[Editor's note: The following information was supplied by the Office of the First Selectman in a press release.]
First Selectman Michael Tetreau and Board of Finance Chair Tom Flynn announced Friday that the proposed budget tax increase has been reduced to approximately 4.8 percent -- primarily as a result of ongoing administrative initiatives, reduced health care costs and operational adjustments on the town side.
The Town budget process is a continuous work in progress from the time of the initial budget meetings in October through the final Representative Town Meeting vote in early May, according to the release.
At each and every step of this crucial process, the Town uses the latest available information and continues to work on refining the budget numbers.
The original 6.4 percent proposal has undergone several significant changes, as alluded to by Tetreau earlier this week. The First Selectman and Superintendent of Schools have made it a priority to reduce health insurance costs, including going out to bid for more cost effective options. The final numbers for pension costs, retiree medical costs and improved operational adjustments have provided additional cost savings.
The town’s finance team, along with the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance and RTM, will continue to look at every facet of the budget to make needed reductions without sacrificing essential town and school services.
“Like many citizens, my Board of Finance colleagues and I were concerned with the original proposed budget increase of 6.4 percent," Flynn said. "We have worked long and hard with the Board of Selectmen to understand and adjust the number downwards."
"While I am pleased with the results to date, our work is not done," Flynn continued. "We will continue to scrutinize the budget, question assumptions and make the difficult decisions necessary to control spending. I want to thank my colleagues on the Board of Finance as well as the Board of Selectmen for their efforts to date.”
Tetreau added, "Fairfield faces a very challenging budget with town revenues down and reduced state aid. Town officials continue to scrutinize every aspect of every department to reduce the tax increase while ensuring we keep essential town and school services. I would like to thank all town officials for their diligent work and cooperative efforts during this difficult budget process.”