December 4, 2009

Journal Inquirer > Towns > Vernon > Vernon considers ways to compensate for state aid cuts

Journal Inquirer > Towns > Vernon > Vernon considers ways to compensate for state aid cuts: "on considers ways to compensate for state aid cuts"

VERNON —Town leaders are scrambling to resolve a half-million-dollar shortfall in the town’s current fiscal year budget due to a possible reduction in state aid scheduled to hit municipalities as part of Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s recently proposed budget mitigation plan.Mayor Jason L. McCoy — a Republican who was recently appointed to the governor’s bipartisan committee of municipal leaders to assist bridging the state’s budget gap — told the Town Council the estimated 3 percent reduction in state aid would mean a loss of about $500,000 to Vernon.

“The outlook for Vernon is not bleak,” the mayor said. “But the decreases for Vernon will be tough and will be final.”McCoy said the town has already implemented a non-emergency spending and hiring freeze, and asked town department heads to submit plans to cut current budget spending or increase revenue.

The state’s current spending plan is an estimated $549 million in the red, according to state Comptroller Nancy Wyman. Rell has called the legislature into a special session this month to negotiate an over $300 million deficit mitigation plan that already aims to eliminate about $84 million in municipal aid statewide.Tuesday, council members also briefly debated ways to reduce some items in the current year’s budget, that included reducing the size of the town’s fleet of vehicles, shutting off non-essential street lights, or renegotiating the hourly rate of town attorneys.Republican Councilman Sean O’Shea asked McCoy to explore the sale or lease of town-owned property, despite the recession-plagued market.

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