Next Thursday, the Litchfield Board of Selectman will be holding a Special Meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the Litchfield Operating Budget for next fiscal year July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023.
When analyzing the Town’s department budget requests, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of the request and how does this expenditure best serve the taxpayers and residents.
Much like at your home or business, expenses are only half the equation. The question also needs to be asked-Is their a likelihood of revenue growth, have the processes and protocols in each department been analyzed for efficiency and oversight.
On all fronts YES. Let me breakdown some of the important initiatives that have happened over these past 2 years:
1. Web filters were installed so that non work related websites could not be accessed and potentially jeopardize cyber security.
2. We initiated an ADP Clock-In system, discarding the previous self reporting paper system.
3. Updated regulations and enhanced protocols at the Litchfield Recycling Center so that ONLY Litchfield residents and taxpayers could use this important resource. Credit cards payment capability was also introduced for ease of use to the users. The results speak for themselves. After 9 years of deficits, the Recycling Center is now operating in the BLACK for the last 2 years.
4. The Litchfield Municipal Bus was returned to management by the Town of Litchfield Social Service Coordinator. Previously, it was rarely used, but the Litchfield taxpayers were paying about $18k a year to Northwest Transit. Currently, the bus goes out most days of the week and brings our Seniors and Disabled to Doctors appts, shopping trips and in collaboration with our Litchfield CT Park & Recreation, fun trips are planned to combat the issues of social isolation and create a community of connectivity.
5. In next year’s budget requests, I have supported an extra 5 hours per week for the Social Service Coordinator to 35 hrs/week and the hiring of a 20 hr/week Park & Rec assistant to help this department continue to expand services for people of all ages in our community.
**A Town that takes care of its seniors and families is a town that I want to live in and support.
6. We have a 15 year Road Plan in place to support the ongoing maintenance of our 127 miles of roads. Committing up to 1.5 million per year in our capital plan.
7. Every entity that the Town budget supports is now required to submit a P&L statement to explain how the funds were used.
Some increases for this next year are driven by the following:
1. An average wage increase of 2.5% and an 8% estimated increase of health care expenses.
2. $20,800 in increased Cyber Security measures to protect the town’s digital assets and information.
3. Up to $80,000 increased costs for Municipal Solid Waste Disposal. Currently, we continue to analyze options and the SMART TASK FORCE will be working with Sustainable Litchfield to increase recycling and food waste diversion efforts and education to our residents and businesses.
4. Dead Tree Removal. Currently the Town has identified more than 1300 trees in the Towns Right of Way. We are proposing a 3 year plan to make a dent in this project at a cost of $165k per year. This is a liability and safety issue that I do not think should be ignored and kicked down the road.
5. Increased Police coverage on the weekends. This budget adds $10k to add increased speed enforcement.
There is good news also. This years Grand List reflects a 4% Growth. Mostly, 3% coming from increased Motor Vehicle valuations. We are mindful that this increase will most likely be flat or decrease for next year, but the likelihood is is that Real Estate Valuations will increase next year with some projects that are being planned in our community.
Lastly, with a proposed 4-5% increase in this operating budget, the Mill rate will likely still go DOWN because of the increase in REVENUE And GROWTH. This will be the 3rd year in a row for the reduction of the mill rate.
We want to HEAR from you about changes you would like the BOS to make to this proposed budget. Please call or email the First Selectman’s office or leave a comment. Or better yet come in person to the meeting or attend via ZOOM (details below).
We are here to serve you.
SPECIAL MEETING OF THE LITCHFIELD BOARD OF SELECTMEN THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2022 ~ 5:00 P.M.
IN-PERSON AT LITCHFIELD FIREHOUSE, 258 WEST ST. AND REMOTE MEETING BY LIVE INTERNET VIDEO STREAM AND TELEPHONE
Call to Order
Discuss and Finalize 2022/23 Selectmen’s Budget Adjournment
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 882 0139 0811
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Meeting ID: 882 0139 0811