Tesei unveils $426.7M budget
GREENWICH — First Selectman Peter Tesei has unveiled his $426.7 million proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
The overall budget proposal, which includes town spending, capital projects, the school budget and fixed charges, is a 1.58 percent increase in spending from the current year’s $420 million budget. It includes a mill rate increase of 0.32 percent which is the lowest in 20 years.
“This budget maintains the uniform policy I have followed during the previous 10 budgets I have presented,” Tesei said. “Despite economic challenges we have balanced the financial needs of the town to the needs of our residents who desire a quality public education and essential public services that enhance the value of their homes and businesses.”
Tesei was scheduled to present his budget to the Board of Estimate and Taxation’s Budget Committee on Monday night at Town Hall.
According to Tesei, spending was curtailed through a 2.2 percent decrease in health care costs as more town employees move off the town plan and onto the state of Connecticut’s plan. Additionally the town is able to make a 3.1 percent decrease in its contribution to the pension fund due to better performance in the pension and post employee benefit investment returns.
The $48.2 million capital budget proposal includes money to study a new town skating rink, which is the first step toward potentially replacing the Dorothy Hamill Rink in Byram. Money is also included to study dredging of Greenwich Point’s harbor. And the town is slated to spend $30,000 to help fund the second year of the Think Greenwich marketing and branding campaign.
Tesei also highlighted $60,000 in funding to continue domestic abuse prevention and education programs in the Greenwich Public Schools through a partnership with YWCA Greenwich.
Budget documents will be available online in the Finance Department page of the town website, www.greenwichct.org.
Tesei’s proposed budget has $2.3 million for development and design work for installing a turf field at one of the town’s three middle schools. Actual field construction work is not expected to occur until the 2019-20 budget year.
Tesei’s presentation Monday was scheduled to be followed by a presentation of the school budget by Superintendent of Schools Jill Gildea. The school budget proposal, currently set at $160.3 million, was approved by the Board of Education in December
The plan represents an increase of 4.5 percent over the current school budget, but it includes $3.2 million in expenses such as transportation costs that had previously been paid by the town but are being shifted to the Board of Education. Without those costs, the proposed school budget is a 2.6 percent increase over the current year.
The Board of Education’s capital and operating budget requests will be discussed with the BET Budget Committee at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Town Hall. The session will be followed at 2 p.m. by a discussion of potential plans for the middle school fields.
The Budget Committee will hold hearings with department heads throughout the next month. It will meet on Feb. 1 to discuss the capital requests in Tesei’s proposed municipal budget.
The BET Budget Committee has the power to make changes, reductions or additions and is currently set to vote on the budget on Feb. 23.