JUNE 21st, AS THE NEW FISCAL YEAR APPROACHES...WE LOOK BACK JUST A BIT...
Quorum present for ATBM (@200 attended, 14o voted that evening,
after ATBM)!!! And a total of 575 voted including the 12 noon to
8pm Referendum continuation voting period at Town Hall...and then
Board of Finance reviewed budgets as scheduled from Selectmen and Board of Education: Board of Finance Public Hearing March 30 at 8pm WMS cafeteria; "Deliberation Meeting" Wednesday, April 5, 2016 at 7:30PM, Town Hall
BOARD OF SELECTMEN APPROVES $12,628,839 (1st Selectman's
budget), $687,100 Capital Budget ($95k cut from Education
projects); Recommendation to Board of Finance to cut $135,000 from
Board of Education operating Budget.
Second night Thursday Jan. 21st; first night of FT'17 Education Budget
as proposed by staff to Board Jan. 19 - we watched sporadically from
home. Detail such as we have here.
Departments make their requests to First Selectman, whose decision on
each item may be questioned when the Board of Selectmen reviews the
First Selectman's Budget in early February...not a meeting to get public input;
TOWN OF WESTON BUDGET PROCESS: FY'17: Activities
in 3 parts of the Weston budget - Capital (Town and School), Education
(operating), Town (operating).
"How the Budget Process Works" (our short version, using last year as an example) - See the Town Charter.
Considering that the schools take up perhaps 80% of the
operating/capital budgets, they have to start earliest. TheEducation Budget (operating) is not under the scrutiny and potential for "cut" by
the Board of Selectmen, who may only make recommendations. Town Employee contract retroactively settled - story.
Capital Budget includes both Town
and School projects ("capital project" definition: More than
$10,000 and ten year life); this begins next;
The Town side of the budget begins with review of
departmental requests internally, becoming the "First Selectman's Budget" after
review; it is subject to action to make itl Board of Selectmen'sbudget.
Anyway, according to the new Charter, theBoard of Finance has greater power: All three parts of the
budget meet for review, Public Hearing and action by Finance Board to reduce all, some or
Annual Town Budget Meeting
(ATBM) meets next, prior to a
Referendum, to discuss and vote on details of all budgets except
Education operating budget (only allowed to vote on bottom line).
Please note that the only way to take action on specific details of the
Town side of the budget is at ATBM, where there is now required a quorum
of 130 Town Meeting voters to be checked in at the beginning of the
WESTON MEETINGS OPEN TO PUBLIC,
A lot happened outside the public view - ultimately, with CT in a state
of flux, Weston Board of Finance approved an under 1% increase for
Town, School and Capital budgets...ATBM April 20th! It was
self-cutting by Town and Schools re: bottom lines of their budget.
CAPITAL: SELECTMEN APPROVE AFTER $95k cut in school
project; Capital Budget (proposed) for both Town & Schools/
Capital Advisory Committee - not a public meeting, no input - on to the
First Selectman, where it sits now.
SELECTMEN: 1st Selectman's Town Operating Budget approved by Selectmen Feb. 22. originally presented Feb.440k 8 - see report/ not until February a public document CHECK DATES HERE
EDUCATION: School Operating Budget:
SELECTMEN recommend $135,000 cut; 2nd night of open budget review
was Thurs. 1/21/16, Board of Selectmen review it Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016.
Board of Finance "DELIBERATION MEETING" Tues. April 5, 2016...under
1% increase. Cuts were made by Schools and Town prior to
meeting. Why? Well, more money came in than they had
estimated (some grants, etc. only calculated later in process by others)
and it seems to me as if both boards got competitive about who could
bring in a lower budget!!!
NEXT BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING SHOULD BE A WILD ONE, AS LEFT ON THE TABLE WAS HOW TO CALCULATE FUND BALANCE...
BOARD OF FINANCE PUBLIC HEARING MARCH 30, 2016, 8PM, W.M.S. CAFETERIA - 47 MINUTES.
Town side of the
budget went first. First Selectman announces that a lower number
for the town side had occurred after new information came in on
investments (we think) that more than compensated for including the 100%
S.R.O. costs in the
Town budget under the Police Commission. S.R.O. the only issue broached and got comment from Police Commission, Board of Education and the Chief of Police.
School side of the budget next.
Vice- Chair explains FY'17 budget, ironically with a music stand in the
picture...and Superintendent explains, in response to question why arts
funding has gone
down. Finance Board member notes that if he is reading this
correctly (my words) there will be no increase more than pennies in
taxes? " Yup, just about" says Town Administrator.
47 minutes and it was over - on to "Deliberation Meeting" Tuesday April 5th at 7:30pm in Town Hall.
