August 29, 2013
At last night's Board of Finance meeting, the Board voted to send forward a budget set at 21.7 mils, which includes restoring General Government funds cut in the last budget round, as well as obtaining a healthy Net Fund Balance (surplus) of $76,151.
At our next Selectmen's meeting on Tuesday, September 3, we will be scheduling an upcoming Town Meeting and Referendum.
August 23, 2013
At Tuesday's meeting, The Board of Selectmen was pleased to restore several cuts to the General Government budget made in the last budget round without increasing spending. Funds were restored to the original requests made in Senior Activities, Senior Citizen Expense (Canterbury Seniors), wages to cover current Town Hall hours, Library Operating, and Library Staff.
Restoration was possible due to savings achieved in Town Health Insurance costs.
The cut made to the Transfer station line was maintained, but hours at the station will not be cut. Savings achieved through a new contract I negotiated with WilliWaste and efficiencies achieved through new compactors made this possible.
The new General Government budget will be included in the next Board of Finance meeting, scheduled for August 28. Thanks to all who participated in the budget discussion process.
August 19, 2013
In the Middle...
Tax bills were mailed last week and you probably have received yours by now.
Several times in recent years we have had three rounds before a budget has passed. In each case, we were able to prepare and send out tax bills in early to mid-August. This year the first three budgets were not passed. To keep the Town operating, and avoid having to borrow operating funds, the Board of Selectmen set a "bil rate". Based on the following perspective, the bil rate was set at .5 mil increase.
BUDGET PROPOSAL TOWN SERVICES FUND BALANCE STATUS
+1.5 Mil Services Maintained Healthy Not approved
+1.0 Mil Public Works cut Modest Not approved
+ .3 Mil Transfer Station cut Precarious Not approved
Town Hall hours cut
More public works cut
More education cut
There was a general outcry against the proposed cuts. At setting the bill rate at .5 mil, we tried to approximate a situation where the raise could be minimized while restoring as many cuts as possible, and obtaining a healthy fund balance.
We have been able to achieve no tax rate increase for five years without significant cuts and while adding key services. Last year we paid from available funds approximately $280,000 for a new 50-year roof for the elementary school. This saved us considerable borrowing costs, but did remove those funds from our balance. The only long-term debt the Town currently has is payment on the Municipal Building construction loan.
For a home with a value of approximately $204,000 (assessed at $142,800), the .5 mil increase is an additional $71.
August 12, 2013
Save on Prescription Drugs...
Canterbury is partnering with Connecticut Conference of Municipalities to offer Prescription Discount Cards to all Town residents. These cards have been mailed to all residents and are available in the Selectmen's office.
The Canterbury Prescription Drug Card is for those who don't have prescription insurance, or for drug purchases that are not covered by a current program.
All pharmacies in the area honor this program. Present your card when placing prescriptions, and the pharmacy will advise you as to the possible savings.
July 22, 2013
Third Budget Round for a Third of a Mil...
On Wednesday, July 31, we will be voting on this year's third budget referendum. The first two referendums, which involved a 1.5 mil increase and 1.0 mil increase, did not pass. To meet the current .3 mil proposal, significant cuts have been made. On the General Government side, these involve closing Town offices on Friday and extending other weekday hours (M-W 9-5; Thursday 9-6); having the Solid Waste Transfer Station open only two days a week; cutting wage and operating funds for the library; cutting road construction funds, and cutting most other activities across the board as fairly as possible. Cuts made in the General Government budget since the first round total $98,000.
We have been able to maintain personnel and services with no effective tax increases for five years going, a feat possibly unmatched by other Towns in Connecticut. Last year we spent funds out of pocket for the C.E.S. roof construction project, saving short and long term bonding costs but depleting our available cash reserves, leading to a tighter operating budget this year. Our financial position remains extremely strong, with our only long-term payment obligation being the 11 payments remaining on the Community Building Construction loan.
I urge you to come out and vote on July 31, and become involved in our town government.
July 15, 2013
June 27, 2013
Something for everyone...
This Sunday is a great time to get out and explore our natural beauty and culture. From noon to 5, our Economic Development Commission is hosting "Paddle, Pedal, Picnic"! You can choose from canoeing/kayaking on the Quinebaug, or cycling throughout Town. All activities begin at Manship Park at noon. A picnic for all the weary and exhilirated participants, and any others who want to join, will follow at Manship Park.
For the younger folk, the Prudence Crandall Museum is holding a "Tinworking Worskshop" from 1 to 3 p.m. Participants will learn about this most practical and useful trade popular during colonial times, and will work on a project that they can take home.
June 14, 2013
Tree Trimming Time...
C,L&P has been conducting an intensive tree trimming program to maximize the maintenance and strength of its transmission lines. Canterbury is one of the towns C,L&P is concentrating on this year.
C,L&P has contracted Asplundh Tree Experts to perform this work. There are three levels of concentration involved: "enhanced", "backbone" and "standard". Enhanced covers areas of frequent outages and population density; backbone covers areas of main transmission lines, and standard covers routine maintenance throughout town. The enhanced areas now being worked are sections of the following roads: Tracy, Cross, Depot, Gooseneck Hill, Bates Pond, Woodchuck Hill, Bindham, Ulasik, and Water.
Once the enhanced work is complete, the standard trimming will take place along the main transmission line, which is predominantly Route 14. General maintenance work will follow.
We appreciate everyone's patience while this work is being done. It can be frustrating to have frequent road blockages for a few days, but the benefits in terms of convenience and safety will be well worth the efforts.
If you have any concerns regarding this work, please contact the Selectmen's office.
June 11, 2013
Revenue Stabilized, Expenses Trimmed...
After months of hard work trying to protect municipal aid, last week we found the final state revenue for Connecticut Towns and Cities during Fiscal Year 2013/14 has not been cut, and in some cases has been increased. This increased revenue, along with $175,000 in expense cuts, will be included in Canterbury's next budget round.
The initial budget from the Governor, and subsequent budget from the Appropriations Committee, had cut School Transportation funding to Canterbury, which amounted to a loss of about $118,000. The final budget restored these funds, as well as an additional $112,000 for Town Aid Roads, which we can use for paving and highway repair.
The Town Meeting for the next budget will be held next Monday, June 17, followed by the budget referendum on Thursday, June 20. Details of the budgets can be found on the Town Clerk's page of this website, or in the Town Clerk's office.
May 28, 2013