The 1.9% increase put forward by the First Selectman’s office will move forward with only a $7,000 reduction following Monday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting at the Newtown Municipal Center.
First Selectman Pat Llodra had praised the budget upon its introduction in January as an “extraordinary effort” on the part of departments across Newtown. While the budget includes a 1.7% increase in wages, most departments remain stable, according to the publicly available budget overview on the town’s web site.
“If it weren't for the 1.7% general wage increase, which was really modest -- and I'd like to provide much more than that -- you would really see no increase,” Llodra said when the budget was introduced, bearing a $38,522,199 price tag, or an increase of $731,155.
That number dropped to $38,515,199 on Wednesday. The Board of Selectmen voted two-to-one to reduce the Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers' subsidy in the 2013-14 budget by $7,000.
Llodra told Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers chair James Juliano communications on their budget hadn't been clear. Selectmen said they didn't see an understanding of revenue and expenses in the budget -- Selectman Will Rodgers said he'd asked for "fuller disclosure and fuller accounting procedures."
"We want to be good partners, but we feel compelled to justify every expense in our budget," Llodra said. "Once we pass this out, it's our budget. And we have to be able to speak to it."
Juliano said it was hard to predict expenses at the space, described as the "first-best second-run movie house in New England."
"If something occurs, we have to pay for it," he said. "What are we going to do, close the doors down? It's a 1930s building."
Finance director Robert Tait told Patch the $7,000 cut was unlikely to affect Edmond Town Hall, which plans to upgrade the 35mm projectors in its theatre to DVD/BluRay over the course of 2013. Selectmen suggested Edmond Town Hall managers seek accounting help and try again.
On Monday, the board also approved capital projects for Parks & Recreation, including improvements at Treadwell Park. Capital projects across the town make up a sizeable portion of the budget, which will go before the Board of Finance next, then the Legislative Council. The Board of Selectman can submit the budget to the finance board no later than February 14, per charter, according to the town's web site.