Old Saybrook Budget Up Five Percent
By Becky Coffey
Published on 3/15/2007 in Home »Region »Region News
“It's a pretty conservative budget,” said First Selectman Michael Pace about the proposed spending plan for the town and schools for next year. “There are no new initiatives.”

Spending would increase by about five percent under the proposal but, due to increases in the town's Grand List of taxable property and other offsetting factors, the new mill rate needed to pay for the plan would rise only about one half of one mill, or by about three percent.

Included in the town's budget proposals is the plan to buy three new police cruisers to replace aging vehicles. One of the older police vehicles being replaced—an SUV—will go to the fire department for its use. The police department had wanted to add another patrolman, but when the Board of Selectmen asked police department officials to cut the department's proposal by $88,000, the police department deferred the staff addition.

The town budget will add one additional worker to the public works department.

Annual payments into the reserve savings accounts go up by $151,383 in this budget, or by about 25 percent. About $117,000 of this increased cash savings is for capital improvements that fall under the category of public works.

As with many towns' budgets, the rising costs of utilities, insurances, and fuel, coupled with contractual staff increases, comprise much of the operating spending increases.

Annual costs of town bonding payments will increase by 8.73 percent next year from $2.7 million to $2.9 million annually. These payments are for bonds sold to help pay for the library expansion, the conversion of the new Town Hall, open space purchases, and the ongoing school addition and renovation projects. The good news for residents is that annual payments due on the town's oldest bonds actually will go down next year by about 4.5 percent.

School spending, under the Board of Education-approved plan, would increase by about 4.96 percent next year.

Despite the increase in annual bonding payments next year and planned spending increases for the town and the school operations, the overall budget increase is about five percent.

Old Saybrook

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