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Town Budget Shows Modest Increase
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent
Woodbridge Town leaders are presenting a budget with a .73% expenditure increase for the 2014-15 fiscal year. The public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for April 21, 7:30 p.m. in the Center gym, 4 Meetinghouse Lane.
As presented, the mill rate will increase from the current 34.14 to 35.13, which translates into a tax increase of about $99 for every $100,000 in assessed property value. Thus, a property assessed at $300,000 will pay $297 more in taxes.
First Selectman Ellen Scalettar said she and the town’s administrators are always mindful of the tax implications of their work. “We are doing our best to minimize any rate increase,” she said. At the same time, Woodbridge residents have come to expect “first rate services,” including for education and public safety, she said.
The total recommended budget is for $45,716,238 which includes $13 million for Beecher Road School and $13.4 million for the Amity school system. The proposed budget increase for the elementary school is 1.78%. The proposed Amity budget — which is voted on in a separate referendum — increases by 3.78%. Due to enrollment shifts, Woodbridge’s share of the Amity budget represents a 3.12% increase.
The 2014-15 budget includes a cost-of-living adjustment for municipal employees of 2.25%, said Town Finance Director Anthony Genovese. However, the increase does not take effect until October 1, so that the budget impact of salaries is 1.73%.
Debt service sees an increase of $18,000, and includes the first payment on the new Public Works garage, Genovese said. That figure represents a .73% increase over this year’s debt service.
The Country Club of Woodbridge expenditures will be reduced to the $195,000 fee that the town negotiated with Billy Casper, the golf management firm. In addition, the town budgeted $69,000 for the upkeep of the Club House which includes electricity, heat and phone/alarm lines.
The losses of the golf operation prior to the new contract between the town and Billy Casper were unanticipated expenditures and will drain the town’s fund balance, Genovese said. In Fiscal Year 2013, it reduced the town’s fund balance by roughly $438,000. As of June 30, the unassigned fund balance was $4.8 million, or 10.73% of the town’s total expenditures. That number is still a variable, but could dip below the 10% line by the end of this fiscal year, Genovese said. A new line item this year is the Country Club pool, which is run under the auspices of the Recreation Department. The budget proposes $128,000 in expenditures and $160,000 in revenues.
- The budget for capital items is up by about $300,000 which represents a 25% increase. It includes:
- For Beecher Road School: Asphalt and concrete replacement ($250,000, to be paid by grant money) and technology updates ($95,000); also bonding of $13.3 million for the building upgrade.
- Fire Department: $25,000 for the assistant chief’s vehicle replacement; $100,000 towards Engine 7 replacement; and $45,000 for fire hose replacement.
- Police: $60,000 for two new patrol vehicles; $8,650 for IT enhancements; $75,000 for radio upgrade. The town did not budget for a new officer position, as had been requested by the police department.
- Human Services: $63,000 towards a new, 14-passenger, lift-equipped bus.
- Parks Department: $17,000 for a trailer and small mower.
- A recording system for the Main Meeting Room at Town Hall ($9,471).
- Pool and gym: $5,000 for pool repairs; $8,200 for tile replacement.
- Public Works: Equipment replacement reserve ($17,000); plow truck replacement reserve ($178,425); bridge and waterway reserve ($20,000); road construction reserve ($720,000 - $240,000 of that will be offset by Town Road Aide from the state and a $65,000 LOCIP fund).
- Recreation: $13,588 to implement online registration; $35,000 for replacement of the ice skating rink.
- Waste Management: $45,000 toward trash compactor replacement; and $9,300 for concrete slab steel installation.
As a follow-up to the public input, the Board of Finance has scheduled a meeting for April 24, at which time it will make final recommendations. The Annual Town Meeting will take place May 19 at 7:30 p.m., again in the Center gym. “We are constantly looking for additional efficiencies and cost savings,” the first selectman said. “And we will be doing that until the final budget is adopted.”
Boy Scout Troop 63, meetings Monday nights from 7:00 pm – 8:30pm, Our Lady of the Assumption "Mother" Church, 1700 Litchfield Turnpike (Rte. 69), Woodbridge; September- April and May-June outdoors at Camp Whiting, all boys ages 10 and up or who have completed the fifth grade are welcome to stop by and see what we're all about. For more information, visit http://www.troop963.org or email Troop63CT@gmail.com.
Woodbridge Republican Town Committee Meetings, second Tuesday of each month, 7:30pm, Center Cafeteria. Visitors welcome and urge you to join us. For information, go to www.woodbridgegop.org.
Spring Entrepreneur Series, Every Thursday, 5:30-8:00pm (PDT), New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street, New Haven, View Map, sponsored by SCORE New Haven (http://newhaven.score.org/) and the New Haven Free Public Library to help participants establish a business plan, understand basic financial statements, learn how to build a recognizable brand, and manage technology effectively. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance upon successful completion of the series.
Alzheimer's Community Caregivers Support Group, 2nd Thursday of the month, 5:00pm, Arden House, Conference Room, 850 Mix Avenue, Hamden. Call Maria Paduano, Program Director to RSVP or for more information at 203-281-3500, ext. 7669; www.genesishcc.com.
Woodbridge Rotary Club Meetings, 1st and 3rd Friday of the month, 7:30am breakfast meeting, Country Corner Diner, 756 Amity Toad, Bethany and the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, 12:15pm luncheon meeting, Carmine Tuscan Grill, 1500 Whalley Avenue, New Haven. Anyone interested in learning more about Rotary should contact Anna Dickerson at 203-710-0223 or email email@example.com.
Annual Fund Drive for Bethany's Clark Memorial Library, contributions requested to help for the cost of a website to update services, etc.
Trap Falls Kennel Club Obedience Classes, every level, AKC STAR Puppy (obedience for dogs under 12 months) and Family Manners Classes/Obedience & Canine Good Citizen; Wednesday and Thursday evenings, Pawz for Wellness in Shelton, CT. For registration and/or information, call 203-450-9485 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Trap Falls Kennel Club is a non-profit member club of the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Bethwood Softball, now accepting player registrations for its Spring season; Girls living in Bethany and Woodbridge between the ages of 6-14 years old are eligible to play. For more information and to register on-line, visit: http://www.bethwoodsoftball.org/.
Amity Parent Support Group, meets every other Friday morning, 7:45am, Woodbridge Senior Center Lounge, 4 Meetinghouse Lane, sponsored by Amity High School, Woodbridge Youth Services and the Orange Drug and Alcohol Action Committee, local parents who struggle with children who are, or may be involved with, substance abuse share experiences and concerns in a confidential setting, For more information, please contact Nancy Pfund at 203-389-3429, or e-mail email@example.com.