Mayor delivers proposed 2011-2012 budget to town council
By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Feb. 25, 2011
A $160.2 million budget for fiscal year 2011-2012 was delivered by Mayor Marcia A. Leclerc to members of the East Hartford Town Council on Feb. 23. The budget shows an increase of 6.1 percent over the current fiscal year. The increase includes rises in education spending and snow removal costs, and a loss of revenue due to a cut in state aid.
Leclerc said the budget proposal would require a 1.23 mill increase in the tax rate, which for the average East Hartford taxpayer would be a 3.6-percent tax increase, or about $154. Spending for town government in the proposed budget is $49.9 million, a 3.2-percent increase over the prior year.
“With respect to the budget, it is important to remember that the entire increase in taxation is linked to reduced state aid, contractually required payments, or to the continued practice of fiscally prudent budget-setting,” Leclerc said during the meeting, to which she was accompanied by Finance Director Michael P. Walsh. “As a result, without the elimination of certain town services, a tax increase, while regrettable, is inevitable,” Leclerc said.
The budget maintains town services overall, but curtails leaf collection to one round in the fall, closes one of the town’s outdoor swimming pools, and eliminates a “families in crisis” counselor. Leclerc also announced that she will forgo the use of mayor’s vehicle as a way of cost reduction, and suspend the use of take-home vehicles for town directors effective July 1.
“While these are small-cost items in the larger budget picture, they will none-the-less establish a tone for my administration,” Leclerc said.
In addition, 74 non-union employees will be switched to a high deductible health insurance plan, which will save the town as much as 27 percent in insurance claim costs, Leclerc said.
A public hearing on the proposed budget was scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, at 7 p.m.