Press release from the First Selectman, Peter Tesei, Jan 29th 6:00pm
On Monday night Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei unveiled details of his recommended budget for fiscal year 2018-2019.
The combined budget for Town Services, the Board of Education, fixed charges and the Capital Improvement Projects totals $426,667,729.
In making his annual budget presentation to the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) Budget Committee at Greenwich Town Hall on Monday evening, Mr. Tesei said that the $426,667,729 fiscal plan represents an overall 1.58 % increase in spending from the current 2017-2018 budget of $420,015,556.
The FY18-19 recommended budget reflects a mill rate increase of 0.32%, the lowest increase to the mill rate in the past 20 years.
“This budget maintains the uniform policy that I have followed during the previous 10 budgets I have presented – that despite economic challenges, we have balanced the financial needs of the Town to the needs of our residents who desire a quality public education and essential public services that enhance the value of their homes and businesses,” Tesei said.
The budget plan reflects actual operating costs increasing by 0.98% which include accounting changes that transfer private school busing costs from fixed Town charges to the Board of Education operating costs. The same transfer was applied for IT expenses provided by the Town to the Board of Education.
Other factors contributing to holding the line on budget costs are a 2.2% decrease in health care costs with the transitioning of all bargaining units to the State Partnership Plan, and a 3.1 % decrease in the Town’s contribution to the Pension Fund.
Mr. Tesei’s budget recommendation include several efficiencies that will optimize Town resources. Those initiatives include continued funding for the Town-wide process improvement initiative – Lean Six Sigma. With the Conservation Director’s retirement on March 1, this budget creates a Director of Environmental Affairs who will oversee both the Conservation and Inland Wetland and Watercourses Agency staff and operations, thus eliminating the two director positions and reallocating funds accordingly.
This consolidation will create a synergy between the two departments that are focused on advocating for and protecting our environment.
Among the community partnerships included in this budget recommendation, is a $30,000 allocation for continuing the ‘Think Greenwich’ marketing and branding initiative with the First Selectman’s Economic Advisory Committee. The Town also will continue its commitment to the YWCA with an additional $60,000 in funding for Domestic Abuse Prevention programming and education in Greenwich Public Schools.
The recommended Capital Improvement Program includes $48.2 million in proposals to continue to reinvest in the Town’s infrastructure for critical public safety projects and for maintaining the excellent school system, while addressing future needs.
Among the new projects, are:
• Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink Facility Evaluation Study. This study is the first step in developing the plans for the design and construction of a new ice rink, as shown in the 15-Year Plan.
• Dredge Greenwich Point Harbor Channel. This request provides the necessary funding for study, permitting, and analysis to allow for the dredging of the harbor for the first time in 20 years.
• Athletic Fields. The school district is in need of playing fields for all levels of athletics. This request of $2,340,000 includes $300,000 to undertake a feasibility of engineered natural grass playing fields (previously proposed for the study of synthetic turf). The remaining $2,040,000 will be used to refurbish the carpets on fields 6 and 7 at Greenwich High School, which have reached the end
of their expected useful life.
The fields must be certified each year and there are concerns that the fields may not pass safety certification in future years. This decision was made with the support of both the Greenwich Public Schools Athletic Department and Schools Superintendent, and the Parks and Recreation Director.
Attached, please find First Selectman Tesei’s full letter of transmittal to the BET Budget Committee as well a summary of the departmental budgets.
The BET Budget Committee will begin its review of the budget plan at 9 a.m. Tuesday, January 30, 2018 in the Town Hall Meeting Room.
More budget documents, including the draft Capital Improvement Program proposal and Operations Plans for Fiscal 2018-2019, can found at: