering a budget cap.

“Why are we holding a rally? Unfortunately, the City Finance Department didn’t provide the Grand List to the Finance and Claims Committee on Thursday, so they weren’t able to make a recommendation for the Budget cap. If the Grand List is only revealed on the 28th, there won’t be time for public comment before the Council votes if they vote on the 28th,” the Parent Teacher Organization Council (PTOC) said in an email.

The Grand list, a compilation of assessed property values, is essential for determining the mill rate and the corresponding average tax bills, Norwalk Chief Financial Officer Henry Dachowitz explained recently. The Finance Department divides the assessed values by the revenue the City needs to fund its budget.

It’s due Jan. 31 but Norwalk has gotten a one-month extension four years in a row.

On Monday, Dachowitz said the Grand List wasn’t available yet.

“The official forms have not yet been signed off by our Assessor, Bill Ford,” Dachowitz wrote. “Those forms are expected to be submitted to CT State by close of business tomorrow, Feb 28, the deadline established by the extension granted by the State to our Assessor.”

Mayor Harry Rilling’s recommended 2023-24 operating budget calls for a 4% increase to the school district. Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Alexandra Estrella’s budget ask, approved by the Board of Education, was for a 12% increase.

In 2020-21, the Council’s budget cap provided no increase to Norwalk Public Schools in light of huge amounts of federal aid due to the pandemic. About 8% of the Board of Education’s requested increase stems from that action, according to NPS Chief Financial Officer Lunda Asmani.

Council members may vote Tuesday on a budget cap, though the charter sets March 7 as the deadline.

The Common Council meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.; the PTOC plans to rally at 7. Parents were also advised to:


“It’s important to engage with the budget process and ensure transparency,” the PTOC email said. “We deserve a say in how our city is run. Let’s make our voices heard and show our support for our schools!”

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