Workshop to address long range budget plans

By SHERIDAN ROY

STAFF WRITER

Southington leaders are getting a head-start on budget discussions, examining what Southington has done right in the past, what could be done better, and how elected officials can best accommodate the taxpayers.

A Board of Finance budget workshop has been scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m., in the finance department conference room on the second floor of the Town Hall.

“This will be a workshop focusing on the process used for the budget,” said BOF chair John Leary (R). “We have some new members on the board, and we want to look at the process again. What we’re looking at is long-term, and is not specific to any numbers.”

Leary said officials will be considering questions such as what makes a fiscal year “good” or “bad,” and what types of things should or should not be funded.

“When can we allow a little more spending? When should we tighten up? What factors would drive those decisions?” said Leary. “It’s all of that structural stuff behind the budget.”

The BOF chair also said the board would discuss how to best manage the mill rate—not just for next year—but for multiple years down the road.

“Should we have years where we have a zero mill rating increase, and then a year later have a much larger increase?” he asked. “Or, should we always have a minimum increase and use that to build on. We want to focus on residents, businesses, or anybody trying to plan ahead. If we have a more controlled tax increase, then in years where something changes with the state, we have a little more to take from.”

Officials will focus on overall budgeting questions and examine the roll of the government. More workshops will be announced in the coming months. Budget workshops typically occur during February and March.

“This isn’t necessarily to talk about this budget cycle,” said Town Manager Mark Sciota. “It’s to look at how we’re going to handle multiple years of budgets.”

Town Council chair Chris Palmieri (D) said the Nov. 28 workshop is a “great initiative, and hopefully we’ll make some headway with that.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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