Litchfield News

Selectmen make cuts to recommended capital budget (02-09-19)

Litchfield’s Board of Selectmen took a first step this week toward forging a proposed town budget for 2019-20 by reducing a recommended capital improvements budget and forwarding it to the Board of Finance for consideration.
It will be up to the finance board to determine if the $3,578,891 proposal should remain intact or be reduced further before becoming part of a proposed town budget.
The proposal is roughly $300,000 higher than this year’s capital budget but is $766,000 lower than the $4.3 million recommendation presented to the selectmen by the capital improvements committee.
Selectmen voted 3-2 to make the $766,000 reduction after a lengthy discussion on Tuesday. First Selectman Leo Paul Jr. and Selectmen Paul Parsons and Jonathan Torrant voted in support of the reduction, with Selectmen Jeffrey Zullo and Anne C. Dranginis opposed. Zullo, citing the town’s debt load of $25 million, said he favored a greater reduction.
The capital budget is paid for with bonding, or borrowed money, and cash. About $600,000 in cash is available, according to the town’s fiscal office.
Funding in the proposed capital budget is for the Department of Public Works, Board of Fire Commissioners and Emergency Medical Services, Board of Education, Parks and Recreation Department and the police department.
Public works was to receive $3.3 million under the initial recommendation, but selectmen trimmed the request by $536,000 by cutting a road sweeper and planned improvements to municipal and school facilities.
Selectmen also cut $100,000 for a new ambulance for the Bantam Fire Company and $94,000 in equipment and building improvements for the Board of Education.
All of the items cut will likely be pushed out into the fiscal year of 2020-21, or beyond, as they are capital expenses that have been declared necessary.
The $450,000 budgeted for a new rescue truck for the Northfield Volunteer Fire Company survived as did $105,000 for improvements at Community Field and $43,000 for a new police cruiser.