Keeping taxes low is a priority in New Canaan.
First Selectman Rob Mallozzi’s overarching message to town leaders prior to the start of the budget cycle is something like this: Fight tooth and nail if you’re understaffed or shortfalls are affecting core services—otherwise, seek zero growth beyond contractual obligations.
The budget moves from department heads to the Board of Selectmen for review (see attached PDF), then the Board of Finance (which held meetings last week) and finally, to the Town Council. Mallozzi told Patch in the attached video that he’s been impressed with the detailed scrutiny the finance board has given proposed spending for next fiscal year.
This year, while the public works request for fiscal year 2014 came in under budget to the selectmen, the recreation and human services budgets were up.
“But we have a huge need for human services, so we need to increase their budget,” Mallozzi told Patch. “We have seniors in need and a lot of people are down and out because of the recession.”
In truth, a 2 to 3 percent increase in the human services department is relatively small, compared to other areas of town.
One area the selectmen approved lower amounts than had been requested was in capital spending.
This year, for example, the police department asked for $864,400 and the selectmen approved $167,400 (see page 147 in attached PDF). Most of the difference can be seen in the first four lines of the police request. The police requested a total of $628,000 for four new vehicles, equipment plus changeover costs, and replacement radio consoles—the selectmen approved $84,000 of that.