March 30, 2011

WSJ Local Tax Revenue

State Tax Revenue Snaps Back
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March 27, 2011

Tina Around Town WFSB interviews Mayor McCoy about Vernon's Budget

Click on this link to watch the interview:
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March 23, 2011

The TALK of Connecticut - Audio- Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy tells Brad Davis how he did it!"

The TALK of Connecticut - Audio: "Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy
Mayor McCoy has cut the taxes in Vernon while the town budget continues to rise... He tells Brad how he did it!"

The TALK of Connecticut - Audio - Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy tells Brad Davis how he did it!

The TALK of Connecticut - Audio: "Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy
Mayor McCoy has cut the taxes in Vernon while the town budget continues to rise... He tells Brad how he did it!"

March 18, 2011

Patch Reports Vernon's CT Proposed Budget

Budget Proposal Would Lower Taxes - Vernon, CT Patch
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Vernon's Budget is In the Patch

The Budget is in - Vernon, CT Patch
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The Talk of Connecticut

The TALK of Connecticut
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Vernon CT - Mayor's Budget Proposal Would Mean A Decrease In Taxes -

Vernon Mayor's Budget Proposal Would Mean A Decrease In Taxes - "
Vernon Mayor's Budget Proposal Would Mean A Decrease In Taxes"

By JOSEPH A. O'BRIEN JR., Special to The Courant

VERNON — Residents and businesses would see slightly lower property taxes under the budget proposal that Mayor Jason McCoy presented to the town council Tuesday night.

The $25,571,655 that McCoy is recommending for general government spending in 2011-12 is $98,596, or 0.38 percent, less than the current budget.

When combined with the $47.5 million proposed for education, $6.3 million for debt service, and $55,000 for capital improvements, the total budget would be $79,352,355, an increase of 0.8 percent from the current budget.

"This budget lowers taxes and reduces the tax rate to under 30 mills," McCoy said at the town council meeting.

With the reduction, taxpayers would pay $2,996 instead of the $3,002 they now pay on each $100,000 of assessed property value.

McCoy also said that the sewer budget proposed by the Water Pollution Control Authority for the next fiscal year is $5,543,768, which is $58,775, or 1.06 percent, lower than this year's sewer budget. But what effect that will have on next year's sewer rates won't be known until July when the sewer authority sets its rates, with payments due quarterly.

McCoy said there was no sewer rate increase for the current year and he anticipates no increase for the coming year, but that decision lies with the sewer authority, not the mayor and town council.

The town's grand list of taxable property rose an anemic 0.0085 percent to $1.91 billion during the year that ended on Oct. 1, 2010. The town estimated collecting $53.74 million, 70 percent of its total revenue, from local property owners during the current fiscal year that ends on June 30.

The school board initially requested a budget of $47,632,358, but McCoy reduced that figure by $170,000 before presenting the combined budgets to the council. McCoy's recommended amount for education would be a 0.2 percent decrease from the current year's budgeted amount.

Overall salary and wage expenses for the school district, which account for 63.5 percent of education spending, total $30,250,471 for 2011-12. Employee benefit costs will increase by 0.6 percent to $7.4 million. Wage and benefit costs total $37.6 million, or 79 percent of the total budget.

A main reason the town was able to hold the line on spending was the relatively small 2.9 percent increase in health insurance costs for town, school board and sewer authority workers. In the current budget, health insurance costs are 22 percent higher than in the previous fiscal year. McCoy said that the increase "accounted for nearly all of the increase in spending in the 2010-11 budget."

Town of Vernon - 2011 - 2012 Mayor McCoy's Proposed Budget

Town of Vernon, CT - Budget 2011-2012
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Budget Highlights 2011-2012 Town of Vernon

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Budget 2011-2012 Town Of Vernon

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March 16, 2011

Mayor McCoy’s Budget Address: Budget to Lower Taxes and Reduce the Tax Rate | Mayor Jason L McCoy

Mayor McCoy’s Budget Address: Budget to Lower Taxes and Reduce the Tax Rate Mayor Jason L McCoy

Mayor McCoy today delivered his budget address to the Vernon Town Council. Mayor McCoy’s recommendations highlighted proposals that would lower taxes and reduce the tax rate to under 30 mills. The text of Mayor McCoy’s budget address is below:

“Good Evening!

I want to thank you for allowing me to serve as your Mayor for the past four years!

This evening, it is my privilege to provide you with some of the highlights of the 2011-2012 proposed Town of Vernon budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

As your Mayor I believe that government has a responsibility to provide solid fiscal budgeting which considers protections in the areas of public health, public safety and public education.

I believe that we must be able to afford to live in Town, and as a result, the government must be accountable to our citizens for its spending. As your Mayor it is that very responsibility and accountability that will keep our Town moving forward.

We must control taxes and strive to have the best schools and the safest streets.

We must support sensible environmental policies to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel.

As Mayor, I have found that good environmental policy supports good fiscal policy as well.

As Mayor, I have created a sensible budget and developed new programs to bring in additional revenue to the Town.

