Governor’s budget flat funds municipal aid

As municipalities begin crafting budgets for the 2015-16 fiscal year, local leaders are preparing to work with no increase in aid from the state.

Gov. Dannel Malloy proposed a two-year, nearly $40 billion budget last week. The budget proposal maintains municipal aid at its current level.

Local leaders took the governor’s proposal as good and bad news.

Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield was pleased funding wasn’t cut in the spending plan.

“We could have lost state grants,” Chatfield said. “At least we kept what we had. It will make it a little easier come budget time.”

Chatfield said, after all the numbers were totaled, the town will actually received $7,000 more from the state than last year.

Beacon Falls First Selectman Christopher Bielik was not as happy with the news, saying it ultimately meant a loss for the town.

“Anytime you’re talking about budgets staying flat in the revenue side when expenses never stay flat, there’s always going to be some kind of impact,” Bielik said. “We’re going to look very seriously at minimizing the impact on taxpayers.”

Bielik said his biggest concern is how the state aid for education, since that is the largest portion of the taxes that residents pay.

Naugatuck Mayor Robert Mezzo said, while the municipalities would always like more money, he understands the decision the governor made based on the financial difficulties in Hartford.

“In general this governor, unlike some of his counterparts in other states, has consistently stood by cities and towns, protecting local funding. Other governors have cut aide to cities and towns and, ultimately, that falls on heads of local taxpayers,” Mezzo said.

The governor’s budget plan spends nearly $19.7 billion in the first year and nearly $20.3 billion in the second year.

It increases overall spending 3.3 percent in 2016 and 3.1 percent in 2017.

It raises $567.6 million in revenue in the first year and another $356.8 in the second year, and it reduces spending $590.3 million in the first year and $753.4 million in the second year.

The Republican-American contributed to this article.