03/31/2022 09:40 a.m. EST
Based on results of presentations and subsequent workshops, Branford’s Board of Finance (BOF) is sending a 2022-23 budget recommendation of $124,524,065 on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) for final committee reviews; ahead of a full RTM vote to adopt Branford’s Town budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2022. The BOF-recommended budget represents an annual increase in expenditures of $3,558,750 or 2.94 percent while also making no change to Branford’s current mill rate of 29.45 mills.
As BOF chair Joseph Mooney explained at the BOF final budget meeting on March 28, estimated revenues, preliminarily adjusted for up to a total of over $14.95 million (at $14,953,087) leaves a net amount of $109,570,978 to be raised from taxation equaling a 3.3 percent annual increase in taxation. With a grand list estimated at over $3.8 billion ($3,810,911,000); that equates to a 29.45 mill rate, which is no change year-to-year.
Speaking to the BOF on March 28, First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove said the board’s recommended budget stays true to Branford’s fiscal principles while also delivering a “tremendous” zero-tax increase.
“Thank you to the board. To deliver a budget in these inflationary times, with no tax increase, is tremendous in itself; but considering the Town of Branford is staying true in its principles of funding our liabilities, investing in our infrastructure and continuing to provide programs and services to meet the residents’ needs, I think, is a tremendous thing for our town,” said Cosgrove.
BOF members are Mooney, Charles Shelton, Jr., Victor Cassella Jeffrey Vailette, Harry DiAdamo and Pamela DeLise.
In addition to thanking the board for its commitment, Cosgrove also thanked all of those involved in the budget process, including the Town of Branford Finance Department, for working on the budget, adding he will “…look forward to the next month and half working with the RTM as they go through their review and validation of this budget.”
By unanimous vote on March 28, the BOF approved resolutions to recommend a BOE 2022-23 public schools’ budget totaling $61,194,374 (with a $60,631,374 operating budget and $263,000 for capital leases) and recommending for all other Town departments a budget of $63,329,691; to arrive at the $124,524,065 Town budget bottom line for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
On March 28, the BOF also voted to recommend to the RTM resolutions for federal monies in the Town’s federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for both the 2022-23 fiscal year as well the current, 2021-22 town budget. The BOF recommended the RTM place $2,232,000 into the ARPA fund budget for fiscal year 2022-23. The board recommended $380,000 for the Town’s ARPA fund budget for fiscal 2021-22.
Following workshops which began March 21 during which the BOF reviewed budget requests made by Town departments and the BOE; on March 28, the BOF also finalized 2022-23 budget changes for the RTM to review which include recommending the following: $63,051 to the Open Space fund budget; $14,949 to the Sewer Assessment fund budget; $71,600 to the BOE Shoreline Adult Education Enrichment fund budget; $373,460 to BOE School-Aged Child Care fund budget; $4,797,890 to the Waste Water Treatment Plant budget; $441,935 to the Animal Control fund budget and $1,813,938 to the Human Services Special Revenue fund budget.
Mooney credited the budget planning work of Town of Branford Finance Director Jim Finch and Assistant Finance Director Kathyrn LaBanca. He also thanked all department heads, BOF members, BOF clerk and Branford Town Clerk Lisa Arpin and BCTV production assistant Henry Pond for their contributions to the budget process. All budget workshops were video captured for viewing via BCTV and BCTV Facebook.
BOF member Shelton additionally commented that the budget process this year has been a “great team effort.”
“The Town and the board and everybody’s been working together to make this very skinny budget,” said Shelton. “It’s the first time in many years, that I know of, that we’ve delivered a flat budget, or a no-increase budget to the RTM, and I think they’ll be happy to have it come their way.”