Op-Ed: Calling for a Fresh Look at Municipal Spending

The foremost issue on most voters’ minds is the financial condition of New Canaan. Property owners feel the pinch of persistent tax increases in the face of lowered property values.

Kit Devereaux. Credit: Shekaiba Bennett

With a nod to zero-based budgeting, let’s start by looking at our budgets item by item. In our current system, department managers defend their proposed percentage increases, rather than their proposed overall budgets. Let’s go back to the beginning and look at every item that comprises those budgets.

However, the difficulties in obtaining money for legitimate needs, mid-budget cycle, is so forbidding that department managers must plan over-generously in order to protect against shortfalls. Let’s make mid-year requests less unfriendly and more streamlined. Let’s help budget managers to develop budgets that mirror actual current needs.

Next, let’s get down to the business of eliminating the duplication of services in our Board of Education and our Town Government, and let’s do it in a way that doesn’t make our educators feel threatened. Do we really need two finance departments? Can they be combined in a way that is fair to both?

I think so.

Let’s increase our grant writing. Let’s look at increasing our user fees. And let’s start requiring maintenance endowments on future private/public partnerships. Too often what seems like a generous gift can, over time, become an albatross of expenses.

Let’s do what it takes to let our residents know that the town is spending tax dollars wisely and frugally and that any increase is truly justified and unavoidable.

Kit Devereaux

Democratic Candidate for First Selectman

3 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Calling for a Fresh Look at Municipal Spending

  1. Kit maybe on to something _- I have called on the town leaders for 3 yrs to increase the building permit fee’s — it unlike our taxes have
    not gone up for decades — and also how a person can get a permit to build a house for 1.5 million and then sell it for 6.5 million —
    does anyone think that the developers will not pay the increase
    that they will stop building in NC — both the TC and BOF agree with me and have talked about it — but still no increase

  2. Kit is definitely onto something! Budgets should to be sensible, but should not ignore important needs of all town citizens from school children to seniors and everyone in between.

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