Bottom line of the budget is proposed as a
Strategic Planning Committee recommendation about a
coordinated "branding" of the town websites mentioned;
approach on I.T. staffing. And we may
have missed it, but IT. has been coordinated with the Town, and I think
that is a good reason to have an extra part-time employee, too!!!
Board of Finance will increase the Selectmen's budget, perhaps, to find the other $40k needed to pay S.R.O.??? BOARD OF FINANCE BEGINS REVIEW OF THREE BUDGETS:
Picture story below of first 90 minutes of first day...it was Kabuki
Theatre - all members of boards and commissions who were on the agenda
of Selectmen's budget sat in audience and watched S.R.O. issue
reveal itself, almost...we left prior to the actual review of the
Selectmen's Budget. We note that the Town Administrator was taking
the notes, so he did not sit up front defending the Selectmen's
Budget. FWIW - all three members of the Board of Selectmen were
present but not sitting together...
FINANCE OFFICER REPORT
O.P.E.B. progress and auditor appointment report...there will be a
sub-committee appointed to review the audit firm work - one member
recused himself in advance of any discussion/action.
S.R.O. in the theatrical tradition...
Member of the Board of Finance watches the room fill with agency heads, board members and the general public.
S.R.O. in the 21st Century post-Newtown era...
So how do we like the idea of an armed policeman roaming the halls at
our four schools, getting information from students, but based at
W.H.S.? Is a "closed campus" next - Chief mentions again his
concern about "open campus" and encouragement of drug use. Which
Constitutional Amendment (4th) is that again
(search and seizure) that is impinged upon, perhaps?
For one there is the question of why undo or try to undo the
kumbaya moment achieved in executive session among Selectmen, Education and
Finance regarding the Town budget and the Police Commission having 100%
control of S.R.O. (left)?
And for the other, tough talk (right) regarding the
power of the purse and increased power from the Charter Revision - and
desire to totally take away power for $5000 or less special
expenditures, not mentioned in the annual budget, from the Board of
Considering that the Board of Finance never has their
Regular Meetings on Town TV (About Town tries to attend all of these in
person), how do you feel about getting a little more "Sunshine" on
them? And are their meetings recorded on tape that someone might
do a request via F.O.I.A.?
ALMOST S.R.O. ("standing room only")
Will there be a second night tonight, Tuesday, or did the Board of
Finance do a pass for public consumption? Nothing posted online
about a second night...
BOARD OF EDUCATION (THE STAFF) STARTS EARLIER BECAUSE MORE DETAILS AND INDIVIDUALS
INVOLVED (OUR OPINION) PLUS DIFFERENT INPUT FROM THEIR PUBLIC'S NEEDS.
BOARD OF EDUCATION HAS IT (BUDGET) ON THE AGENDA DEC. 21, 2015:
Collapsed public hearing into two nights because of snow date...
SNOWING DURING THE BUDGET PROCESS BUT TOWN TV COME TO THE RESCUE!!!
Budget Workshops on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 CANCELLED rescheduled to Jan 19 -Tuesday, January 19, 2016; and Thursday, January 21, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.
Next Regular Board Meeting is Monday, January 25, 2016, at 6:00p.m. Which wasn't on TV - but the Proposed Budget, which if anything increased a tiny bit, is now online:http://www.westonps.org/page.cfm?p=5754
NOTE: Capital Budget is part of the Town side of the budget in
the sense that ATBM can act to cut separate items including those
proposed by the Board of Education. But only if there is a quorum
at ATBM! For more detail on this meeting, click here.
TUESDAY, FEB. 9, 2016. BOARD OF EDUCATION PRESENTS BUDGET TO
SELECTMEN - NO ACTION TO BE TAKEN OTHER THAN TO PASS IT ALONG TO BOARD
STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE BEING RUN OVER BY ACTION-ORIENTED GOVERNMENT!
Pictured above, during grilling on their budget, staff and members of
the Board of Education in the audience. Vice-Chairman
reports on the issue of revising the Board of Education website.
Capital Budget: Joint School and Town projects together, itemized.
Capital Advisory Committee #3 Town Hall
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Next and perhaps last meeting...once there is a vote taken by Capital
Advisory Committee, we will post a bottom line total $$ for recommended projects.
"Recommended projects" then go to the First Selectman. School Capital Budget items total $579,589 and include
among other things, funding for the next version of "Kastle-Boos-type
Study" to keep buildings in good repair. Especially important in a
time of uncertainty about enrollment.
Town side of Capital Budget$687, 200 - sounds like the
requests for Town needs were given emphasis! Police, Fire, Parks
and Rec,, roof replacements (Town has always used what I would cal a
"lay-away plan" approach [since the days of previous Town Administrator
from 1980 and even earlier]
Capital Advisory Committee #2
11-30-15 at 7:45am
New Milford school board suggests $310,000 cut after voters reject budget
By Katrina Koerting
Published 4:26 pm, Sunday, May 29, 2016
"...The $62.2 million schools budget failed by 18 votes with 734
residents voting against it and 716 voting in favor. The $36.6 million
town budget passed 841 to 608.
