Taxpayers can make their voices heard on First Selectman Ken Kellogg’s $91.5 million budget proposal to fund municipal services and Monroe’s public schools for fiscal year 2020-21 at a hearing Thursday. The spending plan carries a 2.6 percent tax increase.
The night will begin with a joint discussion between the Town Council and the Board of Finance in the Council Chambers of Town Hall at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a hearing at 7 p.m. Then the Council will determine the town department workshops.
The Town Council can only act on municipal spending. When the Council finishes its work, the Board of Finance will review both the municipal and education budgets and may decide to revise either one or both if members believe changes are warranted.
The Board of Finance can only approve a number for the Board of Education. Where to allocate the money in the final budget is up to the Superintendent’s office and the school board.
When the Board of Finance adopts a final budget proposal, it will decided on by the voters in a referendum on May 5.
Kellogg says his budget proposal continues to invest in Monroe’s infrastructure, delivers cost-effective services, provides excellence in education and maintains the financial health of the town.
However, Democrats serving on the Board of Education recently expressed their strong disagreement over their own board’s $500,000 cut and Kellogg’s $500,000 cut from the spending increase Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jack Zamary had proposed for the school district.
Zamary asked for a 5.7 percent hike, but the Board of Education approved a $60,040,842 education budget for a 4.88 percent increase over its current $57,246,740 budget. Kellogg trimmed that to $59,540,842 for a $2,294,102 or 4.01 percent increase.
The first selectman’s budget includes $29,132,349 for town services, a $174,848 or 0.6 percent increase from the current budget.
The town budget also includes Fund Appropriations and Contingency, which would rise from $1,648,636 to $2,861,000 for a 73.5 percent increase. The bulk of the increase is a $1.5 million medical reserve fund for the Board of Education.
For more information on the Board of Education budget, a Google document featuring questions and answers about the proposal can be found by clicking this link. It’s a working document. To ask your own questions, send an email to [email protected].
An online calculator
If the first selectman’s budget is adopted without changes, the mill rate, which residents use to calculate individual tax bills, would rise from 35.58 to a projected tax rate of 36.51 mills for a 2.62 percent increase.
“Due to the state-mandated property revaluation that was just completed by our Assessor’s Office, the mill rate increase is not in proportion to the tax levy,” Kellogg said. “Since the property revaluation affects each taxpayer differently, I encourage taxpayers to go to our online calculator to research the potential impact to your tax bill.”
To view the online calculator click on this link.
Budget stories run on The Monroe Monroe Sun can provide background leading up to the first selectman’s proposal. Here they are in descending order:
The Town Council will hold a regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 24, in the Council Chambers of Town Hall at 8 p.m., before embarking on a series of budget workshops.
The budget workshops are all scheduled for 6 p.m. and the locations have yet to be determined. Workshops are scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 26; Wednesday, March 4; Tuesday, March 10; and Thursday, March 12.
Sandwiched in between the workshops will be a regular Town Council meeting in the Council Chambers on Monday, March 9, at 8 p.m.