A budget in transition

Spending plan reflects switch to nonprofit

Naugatuck Youth and Family Services Advisory Board Treasurer John Roman presents the department’s budget request for the 2014-15 fiscal year to the Board of Finance March 3 in Town Hall. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Naugatuck Youth and Family Services Advisory Board Treasurer John Roman presents the department’s budget request for the 2014-15 fiscal year to the Board of Finance March 3 in Town Hall. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Youth and Family Services’ budget request for the 2014-15 fiscal year signals the beginning of the department’s transition to a nonprofit organization.

Youth and Family Services Advisory Board Treasurer John Roman presented the request to the Board of Finance March 3.

The request is for $75,130, which is $46,850 less than the current budget. The largest change is the agency would be taking on the payroll itself. This current year’s payroll was an expense of $55,000 to the borough.

“We would be taking responsibility for payroll for employees and the other costs of delivering programs to youth in the borough,” Roman said.

The push for the change stems from a long-term strategic plan for borough government that recommended looking into the privatization of Youth and Family Services, the Naugatuck Visiting Nurses Association and trash collection.

Since the agency was facing possible privatization, members of the department crafted a plan to become a nonprofit agency. The agency, which would be called Naugatuck Youth Services, Inc., would phase out the marriage and family therapy portion that it currently runs. Its primary focus would be more youth programs both in and out of the schools.

Although it would be independent, the agency would need continued financial help from the borough, Roman said. The agency would be looking for the borough to cover the costs of maintenance and ongoing repairs to its building at 13 Scott St. as well as the outstanding mortgage on the building.

“We would also be asking the borough to lease the property to us for $1 per year,” Roman added.

The borough would still have to fund a matching grant of $26,000 for the agency, or else the agency would lose the grant completely, Roman said.

Included in this year’s budget request is $30,808 of what Roman called “interim support.” This money would be used to keep the agency on its feet as it transitions to a nonprofit.

The agency would also request $27,908 and $27,258 in the following two years for interim costs respectively, Roman said.

Mayor Robert Mezzo said he didn’t know the agency was going to request so much for interim support.

“The initial discussions I had with them did not include that interim support payment. I think they alluded to needing some. I don’t necessarily like that figure there, but I will say that overall they worked very hard and cooperatively during this process. I am inclined to leave it in there at this point,” Mezzo said.

Finance Board member Dan Sheridan said if the borough was to approve the money for interim support, it would have to be made clear it’s only for the upcoming fiscal year.

“They need to know that, if we approve it as is, it’s not a three-year commitment. We will review it every year,” Sheridan said. “We support what we heard and we think it’s good for both parties, but we don’t know what the climate’s going to be this time next year.”

Finance Board Chairwoman Diane Scinto said she liked the direction the agency is heading.

“I like what they are doing. I like the changes they’ve made. I also like the changes they are doing to their programming,” Scinto said.

The board also heard the senior center’s budget request, which is roughly $82,500. The proposed budget is significantly lower than this year’s budget because HRD Bus Service will take over transportation of seniors.

HRD Bus Service’s budget request increased to approximately $96,900, reflecting the increased service to the senior center.

The proposed Downtown Development budget represents a decrease of more than $40,000 to $284,000. The Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation’s proposed budget remained at $94,050, the same as it has been for the past three years.

No decisions were made Monday night. More budget hearings will be held in the weeks ahead leading up to adoption of the budget in May.

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