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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Milford board juggles budget

Cityside spending cut, $1M added to schools
By James Tinley
Register Staff
— The Board of Aldermen has slashed the city side of the 2008-09 municipal budget and restored about $1 million to the proposed Board of Education budget.
The resulting $172,125,308 municipal and Board of Education budget that was approved by aldermen Monday night represents a 1.02 percent spending increase from last year.
The tax rate was set at 28.23 mills: the average property owner will see about a 2.5 percent tax increase, said Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr.
Milford however is entering its third year of a five-year, phased-in property revaluation, and each individual’s tax bill will vary widely depending on how much their property value increased in the latest revaluation.
“It’s the lowest tax increase in recent memory,” said Aldermanic Chairman Ben Blake, D-5. “We’re in tough financial times in our community, in the state, and as a nation. ... The taxpayers needed a break this year.”
But Richetelli called the deep cuts to the city side of the budget “just plain irresponsible.” He warned that some of the cuts made to the budget were not savings, but deferrals that the city would pay for later.
The Board of Aldermen cut $2.74 million from the mayor’s budget proposal from the city side of the budget, resulting in a 1.52 percent spending decrease from last year. The mayor had proposed a 2.3 percent spending increase.
The bulk of the cuts came from reducing the amount the city pays into municipal retirement and benefit funds. The “Other Post Employment Benefits” contribution was reduced by $1.4 million dollars from $1.7 million to $300,000.
Alderwoman Judith Toohey, R-2, said that amounted to shifting the burden of today’s taxpayers onto their children and grandchildren.
Blake disagreed and called all the cuts “thrifty” but “responsible and prudent.”
Another $200,000 was taken out of the Public Works budget, resulting in at least one of the three city bulk trash pickups being canceled.
Toohey said the Democrats “devastated” the city side of the budget and are being “penny-wise and pound-foolish.”
Blake however said the cuts were spread throughout different departments and helped create a small tax increase. He said the budget also gave seniors a total of $860,000 in tax relief and helped students by restoring money to the Board of Education budget.
Aldermen added $990,000 to the Board of Education budget from the $2.74 million it trimmed from the mayor’s proposal for the city side of the budget.
The Board of Finance previously trimmed $2.1 million from the superintendent’s proposal of $82.93 million. The final school budget of $81.8 million is a 5 percent increase from last year. Superintendent of Schools Harvey B. Polansky originally requested a 6.1 percent increase.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reinstatement of funds is just plain disgusting.
Once again the majority of tax payors are told your services will be reduced, but for the minority of citizens with childern in the school system - Here is more money. Dr. Polansky should be told now - no increase next year - NOT ONE DIME! Let him start to plan now. With the reinstatement of funds he will have absolutely no problem asking for another 7-9% increase knowing he will automaticly get aleast 5-6.5%
The Alderman who voted for the reinstatement of funds should be ashamed of themselves and I hope they realize the BOE and Dr. Polansky did the dance of joy and laughed all night long.

Congratulations to the Alderman who held their ground. Thank You!
Dr. Polansky and every teacher who had a finger print on the students who will not graduate should also be ashamed of themselves. The FAILED as well and must take the blame for their Failure.

May 23, 2008 at 8:10 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weak leadership at its best (or worst). The new Dems. who all had the battle cry of when running for office last year of "No Increases In Taxes" are nothing more than Paper Tigers. Oh what a mighty roar from the new Hyprocrites in office run by Ben Blake. All Ben is doing is trying to play it safe and please everyone until he runs for Mayor after Jimmy is gone. He is your typical Do Nothing politician that just screws everyone for his own gain. Fools!

May 25, 2008 at 9:43 AM 

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