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Capeci Presents Proposed Town Budget With 2.8 Percent Increase



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First Selectman Jeff Capeci presented his first budget as the town’s chief elected officer, with a proposed spending increase of $1,330,526 or 2.8%.

The overall budget figure is $48,856,666, compared to the 2023-24 budget of $47,526,140.

Capeci said that before his review, the budgets he received from department heads would have been a 6.25% spending increase, “which was a bit high to my regards.” Several departments such as the police department were asking for additional employees.

“I’ve only been here a few months,” said Capeci. “I’m not comfortable burdening the taxpayers with additional employees until I really get a sense of the urgency and need for them.”

Notable changes Capeci said he made to the budget were to reduce police overtime, “which seemed a bit high,” and a bump up for the library, which was facing a “fiscal cliff” after their budget was cut last year. The library used its fund balance to supplement its spending last year.

Tim Whelan, representing the fire companies, gave a short presentation on the fire budget where he noted, “our needs have gone through the roof.”

Certifying a new member used to cost the fire companies $400. It now costs upwards of $1,400, according to Whelan.

“Everything’s gone up big-time,” said Whelan. “Fire truck maintenance, training, equipment, apparatus, everything.”

Jay Nesveski of Botsford Fire Rescue said new state mandates require that fire gear contaminated by smoke be professionally cleaned because it could be carcinogenic.

The 2024-25 proposed fire budget is $1,566,963, a $112,384 or 7.73% increase over the 2023-24 budget of $1,454,674. The budget increase is being driven by “an increase in the length of service awards program contribution and increases in energy accounts," he said.

The fire companies’ full- and part-time positions are showing an overall 2.93% increase over last year’s budget. The length of service contribution is increasing from $205,000 to $232,000. Electricity shows a 27.27% increase, going from $55,000 in 2023-24 to $70,000 in 2024-25.

Also presenting was Parks & Recreation, which has an increase in its proposed budget of $164,176 or 6.15%, going from $2,669,754 in 2023-24 to $2,833,930 in 2024-25. The increase was largely driven by an increase in wages and benefits.

Seasonal wages went up from $281,531 in 2023-24 to $327,990 in 2024-25, a $46,459 or 16.5% increase. Much of this was driven by increases in the minimum wage, which increased to $15 in 2023 and will increase to $15.69 in 2024.

The capital line item went from $25,000 in 2023-24 to $44,000 in 2024-25, a $9,000 or 25.71% increase. Among capital items in the 2024-25 budget are $5,000 for cut-off saws, weed eaters and back pack blowers, $25,000 for a replacement pool vacuum, and $14,000 for a drum mulch head for the mini excavator.

The Board of Education also began its own review of the proposed 2024-25 school budget (see separate story).

The selectmen will continue their department by department review before making any changes they see fit and sending them to the Board of Finance in February. The Board of Finance will in turn review both the municipal and school budgets, potentially make cuts and send the combined budget proposal to the Legislative Council for final review and cuts in March.

The finalized budget will then go before voters the fourth Tuesday in April. Watch for continuing coverage in The Newtown Bee.


Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at jim@thebee.com.

First Selectman Jeff Capeci has presented his first budget as the town’s chief elected officer.
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