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First Selectman's Blog

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Nov 23

November 2016

Posted on November 23, 2016 at 2:29 PM by Rita Boland

From the First Selectman’s Desk

We are heading into budget season, and I thought I might give you some insight into our thinking as we get ready to create this very important document.  Last year was very difficult, given cuts in state aid and our huge health insurance increase, and while the state’s situation has only gotten worse, we have assimilated the insurance costs into our existing budget and are optimistic that we will not have that kind of surprise again this year.

After a year on the job, I can tell you that I’ve learned a lot about things we can do to positively affect our revenues and expenses, and I am still committed to keeping taxes as low as possible while maintaining services.  We’ve taken several steps to positively impact our revenues during this past year.  Our permitting and licensing fees for the Building Department, Health Department and Fire Marshall were all updated by ordinance to bring them in line with (although still lower than) other towns.  We’ll be tracking those revenue increases closely to see what projected impact they will have on next year’s budget.  Since hiring our new Health Director, we are rebuilding the Health Department to reflect an update in programming and enforcement that goes back almost forty years.  That means we will need to add personnel to administer and enforce regulations.  Our first addition is a volunteer from town with experience as a Nurse and a desire to get involved with the department.  She will work as an intern in that department, and will hopefully be one of several.  

Cutting costs will be a major focus going forward as it has been throughout the past year. Madison doesn’t have a purchasing agent, so we have no centralized system for comparison shopping.  Being notoriously stingy, I have been working with departments to “shop around” and get quotes before buying. We have already seen savings over the state bid pricing with the program our Police Chief instituted for purchasing police cars, but we will need to expand this effort going forward, as some of our larger purchases offer us the opportunity to save money relative to our budgeted projected costs.  If there are any retired purchasing agents in town who would like to work with me on this, I welcome your help.  

Innovation will be a key to our success heading into the new fiscal year.  I have been fortunate to have many people from town share their ideas with me over the past 12 months, and fortunate to have a great staff in town government who have put up with my relentless questioning of everything.  

Tom Banisch
First Selectman

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