"...In a more than 2-to-1 margin, voters said in response
to an advisory
question on the ballot that they didn’t want to increase funding if
either budget failed. The combined proposed budget of $100.3
million was about $300,000 more than the current fiscal year. This
included a spending increase of $1 million for the school budget,
$182,000 more for the town budget, and $1.6 million for capital
projects, which is about $872,000 less than the current fiscal year."
Preston voters reject school spending plan, approve town budget
By Claire Bessette
Published May 17. 2016 9:17PM | Updated May 17. 2016 10:45PM
Preston — Voters overwhelming rejected the proposed school budget, while
approving the town government budget Tuesday in a referendum that
featured a turnout nearly triple that of recent past budget referendums.
Voters rejected the school budget 370-279, and approved the town budget by a 348-299 vote.
Both budgets called for spending increases over this year's budgets, with the school budget at a 4.5 percent increase.
State slashes funding to Greenwich schools Greenwich TIME
By Paul Schott
Published 12:35 pm, Saturday, May 21, 2016
GREENWICH — Greenwich will lose about $1.6 million in state education
funding in the next fiscal year, but school and municipal officials said
they expect the town to take the hit without having to make any
Counting only municipal aid, not ECS funds, state funding will increase
from about $1.26 million this year to approximately $1.62 million in
2016-17. Total funding, including the ECS grant, will fall from $4.29
million this year to $3.06 million next year.
Many local officials see the reduced state funding as a harbinger of
greater controls on expenditures, even though the town’s funding bodies
have already reined in spending in recent years. The BET-set budget
guideline for town departments was a 2 percent increase for the upcoming
fiscal year. That threshold could be lowered for the 2017-18 fiscal
“Partly because of the continued problems at the state level and partly
because the RTM is saying that they do not want the budget to go up so
much, the answer is the guidelines for the fiscal year 2018 budget are
probably going to be a little tighter,” Lash said.
Fight over Greenwich budget isn’t over Greenwich TIME By Ken Borsuk
Published 12:44 pm, Saturday, May 14, 2016
GREENWICH — Town department heads are scrambling in the wake of this
week’s tumultuous budget vote, which saw Representative Town Meeting
members exercising their cost-cutting powers to a degree unseen in
recent years. But budget hawks who narrowly prevailed this year
after past attempts to curb spending failed, said town officials should
expect more of the same in the future. “Every day I talk to people
who are frustrated by the ever-increasing taxes in this town,” said RTM
District 5 member Jason Auerbach. “The cuts were truly de minimis but
the message was sent and I hope our town leaders are
"School Superintendent Manuel J. Rivera presented his recommended $64.6
million budget to the Board of Education on Tuesday that includes a
proposed 2.5 percent increase for the city’s share of costs. If it
remains untouched, the budget for fiscal year 2017 will require $43.5
million from the city as compared to the current year’s $42.4 million
appropriation from the general fund. Rivera said the budget
accommodates a $2.9 million reduction in state grants and a $1.8 million
increase in expenses that include contractual agreements.
"The school expects to receive $21.1 million from the state this year compared to the $22 million received last year"...
But had this change gone into effect yet?We think not! Stonington residents critical of 2 percent budget limit
By Joe Wojtas, DAY
Published November 30. 2015 6:49PM
Updated November 30. 2015 7:53PM
Stonington — A group of 89 residents has signed a letter to the Board of
Finance telling members they had no authority to instruct department
heads to limit their proposed 2015-16 budget increases to 2 percent.
...Among those signing the letter were residents who played a central
role in successfully convincing residents to approve a charter change
last month that ensures Board of Finance elections are contested in the
future. They include Kevin Bornstein, Bob Statchen, Amy Hambly and
Charter Revision Commission Chairman Matt Berger.
School officials still scrutinizing impact of state aid cut Westport News
By Chris Marquette
Published 6:55 am, Tuesday, May 17, 2016
...But uncertainty remains as town and school officials consider how to
accommodate a reduction of about $1 million in state education funding
to Westport for the new fiscal year. The expected cut in the state’s
Education Cost Sharing money, about half the amount initially proposed
by Gov. Dannel Malloy, follows adoption of a nearly $20 billion state
budget designed to close a deficit of just under $1 billion...
School Bus Monitor Cut Raises Fears WestportNow
By James Lomuscio
Jan. 19, 2016 It happened a generation ago, but the 1991 death of
an 8-year-old Westport girl run over by her school bus still resonated
at tonight’s Board of Education meeting.