April 15, 2009

Town Budget To Go Before Voters

Vernon Budget To Go Before Voters

The Hartford Courant
April 15, 2009

Vernon -Residents will have their say on a proposed $76 million budget at a town meeting April 28.The town council approved the $76 million budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year late last week by a 7-3 vote, sending it to the annual meeting.

The $76,089,866 budget represents an increase of 0.85 percent over the current $75.5 million spending plan. The proposed budget is an increase of $638,264.General government increased $380,696, or 1.52 percent, to $25,468,149. The board of education budget increased 0.3 percent, to $45,835,932, after Mayor Jason L. McCoy reduced $300,000 from the board. The board will be meeting over the next few weeks to determine exactly where those cuts will be made.

This is the final year of a three-year phase-in of the town's 2006 revaluation.

Under the proposed budget, the tax rate or mill rate is reduced by just over 6%.

The annual town meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Rockville High School auditorium, will determine the budget unless residents petition for a referendum. Last year, the budget passed on the first try.



April 12, 2009


Reminder News

BY STEVE SMITH Staff Writer ssmith@remindernet .com
Vernon — 03/31/2009- Mayor Jason McCoy has proposed a budget totaling $76,089,866 for the 2009-2010 fiscal year–an increase of .85 percent over last year. The Town's tax rate is reduced by a little more than 6 percent.

The town side of the budget is $25,468,149, with $45,835,932 appropriated for the Board of Education.

“I think it’s a good budget,” McCoy said. “The big issue is that we are down in revenue.” He said adding decreases in non-tax revenue and the state legislative reductions to contributions are the biggest culprit. An estimated total of a $1.2 million decrease, including licenses and permits , records fees, and investment income , is expected. Also, town monies in banks have earned very little, as is true across the country.

McCoy said that the tax collection rate should remain around 98 percent, in spite of some residents being affected by layoffs and other economic factors, and the biggest difference is in motor vehicle taxes, which has been down.

Education Cost Sharing funds are also a concern. Previously, Governor M. Jodi Rell had proposed a decrease in the funding, but the governor’s latest proposal calls for the ECS money to remain at last year’s levels, although the state budget has yet to be finalized, and won’t be before the town’s budget is.

McCoy said Vernon plans for a decrease in that funding, to be safe. “We didn’t take risk factors on that,” he said, “because we didn’t think this was the appropriate year to do it. That’s always a problem. We took it as what we expect it to be.”

McCoy said the Town Council and his staff have worked to reduce the budget as much as possible.

“Tax rates are going down, but not as much as we would have liked,” he said.

In a prepared press release, McCoy wanted to reassure residents that, despite the slow national economy, Vernon “remains stable and affordable.”

The release also states that the budget was prepared with all town departments “understanding our economic challenge, and countering it with resourcefulness and innovation.”

“Our town department heads and I began to take apart the way we budgeted in the past. We went through our past expenditures... we negotiated new terms in our agreements for services, and products, working to lower costs for the essential goods and services that the town delivers to our citizens,” the statement read.

McCoy urges residents to participate in the budget process, particularly at the annual town meeting on April 28, at which a vote will finalize the budget. Anyone who owns property in town, or is a registered voter, will be eligible to vote at that meeting.

Before that meeting, a referendum is possible, by a petition of 200 or more signatures. “I invite everybody to come, ask questions, and participate,” McCoy said. “Give us comments or input. It’s what tells us how to handle things.”

The proposed budget is available on the Town of Vernon’s Web site, http://www.vernon-ct.gov/.


Vernon Town Hall GAR Memorial Building Rockville Grand Opening: Mayor Jason L. McCoy August 2008

Mayor Jason McCoy

April 10, 2009

Connecticut Budget Proposal Reduces Town Property Taxes

Legislative Update
Republican plan avoids tax hikes

Republican Budget
Proposal Maintains Town Aid
Finance Provides $100 Million Each
in Infrastructure Aid and Regional Grants


Republican’s New Budget Proposal Maintains State Aid Levels

The Republican Legislative leaders unveiled a new state budget proposal that, among other things, maintains state aid to towns and cities.

Republican Budget Alternative

House and Senate Republican leaders today released a “no tax increase” budget proposal that provides no cuts for towns and cities from general fund revenues (portions of grants that have been funded using state surplus fund for this fiscal year would not be funded).The Republican Plan increases State employee’s prescription payments from $3 to $10. Republicans have proposed several non-tax and non-service fee revenue initiatives to fund the plan. The Republicans have also put funding back for several public safety and public health initiative like the health district funding and bridge funding.

Bond Package

A proposed state bond package that would:

• Establish a new $100 million “municipal block grant” for FY 09-10 that would provide municipalities with$40 million according to LoCIP, $40 million according to TAR and $20 million according to unemployment rates. This block grant would be in lieu of the existing LoCIP and TAR programs. It would provide $50 for LoCIP in FY 10-11. The uses of the money would be more flexible for municipalities than under either LoCIP or TAR;
• Establish a new $50 million “regional block grant” to encourage municipal cooperation (FY 09-10). This is the Committee’s alternative to Governor Rell’s regional incentive proposals (also $50 million). See below for a related funding proposal;
• Provide $10 million in each year of the biennium for STEAP (the Governor had not funded STEAP);
• Reduce proposed bonding below levels recommended by the Governor for the following:
-- Urban Act – no funding (Governor proposed $30 million in each year of the biennium);
-- Clean Water Fund G.O. bonds (used for grants) -- $65 million in FY 09-10, $40 million
in FY 10-11.

The Governor had proposed $90 million in each year;
-- Clean Water Fund revenue bonds (used for loans)
-- $80 million in each year (Governor had proposed $175 million each year);
-- Aid for Municipal Plans of Conservation and Development—no funding
(Governor had proposed $500,000 each year).

Additional Regional Incentives

A bill (a rewritten version of HB 6561), which would dedicate $50 million from the state sales tax revenue to fund regional capital costs and services or other cost-saving programs. Combined with the bond fund described above, the Committee would thus provide $100 million in regional incentives.

Other Actions

A favorable reported on:
• HB 6559, a CCM proposal that would earmark future growth in state Indian gaming revenues for (a) PILOTsand (b) Pequot-Mohegan grants, and
• SB 1111 which authorizes school construction grants.

The Committee appears to have maintained the Governor’s provision that would limit school construction change orders to 5% of a project’s cost.