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First Selectman Reduces Budget by $200,000

First Selectman Steve Vavrek announces revisions to the 2013-14 budget proposal with an open letter to residents. Actuals and absentee ballots will be ready by Monday.

To the Editor,

On April 2st the voters of Monroe went to the polls and rejected a proposed budget that would have increased the mill rate by 4.24%. On April 12th I reduced the current budget request by $200,000 which reduced the mill rate increase to 4.10%. If approved at the 4/23/13 referendum, this budget will provide Monroe’s voters with much needed services which have been long needed in our community.

The expense increase request now stands at 2.17%. Over the last 4 budgets we have done a very good job of holding down expenses while still keeping to the commitment of fixing roads, our infrastructure and keeping our students and parents well educated, safe and secure.

The reductions I made did not come without hardship to municipal and education services. I have reduced municipal requests by $100,000 and further reduced the education budget request by an additional $100,000. In making these budget reductions we are perilously close to moving Monroe backwards instead of taking continual steps forward. In order to address these cuts, on the municipal side of the budget I reduced:

  • Town health insurances by $30,000
  • Parks & Recreation Equipment and Wolfe Park improvements by $20,000
  • Public Works Equipment by $10,000
  • Town Building & Maintenance – Heat by $20,000
  • Debt Service by $20,000

The Board of Education is considering a variety of non educational adjustments. Remember from the time our Superintendent announced his budget, we have reduced the Board of Education, including this $100,000, by approximately $925,000. I commend the Superintendent for working with the Board of Finance and my office for these additional cost savings.

It is fair to say that everyone associated with the budget has been working hard to provide the voters with a plan that balances needs with the ability to fund required services. However we are at a point where further reductions to this budget have the potential to negatively impact property values in Monroe.

I have spent time reviewing economic data for Monroe and our region. Every voter is aware that the housing market has been hurt during this extended economic downturn. I am sure you realize that this not only affects Monroe but the region, Connecticut and all of America.

Cutting education funds and town services will do absolutely nothing to remedy this situation. In fact, the strength of any community's real estate market and property values, in good economies and especially in bad, are directly tied to the services a town provides which includes the quality of a town’s public school system. This year we are delivering Full Day Kindergarten and enhanced safety and security services. These services have shown to enhance our property values.

Every resident has a right to question the rate of growth of Town expenses. I expect and welcome it. However there is a greater concern that all residents need to think about and that is what kind of town do they want to live in? Do we want to live in a town where prospective homeowners decide that Monroe doesn’t provide a value proposition for their future? Do we want to live in a town where we put public safety and security as a secondary concern? Do we want to close our Senior Center Edith Wheeler Memorial Library or curtail their hours of operation? Do we want to see less usage of Wolfe and Great Hollow Park?

Voters can show they DO care about the quality of life in Monroe by passing a budget on the 23nd of April that improves our roads and infrastructure, educates our children, including Full Day Kindergarten and adequately funds public safety and security,

Sincerely,

Steve Vavrek

First Selectman

Town of Monroe

Bob Loblaw April 15, 2013 at 04:31 PM
The question still remains. Who EXACTLY are the bureaucrats IN MONROE who want full day K implemented IN MONROE for the express purpose of "fattening their wallets"? I have not seen that empirical data that is demanded of others.
Steve Kirsch April 15, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Alex, you wrote: “So Steve, you don't consider "Office Personnel and Management" (5128) as administrators? That's another 1.6 million on top of the 2.2 million you mentioned” The people in account # 5128 are not administrators. They are general employee (my words) positions, which include people such as secretaries, non affiliated IT staff, non-affiliated human resources positions and finance positions. Keep in mind that there are specific bargaining units for various groups of workers and furthermore some positions, such as administrators, require specific certifications and have specific job functions.
parent April 16, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Jim Beam- You should do a little research and see where the Common Core State Standards came from... you may be surprised to learn that they were not written by educators at all. So, I guess your quote that "Common Core State Standards were devised by educators who certainly intended to perpetuate their existence and income" is about as reliable as much of the other "facts" you fill your posts with...
Alex April 16, 2013 at 11:36 PM
You're just arguing about words now. Sure some of 5128 probably fund things outside of the main office but are you telling me it doesn't help fund the central office and main offices of each school as well? To me, a financial position in a school system would be part of the overall administration, maybe you disagree. If you want to say those other two line items represent administrators as in managerial/director salaries of various departments and principals only then I would agree, but you'd need to add in at least some of 5128 to see the total cost of "administrating" the school system.
Steve Kirsch April 17, 2013 at 06:37 AM
Alex, yes, administrators are the "leaders" and they do carry a specific definition in terms of the education system. Also, keep in mind that this discussion started when statements were made about administrators and their salaries and their contracts. I don't think that anyone was trying to say that some finance person's pay is based on the number of employees or students. We were not talking about just anyone who is part of running the business operations of the school system.

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