Councilors on the Finance Committee have reduced the municipal budget by about $2.4 million, according to interim City Manager Denise Rose.
Rose said the committee came up with a final expenditures figure of $81,845,722 after cutting requested additions in several departments and increasing expected revenues in other areas. Rose initially proposed a , resulting in a 4.9 percent increase in the mill rate from 25.31 to 26.55. She said the reduced budget would result in no change to the mill rate from last year’s level.
Most of the 18.5 new positions proposed for certain departments did not survive the cuts. These included for the and a deputy chief for the . The committee did approve a full-time crime analyst for the police department, as well as a part-time clerical worker. Councilors also signed off on a full-time accounting technician for the and part-time accountant for the . The budget for the New London Public Schools was flat-funded at $39,817,405.
Keith Chapman, interim director of Public Works, said Monday that the new will be crucial for solid waste revenue. He said the city currently charges $25 for permits to make four drop-offs at the transfer station and is operating at a loss. The new system, he said, will make greater use of the scale by charging $80 per ton of garbage for residents and $85 for non-residents.
“The question will be how much tonnage we get in,” he said.
Rob Pero, chairman of the committee, said the establishment of permits led to concerns that there would be illegal dumping. He said he thought the new revenues from the station might translate to more of a burden on taxpayers using the station than an actual savings.
Councilor Adam Sprecace motioned to reinstate the funds for an accounting technician at $65,000, with an anticipated $171,000 in revenue. The motion passed 4-1, with Pero opposed. Prior to this vote, the total Public Works budget was $6,296,357.
Barry Weiner, chairman of the Water and Water Pollution Control Authority, spoke to the committee on their budget, which predicts $5,451,590 in both expenditures and revenue. The operations of the city’s water supply and wastewater treatment plant are run by an outside contractor, Veolia Water, with funds coming from charges to users rather than property taxes. They are still listed as an enterprise fund in the city budget. Weiner said the funding includes a position to do grant research to defray costs.
“It’s a balanced budget and, I think this is important in this day and age, it calls for no rate increases,” said Weiner of the water budget.
Rose said the committee also made cuts to overtime, budgeted for five winter storms rather than 10, and decreased reserves for workers’ compensation and unemployment. The budget will not go before the Board of Finance, a citizens’ group, as well as a May public hearing. The City Council will act on it by May 31.