Home » Town departments’ wish lists: $2,242,831 in increased funding

Town departments’ wish lists: $2,242,831 in increased funding

WINSTED — Members of the Board of Selectmen, along with the heads of various town departments, went over a preliminary draft of the proposed town budget for fiscal 2012-2013 on Monday, Feb. 13.While Mayor Maryann Welcome, Selectmen Michael Renzullo, Glenn Albanesius and James Divita were present at the meeting, selectmen George Closson, Candy Perez and Kenneth Fracasso were not.Town Manager Dale Martin explained at the beginning of the meeting that the draft is a “wish list” of requests by various town departments.“I have not sat down and talked with department supervisors as of yet,” Martin said. “The intent of this meeting is to give the selectmen a list of goals and objectives for each department. This way, you will be more aware of department requests by the time I hand in a town budget in March instead of being taken by surprise.”Martin explained that, according to preliminary estimates, health-care costs for employees have increased at least 10.75 percent across the board.The highest proposed increase in the proposed budget is in the capital outlay line item, which has a proposed budget of $1,811,254, an increase of $900,606 from the previous fiscal year.The capital outlay line covers $1,036,912 for the highway department, $329,805 for the fire department and $152,807 for the police department.Martin said the proposed funding for the highway department would pay for three new snow plow trucks, a salt shed and a roadside mower.Public Works Director James Rotondo told the selectmen that the department desperately needs new equipment.“The last new truck we purchased was six years ago. Some of our trucks have been on the road for over 17 years,” Rotondo said. “I start looking at the budget and I’m seeing that we are spending so much to keep these things on the road. We really need to schedule and replace equipment every two years or so instead of continuously fixing old equipment.”Martin said the proposed funding for the fire department would cover vehicle replacements, technical equipment, a roof replacement at the Prospect Street fire department and various building improvements.The proposed funding for the police department would cover the purchase of a police cruiser, refurbishing the police department headquarters on Main Street and various software upgrades.Police departmentThe next highest proposed budget increase is in the police department’s budget line item with a proposed budget of $3,123,000, an increase of $449,398 from the previous fiscal year.The highest proposed increase in the line item itself is in medical fringe benefits, with an increase of $119,826 from the previous fiscal year.Proposed total overtime is listed as being increased by $111,573.Sergent Kevin Kinahan told the selectmen that two police officers are scheduled to retire during this upcoming fiscal year and one officer may be leaving. Because of this, overtime for existing officers would be increased as new hires would go through training. He said that it would take a year for the department to train new officers.Highway departmentThe third highest proposed town department increase is the highway department with a proposed budget of $2,141,912, an increase of $353,894 from the previous fiscal year.In the highway department line item, the road maintenance budget has been increased by $150,000, pipes and manholes maintenance has been increased by $62,000 and salt purchases has been increased by $60,000.Rotondo said the department will be switching from sand to treated salt next fiscal year for taking care of icy roads during a snowstorm.Community planning and developmentCommunity planning and development is the fourth highest proposed budget increase, asking for a budget of $250,870, a proposed increase of $114,017 from the previous fiscal year.The highest increase listed in that line item is for the town’s wetlands enforcement officer for $40,000 over the previous fiscal year, followed by fringe benefits which would increase by $31,102 from the previous fiscal year.Recreation DepartmentThe fifth highest proposed budget increase is the town’s Recreation Department, which has asked for $271,204, an increase of $58,843 from the previous fiscal year.In the proposed line item, the department’s administrative salary has increased by $25,901 from the previous year, general labor has increased by $10,763 and medical fringe benefits has increased by $9,830.In an email after the meeting, Town Manager Martin emphasized that figures are a work in progress.“Let me specifically remind you that the numbers [in the presentation] have no resemblance to a proposed budget. The numbers are nothing more than working copy at this point,” Martin wrote. “To present the numbers as anything other than that would be grossly misleading. In other words, don’t add the departmental totals and offer that sum as a proposed budget. I have yet to meet individually with department supervisors which would obviously result in an immediate review and likely revision of the numbers originally offered.”

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