Town's budget proposal gets mixed review
Should they add more money or cut from the bottom line of New Milford's proposed 2013-14 budget?
This is the question the Board of Finance is facing after this week's public hearing.
A handful of residents attended Tuesday's session and asked for both additions and cuts.
The proposed budget passed along by the Town Council would be $95.48 million, representing a tax increase of 1.90 percent.
The education budget now stands at $59.64 million and the town side is $35.85 million.
Seven residents spoke Tuesday; about 30 were in attendance.
Town department heads argued for the restoration of positions cut -- a clerk in the tax collector's office, one in the assessor's office and a clerk in the town clerk's office.
Public Works employee Bill Petruno asked that two positions cut in the department be restored. Manpower left will not be sufficient to meet town needs, he said.
The full $60.21 million request is desperately needed, he added.
For residents Sheryl Bean and Robert Karl, the tax increase proposed would be too high. The mill rate would change from 25.37 mills to 25.86 mills, equating to a tax of $2,586 on every $100,000 of assessed value on a home.
Karl argued increased spending by town government and the Board of Education over the last years has not equated to more services being provided or better results in test scores of students.
Bean noted the financial situation for most residents in the town has not improved. Cuts to town government and education spending couldn't come at a better time, she said.
The Board of Finance will meet Wednesday, April 10, at 7 p.m. to deliberate on the budget. The board cannot alter line items; it can only add or subtract money from the budget's bottom line.