$109.3 million budget going to joint boards

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NAUGATUCK — During a final review of the budget before a meeting of the Joint Boards of Finance and Mayor and Burgesses, officials decided to move forward with a budget of $109.3 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The budget would increase spending by $3.76 million.

According to Controller Wayne McAllister’s office, the municipal budget is $50.4 million, an increase of $1.82 million. The municipal budget is approximately $476,000 less than the budget going into a budget meeting Monday night.

The school budget sits at $58.9 million, a $1.9 million or 3.4 percent increase.

Finance Board Chair Robert Butler said that board decided not to make any changes to the Board of Education’s budget during a budget meeting Monday night.

This decision came about after the Finance Board asked the Board of Education to get below a 4.5 percent increase and the school board returned with the 3.4 percent increase.

“They had done better than we asked. It wouldn’t be fair for us to take it down any further without input from the joint boards,” Butler said.

The budget will now go to the joint boards for a discussion and possible amendment before it is sent to a public hearing. The joint boards are scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Commissioner’s Corner in Town Hall.

This past Monday officials lessened the municipal increase through a variety of reductions.

One of the areas that the Finance Board was able to reduce on the municipal side was the police department’s budget.

The board was able to cut $70,000 from the budget by removing a half-time police officer that the town would have shared with the Board of Education and a full time dispatcher.

The town saved an additional $3,000 from the police budget after removing a crossing guard, who was no longer necessary due to Central Avenue Elementary School closing.

The board voted to cut $2,250 from the information technology budget by cutting two of the four work stations that were requested in the budget.

However, not all proposed cuts were welcomed by the board.

Board member Matthew Katra suggested cutting $2,000 out of the budget for the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation.

Katra felt the goal of the NEDC was to become a sustainable with private funding and donations, not public funding.

Mayor Robert Mezzo disagreed with cutting money from the NEDC budget. He said the NEDC, through its actions, brings a lot of revenue to the town.

“I think this is one of those areas that we can not not fund,” Mezzo said.

Katra felt since the NEDC has an $8,000 contingency fund, cutting $2,000 from the budget would not make much of a difference. He pointed out that the NEDC has an 8 percent contingency fund.

“Even if we just take $2,000 off, they would have less contingency. I mean, we wish we had 8 percent contingency,” Katra said.

Mezzo pointed out that the board is comprised of the CEO of Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan, the CFO of Naugatuck Savings Bank, the head of one of the leading manufactures in Naugatuck’s Industrial Park, state legislatures, and elected officials.

“There’s got to be some credibility in the people that put that organization together, that there not sitting there, frivolously wasting dollars. Quite the opposite is true,” Mezzo said.

Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi felt that the NEDC was important to the community because it helps Naugatuck market itself to businesses and maintains the corporations and manufacturers in town.

“We’re lucky to have what we have and draw in what we draw in. To nickel and dime these guys and cut them another $2,000 I think is short sighted and irresponsible,” Rossi said.

The budget meeting continued into the night before the $109.3 million figure was settled on.