Covering Milford's Budget Hearing Live

Thursday night the Milford Board of Aldermen holds a public hearing on next year’s proposed $186.38 million budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which increases spending by 1.55 percent.

Residents are currently looking at paying an additional $241 in taxes. I’ll be trying something different in covering the public hearing. I will be covering it live here on my blog.

That means whoever speaks I will blog about it live, and I will be available to answer any questions you have on the budget live as well. It’s pretty exciting for me.

This is my 12th budget I’ve covered in Milford, and sometimes there is drama over proposed cuts. I usually just write a short article on deadline summarizing what happens or what is said.

I will be doing the same thing for the online and print editions, but now I can interact with the readers, and chat with them as I blog. It’s much more interactive.

So please come to my blog Milford Matters and chat with me beginning 7 p.m. Thursday about the city’s budget.

As for the budget this is an interesting situation. It’s kind of dull, which city and school officials like. This budget lacks for drama. There are no jobs that hang in the balance, which is a good thing.

This is a no frills budget, no new programs or staff. The school board is facing a steep enrollment drop, which is resulting in several positions being eliminated through attrition.

Really, the only drama is on whether the aldermen will dip into the city’s contingency fund to take surplus dollars to keep the tax rate lower. Mayor Ben Blake didn’t target any contingency dollars, but in the past Mayor Richetelli would take several millions of dollars in an effort to keep the tax rate lower.

The funds are available again, and it will be interesting to see if the aldermen touch those dollars. If they do I think it’s possible some residents taxes will either remain flat or possibly decrease. We’ll see.

If the aldermen don’t touch the contingency dollars, my guess is there are planning to take several millions of dollars out next year in an effort to keep that potential tax increase as low as possible. Remember all elected officials run for reelection not off of this year’s budget. It’s next year’s budget and tax rate that truly counts in the arena of politics.

Brian McCready
Milford Bureau Chief
New Haven Register
Twitter @nhrbmccready


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