CHESHIRE — The Town Council recently adopted an annual budget for the next fiscal year that will keep the mill rate flat.
In March, Town Manager Sean Kimball recommended an approximately $117 million budget — a nearly 3 percent increase over the current fiscal year. However, since then councilors and administrators have been working to reduce the spending plan.
At the May 28 meeting when the budget was passed, Council Budget Committee Chairman David Borowy mentioned the unusual circumstances that all municipalities are experiencing since the start of the pandemic.
“We are truly in unique times, the likes of which no one has ever seen,” Borowy said. “The pandemic has affected all of our lives in many, many ways…The tax rate will be set, and remain, at 33.22 mills.”
The 2020-2021 fiscal year operating budget will allocate $32,782,510 for general government, $7,581,981 to debt service, $125,000 to contingency, and $1 million for capital non-recurring revenue. The Board of Education will receive the bulk of the funding — $74,539,926. In total, the budget will be $116,087,858.
“… I know there are a lot of programs and services that we had wanted to provide this year that we simply cannot, and I understand that may disappoint some people,” said Councilor Don Walsh. “But I support this budget, and am confident that the cuts that were made will not greatly alter how things are done.”
Council Chairman Rob Oris and several other councilors reiterated the importance of ensuring that the community did not see a tax increase this year.
“I understand that some people may be upset that there are cuts to the Board of Education budget,” Oris said. “For me, the driving factor here is protecting the taxpayers. Answering the phone calls and looking at the tears in the eyes of people who cannot pay their rent, or they have a family member suffering with COVID-19 … I know you all know the stories. This is a hard time for everyone and we want to minimize the impact as much as we possibly can.”