Old Saybrook Budget Proposes Reduced Mill Rate
On Feb. 16, Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl P. Fortuna, Jr., presented his proposed budget to the Board of Finance. The town-wide budget, inclusive of the general government and proposed Board of Education budget, is up just 0.36 percent, or $167,292 for a total proposed budget of $47,187,717.
The town also had modest growth in its overall Grand List, which, when matched against the nominal budget increase, is projected to lead to a small decrease in the mill rate.
Fortuna said: “For the second time in the last four budget cycles, we are projecting a lower property tax for Old Saybrook residents than they paid the year before. Not just a lower mill rate, but a lower tax burden. This has not been accomplished any time in the last 50 years.
“Our budget fully funds education, our capital needs, invests in the future of this town and even adds some services for our citizens,” he continued.
Budget stability has been a primary focus for the town for the last 10 years. Reserves have been established for debt service, fire truck purchases, public works equipment, and capital projects that arise unexpectedly. In addition, most new employees of the town hired after July 1, 2017 are now on a defined contribution plan as opposed to a traditional defined benefit pension.
“Our long term strategy designed by the professional management here in Town Hall has led to consistently flat or low budgets over the last 10 years. We are addressing all our capital needs and have increased the town’s rainy day fund to where it needs to be to satisfy our credit rating agencies,” Fortuna said.
“Our pension is well funded and our health insurance costs are well controlled as a result of negotiating medical plans that track the private sector,” he added. “Old Saybrook’s finances are in great shape and I am happy, in these uncertain times, to put forth a budget that will not additionally stress the finances of our citizens.”