Editor’s Note: The following is a budget message from First Selectman Ken Kellogg:
The Town Council and Board of Finance have completed their responsibilities per our Town Charter and adopted their adjustments to the proposed budget for fiscal year 2023-2024. As new information became available during the process, I presented and recommended several adjustments to further reduce the impact to the projected tax rate, all of which were adopted.This final proposed budget would result in a projected tax rate increase of 1.87%. This is a six-year average of less than 1% per year.
I now submit the final proposed Annual Town Budget for Fiscal Year 2024 to the Annual Budget Referendum, and encourage the citizens of Monroe to exercise their right to vote on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.Through this collaborative effort, the proposed FY24 budget:
- Continues to control taxes through a conservative approach to spending. The total proposed increase in municipal operational expenditures of 1.47% is well below the significantly higher rates of inflation and the cost of goods and services.
- Funds our Board of Education’s requested budget appropriation, reduced by anticipated availability of grants and the ability to cover certain one-time costs in the current fiscal year. This lowered the Board of Education operating expenditures increase to 4.80%, which is driven largely by increased enrollment.
- Makes prudent use of grants and alternative funding sources to minimize the burden to taxpayers. This includes $2.6 million from our unassigned fund balance, which is currently projected to reach an all-time high of over $20 million and exceeds Board of Finance policy. A disciplined utilization of the excess in our fund balance, combined with a renewed focus to contain both municipal and education costs, will allow us to avoid a fiscal cliff in future years without requiring a draconian tax levy.
Our Board of Finance has also recommended consideration to utilize $1.5 million of fund balance in the upcoming fiscal year to accelerate some capital projects, without the use of bonding or impacting next year’s mill rate.Without our growth in the grand list, a conservative and disciplined approach to spending, and use of alternative funding, taxes would have grown by over 10%, a rate.
I believe would be unacceptable to most. I greatly appreciate the dedication of our staff, educators, and our volunteers – including those serving on boards and commissions – who contributed to this year’s budget process.
I am very appreciative for the time and due diligence of our Town Council and Board of Finance, both of which approved their proposed budgets in unanimous, bipartisan votes. Again, don’t forget the referendum vote on May 2nd!
— Ken Kellogg, First Selectman
- My full budget discussion, a financial summary, and the full budget documents are all available at:https://www.monroect.gov/p/annual-town-budgets.
- Hard copies of the Proposed Annual Budget are also available for onsite review in the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library and in the Town Clerk’s Office.
All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.