Alarming Facts Regarding The Proposed Borough Budget
To the Editor
On May 14, 2019, at 7:30 pm, at the Edmond Town Hall, Borough property owners and/electors will be asked to vote on the proposed budget for the 2019/20 ﬁscal year. Key aspects of the budget are:
— 2017/18 actual spend: $190,184;
— 2018/19 forecasted spend: $229,330 or 20.6 percent over prior year;
— 2019/20 proposed spend: $251,530 or 9.7 percent over current year.
A line item review of the proposed budget reveals alarming facts: a request for a 32 percent increase in employee salaries, another $25,000 in legal fees, $8,500 for consulting/contingencies, as well as $20,000 for the first stage of a proposed $180,000 sidewalk on Sugar Street. It should be noted that the Town Land Use Department has verified that this sidewalk project is not on any planning list for execution in the foreseeable future.
In addition, the budget notice does not reveal the Borough cash balance increase over the corresponding period:
— 6/30/2017: $469,570;
— 6/30/2018: $551,150 for a 18.2 percent increase;
— 3/31/2019: $691,160 for an additional 24.5 percent increase or three times the current spend rate.
In short, we are presented with budget increases that exceed any put forth by our town or our state while borough officials simultaneously accumulated cash balances at an accelerating pace over the last three years.
A credible position could be that this budget request should be $0 while working down the cash balance that has no legal carryover validity under Chapter 108 of the General Statues as thoughtfully presented by Don Mitchell last year and again this year in Letters to the Editor [The Newtown Bee, April 26, 2019]. A line item analysis can only support a budget number between the $0 floor and a maximum of $193,000, with reductions coming primarily from the line items identified above.
It is important to note that your vote is an “authorization to spend” up to the proposed amount... in this case up to $251,530, close to a ten percent increase. It is not a vote to opine on revenues and mil rates. Do not be misled by mil rate arguments.
While this budget may seem somewhat insignificant, it is an expense shared by just 700 households of the 10,000 households in Newtown... and that is accretive to our other local, state, and federal tax obligations.
The Board of Burgesses, under the leadership of its newly elected Warden, Jay Maher, will hopefully focus on engaging fellow residents to resolve the many unaddressed ﬁscal and governance issues raised over the last several years.
Very Truly Yours,
35 Queen Street, Newtown May 7, 2019
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