Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tom Ruocco on the 09/10 town budget and Thursday's public hearing at 7pm

A guest post by Councilman Tom Ruocco:

The second public hearing on the town budget is scheduled for April 2nd, at 7:00pm at Town Hall. All citizens interested in voicing your opinion on the budget are encouraged to attend. Your input is invaluable in helping us to settle on a budget we can all live with.

Revenue losses at the state level is pressuring the state to cut back on aid to towns, and we expect the growing state budget will force further cutbacks in state aid. We are bracing for bad news. We could see revenue losses of another 1 million dollars. That puts a lot of potential pressure on taxpayers to fill the void.

To make matters even more difficult for homeowners, is that many people experienced an increase in property values during the re-valuation this year. Those higher values result in higher assessments, and a bigger tax bill. That could mean that we will not only pay higher taxes to cover revenue losses, but will get hit again with a tax on the increase in your property values.

Even the current fiscal year is posing some trouble. There is currently a projected revenue shortfall of $800,000. To mitigate a deficit, the Town Manager has frozen some spending, and halted some capital projects from the Capital Non-Recurring account (CNR). Ironically, I offered an Amendment to the capital budget last year that would have reduced the costs by about $600,000. Another counter-proposal to the operating budget would have saved $450,000. Combined, that's a total of about $1,000,000 in reductions, which I believe would have made our current situation a little easier.

We need to be forward thinking. We can't treat each budget year as an isolated event. Our situation did not happen overnight. It is the culmination of events and decisions that took place over time, and at all levels of government. The Council did not rein in spending early enough; despite my efforts to do so. Now is the best time to think long term, and consider how our budget will effect us in future years.

By the time the budget process is over, I assure you that I will have made another conscientious effort to reduce costs and alleviate your tax burden. We still have a lot of work to do; and I hope you will make the effort to attend the remaining meetings and hearings. The schedule is as follows (subject to change). Also, please feel free to pass along any concerns you may have. I always like hearing from you.

Remaining budget meetings

Thursday, April 2, 7:00 Public Hearing and Meeting
Monday, April 6, 6:30 pm if needed
Tuesday, April 7, 6:30 pm if needed
Thursday, April 9, 7:00 Budget adoption

Tom Ruocco


Anonymous said...

There is an email circulating from Florio that is asking people to come and support the superintendant's proposed budget and reject the cuts from the TC. I often wonder if he is really in the right state of mind.
He is claiming that "20-24 teaching positions will have to be considered for reduction".
Can anyone tell me how many teaching positions we have now as compared to students versus what we had 5 years ago?
I seem to recall that we have less students ut more teachers.
He is also stating that we are "spending less per pupil than 142 of the 166 school systems in the state". Does he have facts to prove that?
Lets also look at the test scores and see how the students are doing now compared to the rest of the state and compared to 5 years ago.
I think it may be time to overhaul our Education Dept so it becomes more efficient then it has been.
I wonder what the good superintendant thinks we should do? He also stated that with the TM's suggested budget, our taxes will increase by $153 a year. I don't know if he is saying that to tell us it isn't much or what, but I wonder how accurate that figure really is. Event that amount will hurt some people.
It is time to bite the bullet and deal with it.

Bill said...

You 'R's should get a clue. The "D's" outsmart you guys at every turn. You guys are too focused o budget reductions. You fail to caucus within your party. When people call up your chairman to express interest the first thing she says is "You have become a member of the Republican Party before I discuss issues with you." What kind of nonsense is this. Let me get this straight, if I want to run for public office and request your support I have to register as a Republican? Pull your head clown, there are people in this town that would help support your cause but your initial comments turn people off.

Anonymous said...


The Democrats don't outsmart the republicans everytime they simply outnumber them. What they do is outsmart the taxpayer most of the time. But that too will change.

I doubt you can really expect the Republican or Democratic town committees to run an unaffiliated candidate. Ernie DiPietro as much as said so in a short editorial he submitted to the Herald soliciting people to serve on town boards. He said he will consider any Democrat and unaffilaited person as long as they re register as a to play so to speak.

The Republicans have appointed unaffiliateds to boards and commissions but haven't run any for elective office.

Each party is loaded with distinctive brands of affilliates. If its indepndence you seek than that is okay but if it a seat at the table and you're electable than you have to be prepared to affiliate and join the caucus as you say.

There are examples of elected and successful Independents including the one in Wolcott but for practical purposes you'll have to hold your nose and join a party if you want to really get the support you need to win.

As for Republicans only being concerned about budgets I would have to say their concerns are very important especially this year. People complain about their taxes and that process begins with the budgets. Heck, today you can cut a budget and still get a tax increase.

Rob DeVylder Jr. said...

I personally would like to see government run by people that care for the community, not use it as a stepping stone. The parties do not help the citizens. When 1 party has majority, the other is just there to fill seats. Our town has a huge problem with voting on party lines and we should look at the persons interests and qualifactions over what party they belong. I agree with Bill.