March 17, 2010

McCoy proposes $78.8 million plan for 2010-11 Journal Inquirer > Towns > Vernon > McCoy proposes $78.8 million plan for 2010-11

Journal Inquirer > Towns > Vernon > McCoy proposes $78.8 million plan for 2010-11:

"McCoy proposes $78.8 million plan for 2010-11"

VERNON — Mayor Jason L. McCoy has proposed a $78.8 million budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year that he said will handle increased labor costs and maintain essential services while leaving room for further reductions in energy expenditures.

In a presentation to the Town Council on Tuesday night, McCoy said the $2.7 million increase, which represents an increase of 3.5 percent over the current year, is driven mainly by a 20 percent rise in health insurance premiums.

Some $2.03 million is for additional health care funds and accounts for 76 percent of the total budget increase over the current year.

Health insurance contract negotiations reduced costs by 10 percent.


He highlighted several other money-saving programs in a statement to the council, including the installation of fiber optic cables between town buildings, a reduction in the school board’s electricity costs by $85,000 thanks to energy-saving software, and a move to automated trash and recycling pickup, which took advantage of public works retirements and will save the town costs on tipping fees.

The generation of revenue also was a key part of the mayor’s statement, and McCoy made it clear that he feels attracting businesses will be the key to Vernon’s future success.

“The major issue that this community is confronted with is that it has had very little economic development. Our grand list has only grown by 0.36 percent,” McCoy said.

“The grand list isn’t going up, so the choice is to either pay higher taxes or be more receptive to commercial development,” he added today.

He highlighted current projects such as a $15 million dollar development for apartments and retail space at Roosevelt Mills, another $15 million building project at the Marriott Springhill Suites hotel on Hartford Turnpike, the potential for an equestrian center, and the expected end of the long-running Home Depot legal battle that would result in a new store at the former SportsPlex location.

Additional revenue would make budgeting town expenses easier, but for now, McCoy warned that further reductions could harm essential services, which, he said, have been unaffected by the current proposal for the next fiscal year.

“We have a decent budget. I wish it could be a flat-line budget, but the increase is almost entirely attributed to health insurance. The other portion is debt service, but people in this town chose to bond debt, so now we have to pay it back,” McCoy said.

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