Madison Budget Proposal Approved, Headed for May 18 Referendum
Madison’s budget is moving toward a Tuesday, May 18 referendum after the Board of Finance (BOF) voted 4-0 last week to send the $88,404,867 budget, a $1,771,334 or 2.04 percent increase, forward to the public.
BOF member Ken Kaminsky (R) abstained from the vote, while Judith Friedmann (D) was absent from the meeting.
The total budget request for the town’s operations is $29,132,930, a $1,050,998 or 3.74 increase over last year. The schools seek $59,272,037, a $720,336 or 1.23 percent bump.
The town’s operational budget proposes a significant jump of just over 5 percent, while health insurance costs dropped by 4.30 percent.
On the school side, there was also some health insurance savings, as well as from debt service, while other costs were up more modestly—2 percent for general education and 3.06 percent for special education.
Additionally, the BOF plans to infuse $673,000 from the unassigned fund balance to bring the anticipated tax increase down, with the proposal before voters bringing a 0.53 mill increase, or a 1.87 percent tax increase.
The pandemic continued to hang over this year’s budget discussions, which have also seen town boards attempting to anticipate upcoming big-picture needs, including school facilities and capital projects.
After seeing a significant surplus anticipated from this fiscal year and discussing how that might be used, the BOF decided to approve about $700,000 in special appropriations to fund a handful of projects and infuse in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP), including a $500,000 leasing program for Public Works Department vehicles and electronic signs used for special events
Capital projects in the actual budget are set at a flat $3,540,104, the same as last year.
“We feel that this is a fair way to approach this right now during these difficult times, it’s responsible...it keeps the town moving forward, which I will continue to say, but it maintains the stability in the taxes that we take so seriously as a town,” said BOF Chair Jean Fitzgerald.
The $673,000 direct infusion into the budget from the unassigned fund balance is separate and something that will eventually need to be replaced as well, according to town officials. The BOF drew the same amount last year in order to pass a flat budget in the early days of the pandemic.
Fitzgerald said the goal was to strike a balance between current needs, putting the town in a “hole” in future years, and giving residents stability and predictability around tax increases.
“We do not want, in any one given year, that your taxes have to jump high,” she said. “We want to be able to say, every year we’re going to increase a little bit in order to maintain the town that we all love.”
For more information on the budget, visit www.madisonct.org/874/Budget-Information.
For the May 18 referendum, the District 1 polling site is at Polson Middle School, 302 Green Hill Road (the district voted at the Senior Center pre-pandemic). District 2 polling place remains at Brown Intermediate School, 980 Durham Road For more information about the referendum, visit www.madisonct.org/399/Registrar-of-Voters.
Editor's Note: This story was updated on Thursday, May 6 to reflect the correct day and date of the referendum.