North Haven officials hoping for the best as 2018-19 budget ‘balancing act’ begins

NORTH HAVEN – The process that will ultimately result in the 2018-19 town budget is well underway, and like last year, officials are wary of what it will bring in state aid.

In the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, the town had to absorb an almost million dollar cut in state aid because of the state’s shaky fiscal standing. Not much has changed in the last six months, with next year’s state budget promising to be as unstable as this year’s.

North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda. Kate Ramunni/Hamden-North Haven Times.

But because of smart planning, the town was able to weather the cuts, First Selectman Michael Freda said.

“We are strong enough financially that we can absorb the loss for this fiscal year,” Freda said. “We can make the necessary adjustments internally because of our financial strength.

“We have delayed hiring positions to save us money. We are controlling expenditures line by line and department by department, and at the same time this is happening we are preparing for the fiscal year that starts on July 1,” Freda said.

But like last year, they’re still in limbo as far as how much the town will get from the state for the next fiscal year, Freda said, as the state’s fiscal condition continues to deteriorate.

“That budget will be a challenge because we’re not sure what the state revenue will be at that point,” he said of the FY19 budget.

They are currently putting together workshop sessions with department heads, Freda said.

“All of our departments are coming before us and we have a very delicate balancing act on our hands right now. And that balancing act is the number one issue across the state of Connecticut – taxes,” he said. “That balancing act is, how do we retain the services that we currently have, the cost of which continues to rise, and also improve the town’s infrastructure on things like firetrucks, sanitation trucks that are reaching the end of their life cycle.”

At this point, they’re about a third of the way through the process in formulating next year’s budget, Freda said. They still have budget workshops with the Police Department and the Board of Education to go, he said. By the end of March they will have a proposed budget and mill rate, he said, which will go before the public in meetings in April and May.

The process concludes in mid-May when residents vote to approve the budget and the new mill rate.

 

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