The following is a letter from First Selectman Ken Kellogg:
As everyone will recall, Monroe’s budget process started prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. On February 8, 2020, I presented a budget to the Town Council that included a municipal expenditure increase of less 0.60%, and reduced the Board of Education’s requested 4.88% increase to 4.01%. Because the Board of Education’s appropriation is the largest driver in our budget, this would have resulted in a projected tax rate increase of approximately 2.6%.
As we are acutely aware, the world’s economy has changed dramatically since that time. While I firmly believe our Town will be a part of an economic recovery, we must assume that the upcoming fiscal year will present significant financial challenges for our Monroe families and businesses. Now is not the time to ask taxpayers to pay more.
I implore the Board of Finance to adopt a budget with a zero increase to the tax rate, while leveraging tools to avoid draconian reductions in service. I stand ready to work with the Board, in collaboration with our outstanding team of staff and department heads, towards this goal.
While the Governor’s executive orders have mandated against our annual budget referendum this year, I applaud our Town Council and Board of Finance in ensuring that Monroe’s taxpayers will continue to have a strong voice. The Board of Finance will have two public hearings on the budget, the first one being on the evening of Thursday, April 23rd. Details on how to participate and voice your input will be posted on the Town’s website next week. However, you may submit your written comments immediately by going to www.MonroeCT.org/budget.
Additionally, residents should be aware that the Town Council will schedule a special meeting next week to vote on a resolution that will provide some relief in the tax collection process.
Now, more than ever, we must focus on delivering cost-effective services to our community and providing excellence in education, while planning for a long-term recovery. Despite the absence of the referendum, we must deliver a final budget that Monroe families and businesses can afford.
— First Selectman Ken Kellogg