Thursday, May 16, 2013

Run Down on Middletown's Common Council Budget Vote

Taxes go up & and Democrats vote to give Mayor Drew  a Raise. The mayor's salary of just over $78,000 will get a raise of $6,667 annually.

At tonight's Special Common Council meeting the budget for the City for fiscal year 2013-2014 was passed which increases the mill rate from 26.9 mills to 27.7 mills.  The final budget approved was reduction of 0.1 mills from the Mayor's proposed budget and was approved by a vote of 6 to 5.  The nay votes came from the four Republican Council members (Philip Pessina,  Joseph Bibisi, Deborah Kleckowski, Linda Salafia) and Democrat Todd Berch.  The approved budget changes from the Mayor's budget were submitted by most of the Democratic caucus with the exception of Councilwoman Mary Bartolotta and Councilman Todd Berch.  Councilman Grady Faulkner was a signatory of the amendment but was absent from the meeting.

A summary of the changes to the Mayor's budget included a raise for the Mayor; a shift of the proposed position of grant writer to a contractural services consultant; a small decrease in the Treasurer's salary; a reduction in the line item for electricity; the funding for the second Deputy City Attorney was removed; court costs were reduced; an increase in the stipend for the Council; increase in funding for parttime Library salaries; conferences in Finance increased; added position for Manager of Senior Center; funding for the   Economic Specialist put back in until his expected retirement; addition to professional development in Personnel for training; funding for Assistant Building Official; funding for hepatitis shots for Emergency Mgt; increase for holiday tree lighting; additional for tree services in public works; increase in tree planting and replacement, urban forestry; funds for the Old Burying Grounds; professional memberships were reduced; funds were moved around for youth services work student work programs from the Chamber of Commerce back to the City's budget; reductions were made to the health insurance benefit funds, property casualty funds, workers compensation funds; and a reduction to the line item for streetlights to reflect a change in how the street lights are acquired and maintained. 

For the education portion of the budget:  this year the BOE is returning to the General Fund $224,000; of this $124,000 is being returned to the BOE.  The Mayor's proposed budget had allocated to the BOE $75,550,000, the adopted budget reduced that amount by $1,168,086.  Per the following statement read by the submitting parties:

Reason:  It has come to the City's attention that the Board of Education's (BOE) Educational Alliance Grant will increase by the amount shown.  These funds will not be credited to the City's General Fund but go directly to the BOE.  This reduction and a corresponding reduction in the revenue line (see Revenues) will properly account for the new funding increase.  Should the amount increase when the legislature passes its budget later this year the corresponding amount will also to to the BOE.  The BOE is still receiving $3,920,639 between the City's allocation and Alliance Grant.  The City's portion is $1,955,914 which is an increase over last year's allocation of $1.9 million."

On the revenue side of the budget, revenue was reduced by the amount of the Alliance Grant that will be going directly to the BOE; Park and Recreation fees for activities and sports will be increased; the amount expected to be realized from building permit fees was increased; the amount expected to be realized from police private duty was increases and the contribution from the General Fund was increased by the contribution from the return of funds by the BOE.

The budgets for the Middletown Fire District, Sanitation Collection District, Water Pollution Control Authority Budget for the Water Department and the Special Business District all passed on votes of 11 to 0.

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