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Mallozzi: 'Recipe for Disaster' Looms for New Canaan Taxpayers

With parents expected at a public hearing this week to call for more money for schools than finance officials have approved, the first selectman warns of what he calls "a perfect storm" for town taxpayers.

 

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said the town must be very careful about how much it funds New Canaan public schools next year, as taxpayers already stand to face a steep rise for the fiscal year that follows.

Citing a proposed change to motor vehicle tax that could cost New Canaan more than $2 million in local taxes, as well as a state mandate to increase school funding each successive year, Mallozzi called the 2014-15 budget season “a recipe for disaster.”

“I’ve heard a lot about a perfect storm,” he told New Canaan Patch. “But I will tell you that the perfect storm coming that I see is not so much in this year, it’s in next year’s budget when we are faced with that major sea change in taxation and burden on top of the mandate to fund the school education for more or the loss of grants.”

The "major sea change" involves a shifting of taxpayer burden from homeowners with properties valued in the $4 million to $5 million range to a much larger group in the $1 million to $1.8 million range (see full comments in video).

Mallozzi's comments come as officials brace for an emotionally charged meeting Tuesday night, when residents will weigh in at a public hearing on Board of Finance's proposed budget for next year. The Board of Education has called for public support of its request to get the full, 5.7 percent year-over-year increase it needs to its operating budget (to about $78.8 million). The finance board in its proposal has reduced the district’s request by $2 million in operations (and $1 million to capital spending).

In presentations to the town, New Canaan Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mary Kolek has referred to this year's budget cycle and monies needed for next academic year as “a perfect storm,” since many of the increases to operations are built into contracts with district employees. (See attached March 4 letter from the Board of Education to district parents.)

The public hearing Tuesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the New Canaan Nature Center.

Judge Crater March 11, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Citizens should also know that the CT measures of assessment equity only apply to the town as a whole. If the assessment process breaks the town into different zones or strata, it is possible for significant assessment inequity to occur within those zones and the town will still pass the CT legal requirements. There are methods to highlight and remedy any such inequities. The Standard on Ratio Studies can be reviewed with an emphasis on uniformity. http://www.iaao.org/sitePages.cfm?Page=219 The standards can be complex and the citizens deserve an education, especially if the tax burden shifts to lower-priced properties.
heavens sake March 11, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Roy, Agree with you NC should not issue Bonds just because interest rates are low. Previous First Selectman preached taking on more debt for that reason, but Bob Mallozzi is more prudent . Many also believe inflation will make paying off debt with future cheaper $s will be easy. However , as you point out, any increase in interest rates to combat inflation would place many cities ,towns and individuals in default. We are in unchartered waters and therefore BOF should be more responsible and transparent before taking on increased spending. Our children will have a better chance to survive if we leave them a viable economy rather than huge debts with no chance to eliminate catastrophic debt at all levels of public financing. It is time for all to live within their means including NC
Local Parent March 11, 2013 at 11:01 PM
Let's look at what we DO spend money on so we aren't wasting it on programs that don't help kids. I think in your fear, you missed the message. Consultants at $800K? Really, what for? To develop more curriculum? Technology? Do we need more? Kids have plenty at home. If we really want to be cutting edge, get our kids off the computers and do some of "what a life" suggested in her post. "More" is not always "Better." And while your income may be limitless, or you plan to simply move on, mine isn't - I'll be here a while...and I'd like to consider the impact on our future. Things won't be getting better nationally for a while...and we all know what rolls downhill.
Michael Dinan March 12, 2013 at 03:40 AM
Thanks everyone for your comments on this story. I'm closing this thread now. We'll have a fresh thread on this topic opening in the morning. -Mike

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