I want to talk about Economic Development in a minute, but first, let me tell you a story.

Last week, my son Patrick came home and said:

‘Dad, I took my CMTs today and one of the questions was to be answered in an essay format. The question said that we were supposed to write a letter to the Mayor recommending what he should support for development on a large piece of land and why.’

Patrick tells me:

‘We were given three choices: an amusement park, an athletic field, or a teen center’

So Patrick tells me what he wrote.

‘Dear Dad:

The ideal choice for the property is an amusement park. By supporting the amusement park, you will increase or expand the tax base in real estate, expand the personal property tax base, and increase job opportunities for people in the area. As a result, you will expand the tax base, which will increase tax revenue to the town.

With this choice, you will accomplish three things: Everybody’s property taxes will be lowered, the town can repair and re-develop an athletic field, and the town can upgrade the existing teen center.’

He also pointed out that we might pass our budget at referendum – the essay topic was true, but the rest is an illustrative just in case someone assumes that there is a developer with an amusement park coming to town – really-

I would now like to talk to you about economic development.

We have come to a point where our municipal service costs are out growing our tax base.

As a result of that determination this next budget will commit resources to the expansion of the tax base by increasing the investment in economic development. This is a necessity and we have an economic development plan that needs to be fully implemented.

These resources are necessary for the implementation, which will increase jobs and job opportunities in the area, as well as expand the tax base and repopulate abandoned store fronts and businesses.

In this budget, I have balanced what we want and need with what we can afford.

Despite the challenges inherent during a slow economic period, I want to ensure that Vernon remains stable and affordable to its taxpayers and residents.

This budget does not call for the reduction of any services provided to our residents.

My recommendation is a responsible budget, accountable for all costs and services, as well as taking the responsibility to meet these difficult times with a historically low spending increase.

The budget that I am proposing this year increases spending by 0.80 percent, in-other-words, just more than three quarters of one percent.

This budget lowers taxes and reduces the tax rate to under 30 mills (from 30.02 to 29.96 mills).

In regards to the sewer budget and sewer rates, the current budget is $5,602,523.00. The proposed budget is $5,543,768.00, resulting in a reduction of $58,775.00 or -1.06%

The WPCA reviews and sets the rate in July and the first quarterly billing of the fiscal year is in October. It is done this way so that all revenue projections can be based on actual billing amounts from the current fiscal year as well as any income derived from interest income, septic disposal fees, transported waste, and delinquent interest. Right now, there has been no discussion of a rate reduction.

There was no increase in the rate last year (for the current year) and I would anticipate no increase in the rate for next year, but that will be a decision for the Authority later this year.

Now, I would like to talk to you about how we got to this point.

To achieve savings we have done a number of things:

We have invested heavily in technical infrastructure to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of services.

We have moved our bridge projects ahead; now many of our bridges are completed. Of the final three, West Main Street is in Design Phase, Talcottville Bridge is ready for Design and Phoenix Street is ready for construction. I would like to note that each time we finish a bridge project it lowers future costs.

We have established policies that support our environment, reduce fuel usage which in turn works to reduce our nation’s reliance on foreign fuel, while lowering spending on energy.

We have consolidated costs throughout government, working hand in hand with our Board of Education, ferreting out soft spending figures from real figures.

Over the past three years of my administration, the focus has been on how to address our largest fixed cost, which is labor, keeping in mind the state and national economy as well.

Over the last three years, we were able to successfully negotiate reasonable labor contracts with an eye on not just the upcoming fiscal year, but also many fiscal years down the road.

We have implemented pension reform, wage controls and health insurance caps.

We have held the line on contractual wages over the past three years and will continue to do so in this fiscal year.

Negotiations are difficult, but, we are faced with an economy that cannot support the contracts of the past.

Now, I would just like to touch upon a few budgetary highlights.

This year, I have been able to negotiate health insurance for the Town of Vernon which includes the School Department and the Sewer Department at a mere 2.9 percent increase which is equal to $ 290,140.76. This is in stark contrast to the Town’s 2010-2011 fiscal years’ health insurance increase of 22 percent which accounted for nearly all of the increase in spending in the 2010-2011 Budget.

This year I have been able to negotiate the Property and Casualty insurance rates and that rate has decreased for a total savings of $32,000.00 this year.

Recently Vernon responded to the emergency involving eminent roof collapses which cost our taxpayers over $300,000.00; Good thing we have that insurance to — The Travelers has thus far covered $100,000.00 of that expense and we continue to pursue reimbursement for the remaining difference from The Travelers.

In this budget with those savings from Property and Casualty I am proposing that we increase our reserves in our Worker’s Compensation fund. I firmly believe this is necessary because we are self-insured and it is crucial that the reserves are fully funded.

In the last three budgets the Town of Vernon, including the Education Department and Sewer Department, has funded the pension at an appropriate level. In keeping with good fiscal management, this budget funds the pension at those levels to keep our pension on track with the appropriate amortization schedules.

This has been a conscious effort since I was elected to avoid future swings in funding due to short falls. Why? It is being done to protect the taxpayers from poor practices that have resulted in the State and Federal government pensions having bills due at a time when there is no money available to pay them.

