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On Tuesday, you, the voters of Madison, will be asked to decide on the proposed town budget. I respectfully request that you and all your friends and neighbors get out and vote.
As you may know, this particular budget has been difficult. We started with a $1.5 million increase in expenditures in the form of a health insurance premium increase. With no way to positively impact revenues in the short term, I proposed to increase the anticipated tax collection rate, anticipate returns from this year’s budget and cut some spending items to hold down the Mill Rate Increase.
Then, recognizing a billion dollar deficit, the State Legislature decided to close the gap by taking away municipal aid. They proposed a cut to our Educational Cost Sharing Funds of about $900,000. The Governor looked at the ongoing deficit and proposed slashing all $1,570,000 of aid. At that point, I ordered a freeze on all non-essential spending to save cash going forward, and asked all departments to cut next year’s budget requests by 5%, not including payroll and contractual obligations.
The Boards of Finance, Selectmen and Education have met frequently since then to make adjustments and come up with a plan to deal with the anticipated, but as yet unknown, cuts to our revenues.
We are still unsure about the magnitude of the state’s proposed cut to our total municipal aid, which could be at least $700,000 to as much as $1.3 million. Cuts have been made in all departments, including the school department, in order to lessen the impact on our taxpayers. The Board of Finance will finalize everything after the referendum and are considering using $750,000 from our Fund Balance, as well as adjusting our tax collection rate. The end result could be an increase in the Budget of approximately 2.5% and a projected Mill Rate above 26.00 (it is now 25.76). Given all that we’ve been through to get here, I think it’s a miracle that we have been able to keep it that low. Please go to the polls and let us know what you think.
Tom BanischFirst Selectman