WALLINGFORD — The Town Council passed a final budget for the upcoming fiscal year Tuesday evening, including funding to keep Community Pool open longer this summer.
Councilors passed a 2019-20 fiscal year budget of $169,177,078.
The vote was 8-1, with the sole dissenting vote from Councilor Craig Fishbein, who objected to the “reliance on certain funding coming from the state.”
“I don’t feel totally comfortable," said Fishbein, who also serves as a state representative. “If we got cut by 15 million dollars, let’s say, I think somebody would have to take a serious look at some of the spending that’s going on in this budget and perhaps roll it back.”
Councilor Joseph Marrone said that there isn’t any precedent for a cut of “such an extreme amount.”
“The threat was there last year,” he added, “but there was a lot of threats and a lot of crazy things that came out of the Malloy administration that didn’t come to fruition.”
Councilor Tom Laffin said that last year the town received more state money than expected, and the council readjusted the tax rate.
“This, at least, gives all of our departments the ability to move forward,” Laffin said.
The total town government budget is $65,715,216, while the Board of Education budget is $103,461,862.
The budget raises the mill rate by .55 mills, from 28.64 mills to 29.19 mills. One mill equals $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed home value. That means property taxes will go up by 1.9 percent, meaning an increase of $101 in taxes for the average residential property owner.
Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr.’s proposed budget was released April 1. The council held a public hearing April 8 on the mayor’s budget, and continued with a series of budget workshops with town department heads throughout April and early May.
At a meeting last week, Councilor Christopher Shortell proposed keeping Community Pool open three more weeks.
The council on voted to approve Shortell’s plan to extend the pool season by 21 days to Labor Day at an estimated cost of $30,000. The extra days require about $20,000 in staffing, $7,000 in pool chemicals and $3,000 in utilities.
The extra cost will be covered without a tax increase by eliminating the proposed Town Council raise of $4,950, eliminating the dedicated Town Council phone line at $1,200, increasing the pool tag price by $5 for an additional $10,000, which estimates 2,000 passes will be sold, and transferring $13,850 from contingency.
The fiscal year begins July 1, 2019.
On Tuesday, the council also passed an ordinance to fund $1.8 million in bonds, and an ordinance clearly defining seasonal outdoor dining to include Wallace Avenue.