FY 2018 Budget

Recent Articles

‘I Am Righteously Indignant’: Nowacki Pursues Referendum Vote on Adopted Budget

New Canaan resident Michael Nowacki said on Monday that he has obtained the signatures necessary to file a formal Notice of intention to petition with the Town Clerk, as he pursues a referendum on the fiscal year 2018 budget, unanimously approved two weeks ago. The signatures themselves—Nowacki said he has 60 total, 10 more than are required for the first step in forcing a referendum vote, as per Section 4 of the Town Charter (see page 11 here)—have yet to be confirmed by the Town Clerk, he said. “I am righteously indignant on being ignored,” Nowacki said when asked for his reasons for pursuing a referendum vote on next year’s spending plan. Nowacki addressed the town funding bodies multiple times during public hearings on the budget through February and March. Ultimately, the town adopted an operating budget of $148,136,106 for fiscal year 2018, an overall 2.6 percent year-over-year increase (including a 1.6 percent rise for the budget’s major driver, the Board of Education). Continue Reading →

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Officials: Pushback from Neighbors on Stop Signs Planned for Elm and Weed Streets

A plan to install stop signs for Weed Street motorists approaching the intersection at Elm is meeting with resistance from some neighborhood residents, officials said last week. Designed to make it safe for pedestrians using soon-to-be-striped crosswalks that will connect to a new sidewalk running up the west side of Weed Street to Irwin Park, the stop signs could back up traffic, neighbors fear, according to Tiger Mann, director of the Department of Public Works. “The traffic would back up all the way back to Irwin, and then gum up that intersection, especially since there is another stop sign at Frogtown Road intersection,” Mann told members of the Town Council at their March 22 meeting, held at Town Hall. “So to try and stop twice in a small span of time would affect traffic flow.”

The comments came during a discussion of the DPW’s funding request for sidewalk installations and improvements for next fiscal year. The Board of Finance approved $300,000 in spending for sidewalks in fiscal year 2018, town documents show (see page 50 here). Continue Reading →

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New Canaan Treasurer: Former Municipal Employees Retained ‘Login Access’ To Town Bank Accounts

A number of town workers retained login access to town bank accounts even after their employment with the municipality had ended, New Canaan’s treasurer said Wednesday night. In working to ensure that town bank accounts are properly secured, Treasurer Andrew Brooks phoned banks to understand “who are the authorized approvers to move money from those accounts” and found that “a number of former employees, some of whom were very high up in the food chain of the town,” had not been moved from the accounts, he said during a regular meeting of New Canaan’s legislative body. “So I rectified the issue and got those former employees … removed from having any access potentially to those accounts and have their names scrubbed from the account, and I just did that exercise today,” Brooks told members of the Town Council during the group’s meeting, held at Town Hall. The extent of the problem is unknown to Brooks—there are town bank accounts to which he has no access, he said. Continue Reading →

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‘We Will Have To Make Some Hard Decisions’: District Officials Address $1 Million Reduction to Budget Request

The Board of Education in proposing its original 2.76 percent operating budget increase already had factored in year-over-year reductions in spending on employee benefits, contracted services and supplies, officials said last week. Now that the district is faced with, at most, a 1.6 percent operating increase for next year—following a $1 million reduction to its $88.6 million proposal by the Board of Finance—the schools will “have to look at everything,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi told members of the Town Council at their March 15 regular meeting. Since the superintendent’s own original proposed budget increase, the school board went “through the process initially of reducing and making some tough choices about initiatives and programs coming in, so we have to get back to the table and really take a hard look at everything that we have and make some decisions.”

“We will continue to keep an eye on insurance as best we can, but ultimately I will be sitting with the administrative team, we will look at everything with the Board of Education and share with them some options and decisions. It is premature to say specifically ‘this program’ and that program’ but it is going to be our responsibility is to look at it.”

The comments come as the district looks at a $1.38 million increase to its budget—and it may be less, as the Town Council has the ability to reduce it further (though not to add to it)—while it’s contractually required to pay $1.76 million more to employees (mostly teachers). Councilman John Engel asked Luizzi at the meeting: “Where is this cut going to come from?”

“Do you think that it’s fair to say electives are going to be the first things to look at? Continue Reading →

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‘It’s Nice To See Kids Maintaining Their Childhood’: Saxe Middle School Principal Defends $200,000 Request for New Playground Equipment

When playground equipment was purchased a dozen years ago for Saxe Middle School with about $125,000 in privately raised funds, many in town debated whether the gear would be used by the students there at all, Principal Greg Macedo said Wednesday night. Yet today, it sees regular use not only among fifth- and sixth-graders, according to Macedo, but also from seventh- and eighth-graders. That’s partly for reasons of status—the older kids like to run out and get on the playground equipment first—and partly because students rotate from there during outdoor recess to a playing field and on to a game of tag, Macedo told members of the Town Council at their regular meeting. “Remember now we are talking about middle-schoolers, so ‘free play’ in their mind is socialization—before maybe physical education, or even recreation,” Macedo said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “So oftentimes you will see students climb the equipment and then want to stay there to socialize.”

The comments came during an opening round of budget discussions between the Board of Education and Town Council, the elected body that has final say over next fiscal year’s municipal spending plan. Continue Reading →

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