To address capital project and other needs without hitting New Canaan taxpayers with a massive budget increase, town officials say they're looking to tap bonding funds typically used for road repair and maintenance.
Officials who oversee town roads have said the $2.25 million typically dedicated to road works likely can come down to about $1 million for the time being because New Canaan has done such a good job addressing major road problems, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said.
That’s allowed officials such as Mallozzi, Finance Director Dawn Norton and Budget Director Jennifer Charneski to find allocations for important projects, the first selectman said.
“We know we cannot accept an 8 percent tax increase,” Mallozzi said. “The public will not accept that. We have to look at different ways of skinning the cat. Bold ways.”
Important improvements such as updating the town’s 911 emergency outcall system, renovating the fire station and fixing hazardous situations such as bumpy, cracked high school tennis courts likely can get funding without raising the debt burden for taxpayers, as normally happens with capital projects, he said (see video).
“We’re talking about not increasing the debt burden of the town, staying within the footprint and roadmap that I believe we have to,” Mallozzi said.
Saying it’s been a priority for the town to break with some spending mistakes New Canaan has made in the past, he added: “The public needs to know we are taking a holistic and new approach.”
Part of that approach also is micro-level, such as leasing some town vehicles rather than purchasing them, Mallozzi said.
The New Canaan Board of Finance continues to meet and discuss line items in proposed budgets for fiscal year 2014, which takes hold July 1. The finance board has the budget until March 6, when it’s made public in its entirety after that panel’s work on it, and then it’s turned over to the Town Council.