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Norwich ended last fiscal year in the red

August 3, 2018 GMT

Norwich — The city ended the 2017-18 fiscal year with spending deficits of 1.25 million but with savings of 1.5 million to 1.1 million, but the state also cut the city’s Education Cost Sharing grant by 1.25 million short of what was budgeted, city Comptroller Josh Pothier said, slightly lower than the original projection of 538,000 in 20 areas, including 115,000 in public works.

Monday’s resolution would transfer that money to cover a 3,000 for the Laurel Hill Volunteer Fire Department, 517,000 to cover nearly half of the school budget deficit.

“My first thought is I want to thank all the city departments who scrimped and saved and did not spend all that was allocated for the year,” Mayor Peter Nystrom said. “Their efforts helped cut that deficit literally in half. I’ve seen some savings (in past years), but not of that magnitude. I want to thank the city manager (John L. Salomone), too.”

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Covering the rest of the deficit will require an ordinance to draw funds from three separate undesignated funds — the city general fund, the undesignated fund for the central city paid fire department and the undesignated fund that covers the five volunteer fire districts.

The remaining 1.8 million, but still would be at 12 percent of the city’s annual operating budget. The City Council’s policy is to keep the undesignated fund balance at 10 to 17 percent of city operating costs, which currently total 29,000 deficit after 3,000 for property tax breaks to qualifying firefighters. The City Council in spring of 2017 voted to use 144,000 in the Norwich Fire Department’s overtime costs. This fund had a revenue shortfall of 311,000 from the fund to offset taxes last spring.

Pothier said after covering the revenue loss and the fire department deficit, the central city fund balance would stand at 5.8 percent of the district’s operating budget of $7.8 million.

c.bessette@theday.com

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