Selectmen offer total tax dollar levy

The sign outside Darien Town Hall.

The sign outside Darien Town Hall.

Thane Grauel / Hearst Connecticut Media

The Board of Selectmen was able to reach its target of a total tax dollar levy at its special meeting on Thursday, April 30.

In a unanimous motion, the board approved a proposed budget reduction of $680,000 to be presented to the Board of Finance.

The $680,000 represents a deferment of $500,000 in fire apparatus replacement reserves, bonding of $75,000 in new sidewalks and $75,000 in Town Hall gymnasium upgrades, and a deferral of $30,000 to the Public Works equipment reserve.

Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson was the only board member physically present at the 20-minute meeting. All other members participated remotely.

Two options

At its meeting on April 23, the Board of Finance recommended to the Board of Selectmen and Board of Education to discuss modifications in their originally proposed budget of $47,875,998 to get to two different scenerios: A flat mill rate of 16.47 mills or a total dollar tax levy.

To get to a flat mill rate, the Board needed to find $351,000 in potential savings. To get to a total tax dollar levy, the Board needed to find $591,000 in potential savings.

Known adjustments

There is a total of $167,894 in known budget adjustments, according to the Board.

Therefore, to get to a flat mill rate, the Board now needs to reduce its budget by $423,106. To get to a total tax dollar levy, the Board now needs to reduce its budget by $663,106.

“We have now included any revenue adjustments and estimates on reductions in revenues throughout our town’s departments,” First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said.

The board needs to account for $240,000 of revenue loss.

Fire apparatus replacement reserve

In regard to the recommended deferral of the deposit of $500,000 into the fire apparatus replacement reserve, the Board of Selectmen said it will discuss how it should be procuring fire apparatus in the future.

They’re recommending that perhaps funding for that can be resumed next year, and all of the equipment can then be purchased.

In addition, it will “allow the Board of Finance to decide whether [the fire apparatus] should be bonded or not,” Stevenson said.

Public Works

Because the Public Works department head had only asked for $200,000 in equipment, the Board of Selectmen proposed reducing the $230,000 by an additional $30,000 in capital, with no negative impact to the Public Works department, according to Stevenson.

Going forward

Stevenson suggested that the Board of Selectmen give the Board of Finance its entire list of department potential deferrals in the event it needs to make a different decision about reducing the town’s budget, in the future.

“They’ll then have in front of them what the department heads can agree that don’t negatively impact service delivery,” Stevenson said, adding that the list can then be discussed in collaboration with the Board of Selectmen.

Budget timeline

Board of Finance votes to approve budget: May 14.

Board of Finance to turn budget to town clerk: May 21.

Budget to be published: May 28

RTM scheduled to vote on town budget: June 8.

Watch the Board of Selectmen meeting on Darien TV/79.