I want to take a moment to update everyone on where Fairfield stands on our budget approval process. There are five steps in our budget approval process. Step 1 -- The department heads prepare their budget requests. Step 2 -- The first selectman makes his recommendations. Step 3 -- The Board of Selectmen reviews the recommendations and makes its adjustments. Step 4 -- The Board of Finance reviews the budget and makes its adjustments. Step 5 -- The Representative Town Meeting makes its adjustments and then votes to approve a budget.

So far, the first four steps have been completed. The RTM review and approval is the next step. On Monday, April 28, the RTM discussed the budget and possible adjustments. The RTM will then vote on the budget on Monday, May 5.

Here is where the budget stood before any RTM action. If approved, the overall total for the budget would be $286,015,872. This total would mean a tax rate of 24.50 mills and an increase of 2.38 percent over the current year. The Board of Education budget would be $156,218,051, representing a 3.32 percent increase. The town-side total would be $129,797,821, or a 1.98 percent increase over the current year.

These totals include fully funding the Annual Recommended Contributions for our long-term pension and retiree medical obligations. The budget also allows for $500,000 to be added to surplus and a $400,000 expansion of tax relief for seniors and disabled persons.

These numbers all remain estimates until the RTM takes its vote on May 5. The Board of Finance is scheduled to meet on May 6, 2014 to set the mill rate.

I want to thank everyone involved in this budget process for their hard work, and I also want to thank our residents for their questions, comments and input. Please visit our town's current budget webpage at www.fairfieldct.org/2014-2015budget for information on budget meeting locations and times. Thank you.

Mike Tetreau

First selectman

Town of Fairfield