Greenwich committee approves guidelines for budget plan “which tries to balance everyone’s needs”


GREENWICH – Just weeks after the Estimate and Taxation Council’s budget committee appeared to disagree on proposed guidelines for the following year’s municipal budget, its members gathered to unanimously support them .

The guidelines would serve as a framework for the 2022-2023 municipal budget in Greenwich, which the first selectman is expected to unveil at the end of January. The budget committee will then hold hearings on the city’s proposed spending plan based on the guidelines.

The guidelines call for a 2022-2023 municipal budget of $ 463 million, an increase from the $ 448.5 million in the city’s current budget for 2021-2022, as well as $ 70 million for a project budget. fixed assets proposed.

The actual municipal budget will be different from the guidelines. But if the new budget were approved according to guidelines, it would result in a 2.5% increase from the current thousandth rate, according to BET’s budget committee.

“A lot of time and effort has gone into this,” BET Budget Committee chair Leslie Tarkington said at a Tuesday afternoon meeting on the guidelines. “There was a compromise on the part of everyone involved. … It’s a budget that tries to balance everyone’s needs. Everyone has worked together to make sure the city provides the services people want. “

When the guidelines were presented last month, the four-member committee had several issues with the proposal. Budget Committee member Jeff Ramer said he was concerned this could lead to a 2-2 tie between parties, with the majority of Republicans voting to recommend the guidelines and Democrats voting against them.

It could have led to a lingering discord over BET, but instead there was a spirit of compromise at Tuesday’s meeting. Ramer thanked Tarkington for several changes to the guidelines, including increased flexibility with capital spending and increased spending for the school meals fund and the city’s contribution to Nathaniel Witherell.

Tarkington said she expected capital projects to be prioritized under the first city budget proposed by the breeder before the committee begins its hearings on the spending plans.

“I had had some disappointment and dismay when I saw that the original draft (Tarkington) had prepared numbers that I didn’t think I could live with,” Ramer said. “It is (now) clear to me that (Tarkington) has put a lot of time and effort into preparing this document. And the more I worked on the document, the more I realized what Mrs. Tarkington was putting into it. … These are compromises that show the members of this council reaching out to other members of this council, and I am grateful to them.

Committee member Leslie Moriarty, who heads the Democratic BET caucus, also welcomed the changes to the guidelines, which she said made clear the document is intended to make recommendations to city departments on the issues. budgetary.

“I think in recent years the guidelines have been used not as guidelines but as a cap, and this trend has concerned me,” Moriarty said. “There has been an attempt in these guidelines and hopefully the text will succeed in reinforcing the fact that the guidelines are what they are – guidelines.”

Moriarty said the budget committee will know more about the financial situation in February when its hearings begin.

Committee member Andy Duus called the guidelines “a very good document” and said, “Let’s get more information so that we can understand and respond at the February meetings.”

The guidelines do not reflect the potential impact of the city’s upcoming revaluation on property values, on the Big List and on the amount of tax revenue, Tarkington said.

The reassessment could result in changes in the budget by the time the BET has its final vote on the spending plan in March.

The guidelines will be discussed and likely voted on by the full BET at its next meeting, which will be held on Zoom at 6:30 p.m. on October 18.

Tarkington praised city departments for their work during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are truly very proud of the accomplishments of the city, schools and city staff during this entire persistent COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “We really thank everyone for their extraordinary efforts.”

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