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City Certifies Petition Challenge Of New London Budget

City Council will receive call to put $42.3 million municipal budget for 2013 fiscal year to referendum vote

 The city clerk and registrars of voters have determined that there are enough valid signatures on a petition challenging the city’s to bring the item before the City Council.

The petition also challenges the council's decision to set the mill rate, or tax per $1,000 of value, at 27.22. This represents a 7.5 percent increase from the 2012 fiscal year mill rate of 25.31.

Petitioners collected 784 signatures. Of this total, 644 were accepted and 140 were rejected. Petitioners needed at least 483 signatures to put the item before the counil.

The council will receive the petition at their regular meeting on Monday, scheduled for 7 p.m. at . The council may decide to rescind their previous votes or send the items to a referendum vote.

The final budget approved by the council appropriated $42,323,256 for the municipal budget and $40,626,405 for the . A total of 19 municipal positions are cut in the city budget.

The final budget decision overrode a , but also restored with the intent of freeing up money to avoid .

Actions following the approval of the budget have cast uncertainty on the status of some of the approved funding. The restoration of administrative positions was made on the understanding that tentative agreements with the fire and police unions would provide the necessary funds without the need for further cuts. However, a failed in a 3-3 tie on July 2. Finizio has postponed 25 scheduled layoffs in the department until July 17 to allow the council further time to review the agreement and revisit the vote at its Monday meeting.

Dr. Steven Adamowski, the special master appointed to New London Public Schools, has said the council erred in anticipating $809,000 in additional Education Cost Sharing funds under Gov. Dannel Malloy’s education reform plan, since Superintendent Nicholas Fischer must develop a one-year plan for the district before the funds are available. Adamowski also said the state is to free up the money budgeted for that department for preserving jobs and programs, saying it was approved without a clear understanding of monetary savings.

Although the budget went into effect on July 1, tax bills were sent out based on 2010 fiscal year figures since the budget process was not completed prior to the mailing date. Supplemental bills may be used to account for the tax increase.

Correction: The original story said the petition challenged the total budget. It challenges the municipal budget and tax rate, but does not challenge the school budget.

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Greg Bryant July 12, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Thanks to William and Kathleen, I read just read the links Kathleen posted about the pensions and the comparisons. I never considered the fact that the current pension plan is 100% taxpayer funded, with no employee kick in. It does seem a bit greedy for any group that has not contributed anything to their own pension plan to be so demanding as to want another nearly 40% kicked in at such a high cost and especially with it having to be bonded and paid off by taxpayers over twenty or more years. It is an outrageous ask in the current economy. What is the mayor thinking making such a deal after he screamed about an alleged $12 million deficit in January? All of this does lead me to question the firefighters and the mayor's motives and intentions. I have to say that the firefighters should kick in the 40% fee, afterall if they were in that plan for the last 20 years they would have had to contribute an amount mandated by law. What would that amount have been when totaled for each firefigher going into the plan? Calculate that out and have the firefighters pony up the cash. There is no free lunch. The taxpayers cannot afford to give so much more to any group.
David Irons July 12, 2012 at 01:12 PM
This whole thing stinks. First, the plan as agreed to does not do what was planned. That was to come up with savings to pay the cost of the 25 firefighters positions. The plan submitted only comes up with savings to pay part of the transfer to the state plan. It does nothing to pay for the 25 firefighter positions. Secondly, that the firefighters and the mayor expect NL taxpayers to pony up the 40 percent contribution is an outrage. All involved with this proposal should hide their heads in shame.
David Irons July 12, 2012 at 01:17 PM
The matter of the referendum brings up another question. Some of those opposed to the budget as submitted are against it because of tax increases it requires. Some are opposed because they want more funding to pay for additional services or positions. If the referendum only asks if voters approve or disapprove of the budget, it still does not tell Councillors if the majority want less taxes or more services and personnel. The referendum needs to be worded to give voters the choice.
Emily Kendall July 12, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I think the ask from any union to the tax payers to pay an additional 40% towards any pension for any municipal employee is bold and arrogant. Many of us are having a very difficult meeting our daily expenses and making ends meet. To consider putting this kind of expense on the taxpayers is a slap in the face to every family and individual that is trying to make it in the current state of the economy. I personally cannot look at the New London Firefighters the same way that I did before all this came out. I looked at them as friends and community members that serve us no matter what. Now I see them as nothing more self serving and greedy employees that just want as much as they can get from us as taxpayers and citizens. This is a enlightening situation and I have to say that I am glad to know this now rather than after some secret deal was consumated that obligated me and all the taxpayers to a longterm bill that benefitted less than 100 people of which very few are even taxpayers. A big surprise how little we know about the motives of people we thought were our friends.
James Dixon July 16, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Government run institutions are funded by taxes, so I'm not sure why tax funded pensions for firefighters surprise anyone. The new pensions will allow older firefighters to retire that were unable to under their previous 401k deal, thus preventing layoffs of younger more able (and cheaper) firefighters. Daryl explained the deal, and from what I gather it is something like this: Under the new contracts negotiated with the New London Fire Department, this year there will be $500,000 in savings from a reduction in minimum staffing from 18 to 16, plus $90,000 in cutting raises. On top of that, the city anticipates 6 to10 retirements this year as a result of changing the retirement plan, which will prevent layoffs of younger and more able firefighters. These retirements will save at least $600,000 (which is the amount needed to balance the budget and avoid layoffs) and as much as $900,000 if more retire, which would be welcome further savings for this year. In future years, there will be a payment of $350,000 on the bond, but the bond does not need to be repaid this year because it won't be taken till September. The budget of future years calculates to an approximately $162,000 annual savings. This balances the budget for the duration of the new contracts. The new contracts can be revisited when they expire in 2015 and we can revisit other cost saving options, such as reducing minimum staffing to 14 or privatizing the ambulance, if there is still a need to make cuts.

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