In my first term, I asked that the Town Council pass an ordinance that would establish an Energy Improvement District (EID) in Vernon. This ordinance would allow the Town to produce green energy, including an investment in fuel cells to lower our operating expenses and help the environment.

Now in my second term, the Ordinance was passed and now the hard work has begun, starting with the recent appointment of an EID Board of Directors to move the project forward and investigate all of the options for energy savings and put into place the necessary funding.

This initiative provides an option to our local business community to reduce their energy costs as well, making Vernon more attractive to new business and industry, re-development and most importantly, it works to retain existing employers.

Infrastructure improvements have been a standing priority for my administration. An appropriation of $800,000.00, realized from cost savings in the School Department and Police Department Budgets, were appropriated for road improvements in Vernon along with $500,000.00 of CDBG funds for road improvements in the Rockville section of Vernon. Those funds are being administered in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, meaning the past fiscal year we are finishing now.

To keep my promise during that $800,000 dollar road improvement appropriation public hearing, in this upcoming fiscal year, I am proposing in the 2011-2012 capital improvements plan to designate $131,000.00 of town aid for roads funds and $242,000.00 of LOCIP funds for road improvement projects in the Vernon section of town; as well as $ 450,000.00 designated from CDBG funds for road improvement in the Rockville section of town.

Further, we will complete Hatch hill road repairs in 2011-2012 totaling $954,000.00 from the 2004-2005 bond. Lastly, the West Main Street Bridge will be funded with 80% State, 20% Local Funding; the Local match equaling $34,000.00.

Now, I would like to talk to you briefly about debt service.

This year is the final conversion of the outstanding notes to bonds for the 2004-2005 School and Road Bond authorization. $7,000,000.00 will be added to the total bonding debt, which will increase the debt service payments by $665,000.00 in the 2011-2012 budget year.

This budget supports an investment in Education by maintaining our small class size, supporting curriculum initiatives, supporting sports and extracurricular activities for students and supporting the superintendent’s initiative for student success in grade nine, especially.

Public Safety is fully funded. There are no budgetary reductions that will affect public safety services.

This past fiscal year, we saw a 16% decrease in crime against property.

The head count at the Police Department remains at 49 with 51 authorized and funded, sworn-in Town of Vernon Police department employees, with overtime fully funded.

In 2011 the police vehicle fleet was funded. It is now fully up-to-date and replacements are on track, allowing officers to be able to respond quickly and safely.

Our Environment is protected and we remain committed to our recycling and trash initiatives. Both have been very successful and continue to pay dividends.

We will continue to support the trash and recycling initiatives started in the 2010-2011 Fiscal year.

Since this programs implementation, we have significantly reduced our tipping and hauling fees, and we have increased our revenue from recycling.

We have seen our recycling increase by approximately 24% which has reduced Vernon’s trash going into landfills by over 8%.

This budget includes an appropriation of funds for the trash and recycling initiative to be expanded town-wide, which is certainly a better service to our residents with a large fiscal savings.

In regards to other important services, our Animal Control Department now services multiple towns in our region and is partially funded by those same municipalities.

The Town’s 311 City Alert System has received over 1800 calls for service and information. The software system is called q-send. Folks should know they can register requests and complaints, at the Vernon web site and that each inquiry is directed by the system to the appropriate department and a return email or call is generated back to the person requesting the information.

A request ticket number for your reference is given. You can ask for a reference number when you call for a service or with a complaint as well, so don’t forget to ask for your reference number.

Through the Town of Vernon’s website you can: Sign up for Parks and Recreation Programs, pay your tax bill, pay for a recreation program, fill out and file your personal property tax listings with the Assessor, or view your property card – All with just a click of your mouse.

This budget will be on-line on the Town of Vernon website and available for you at the Town Clerk’s Office or the Rockville Public Library.

I encourage our citizens and taxpayers to call me or any department head and to ask questions about this budget or a departmental section of the budget.

I encourage our citizens and taxpayers to attend one or more of the upcoming public hearings on this proposed budget during which you will have an opportunity to be heard regarding appropriations for the ensuing fiscal year.

I will be happy to speak to members of the press about this budget or the departmental sections of the budget.

If you have any questions or comments about the proposed budget, you may call or email me directly.

In summary, this budget balances needs, real estate property values and affordability.

I ask the Town Council and the citizens and taxpayers of Vernon to please support this budget.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Mayor.”

Facebook: Mayor McCoy

Twitter: Mayor McCoy

March 8, 2011

Potholes Make This An Awful Year for Drivers and the State - New Haven Advocate

Potholes Make This An Awful Year for Drivers and the State - New Haven Advocate: "Potholes Make This An Awful Year for Drivers and the State"

The third cold-weather method is called asphalt recycling. Old asphalt that's scraped up during summertime road repaving projects is stockpiled, then reheated to about 250 degrees in a special recycling machine, and laid down to cover a pothole. Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy says the asphalt recycler his town bought for about $56,000 works “much better” than simple cold patch.