RTM budget action starts tonight; 2% cuts on the table
Updated 6:33 am, Monday, May 7, 2012
The Representative Town Meeting will meet at 8 p.m. tonight (Monday, May 7) in Fairfield Warde High School to begin deliberations on a $251.9 million municipal budget for 2012-13.
At the legislative body's April meeting, the Republican caucus proposed an across-the-board 2 percent cut to reduce the proposed spending plan by $4.4 million.
Department heads were busy this week taking another look at their spending requests to see what a 2 percent reduction in their proposals would mean to their departments.
Board of Education, $148.6 million budget
Superintendent of Schools David Title: "To reach the approximately $3 million cut, as we did last year, we would expect that approximately 80 percent of this cut would in be personnel/staffing.
"To reach a cut of approximately $2.4 million in staffing (along with a $600,000 cut in non-personnel areas) we would need to eliminate approximately 25 to 30 certified positions (those holding teacher certification) and approximately 10 to 20 non-certified positions. While I cannot state exactly what programs or services would be cut or reduced, I can say this reduction would significantly degrade the quality of the educational program for the Fairfield public schools, especially because our enrollment continues to grow."
Fairfield Public Library, $4.4 million
Karen Ronald, director: "We are considering closing the library during the week and weekends."
Department of Public Works, $15.4 million operations budget
Richard White, director: "My largest budget is DPW operations and the cut is just over $300,000 on a $15 million budget. First, is it important to note that if you take out the $1 million for paving that was transferred from the non-recurring capital account (where it was previously bonded) to this year's operating budget, the budget actually decreased 1.8 percent so the effect of this additional 2 percent cut will be a 3.8 percent reduction from last year.
"Obviously, the workload and citizens' expectations have not decreased. We haven't finalized our reductions but the majority will come from equipment (backhoes, trucks, etc.) that we planned on replacing because of their age, mileage and condition. Assuming they stay functional this year they will obviously be requested again next year along with other additional equipment that exceeds its useful life."
Police, $14.7 million
Chief Gary MacNamara: "We are still looking at the services we provide to see where we could cut."
The department would need to trim about $300,000; its 2012-13 budget request is 0.6 percent lower than its current budget.