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First Selectman Releases Revised Budget

A revised version of the Monroe Town Budget may be viewed through a link on the town website or downloaded in pdf with this article.

First Selectman Steve Vavrek reduced the town budget proposal by $200,000 after the April 2 referendum defeat. Now the proposal stands at $80,317,583 with a 4.1% mill rate increase. Spending would go up by $1.7 million or 2.17%.

In his budget overview page of the proposal, Vavrek said, "This budget keeps us on the right track of fixing what needs to be fixed and addresses many issues that we have all ignored over the years. Our department heads are to be commended for their fiscal restraints while still addressing the many needs of the community.

"After numerous internal staff meetings, we have compromised additional services and equipment to bring this budget to the level that hopefully finds support with our elected officials and the voters of Monroe."

The revised copy of the budget proposal is posted on the town website (There is also a pdf copy with this article). Polls will be open for the second referendum on April 23 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and absentee ballots are available for those who cannot come out to vote that day.

In addition to its regular hours, The Town Clerk's Office at Monroe Town Hall will be open for absentees on Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon.

This referendum will have two ballots, one for the budget proposal and another for a $3.8 million bonding appropriation for Honeywell's energy efficiency projects for Monroe's public school buildings. The Town Council scheduled a public information meeting on Honeywell for 7 p.m. on April 22 at town hall so voters' questions can be answered before the referendum the next day.

Revised Budget Numbers

The mill rate, which is used to calculate individual tax bills, would be 30.46 in the revised budget — an increase of 1.2 mills.

A mill is equal to one dollar of tax for each $1,000 of assessed property value. Individual property taxes can be calculated by multiplying your property assessment by the mill rate and dividing it by $1,000. Assessed value is 70% of fair market value.

The amount of the budget to be funded by property taxes would rise by $2,093,049 or 3.14%.

The municipal side of the budget would increase by $975,179 or 5.09% to $20,117,349. Vavrek says the main drivers are "insurance, pension, road repairs, equipment replacement, police and town hall renovations."

The $52,234,919 Board of Education operating budget represents an increase of $800,180 or 1.56%.

Debt service would increase by $145,514 to $5,731,542 or by 2.60%.

Reductions the first selectman made include:

  • 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
QWERTY April 17, 2013 at 03:44 AM
I don't get it....why should people be commended for their fiscal restraint?! It doesn't matter what time period or economy environment we're in, departments heads should ALWAYS show fiscal restraint! This country is so screwed up that I'm now suppose to be grateful that government employees are spending my money wisely? What a joke.
Alex April 17, 2013 at 01:28 PM
I can support the BOE budget at this point but not the municipal budget. I will not accept anything over a 3.5% increase in the mil rate. From my perspective that is a fair compromise.
Steve Vavrek April 17, 2013 at 02:20 PM
Please look over prior year’s mill rate increases: 2005-2006 – 5.11 mill rate increase – 4 referendums 2006-2007 – 8.44 mill rate increase – 4 referendums 2007-2008 – 5.14 mill rate increase – 6 referendums 2008-2009 – 4.60 mill rate increase – 2 referendums 2009-2010 – 2.86 mill rate increase – 3 referendums 2010-2011 – mill rate went down - Reval 2011-2012 – 1.88 mill rate increase – 1 referendum 2012-2013 – 1.63 mill rate increase – 1 referendum One thing is clear up until a few years ago, even though we had much higher passed mill rates, roads were not being fixed, Infrastructure needs were never addressed and buildings were not being maintained. As I have mentioned in the past, the last few storms have depleted our resources and the events of 12/14 changed our lives forever. The biggest non-negotiable drivers this year are added security and security resource officers and bringing a Full Day Kindergarten to Monroe will bring up property values. This budget keeps us on the right track of fixing what needs to be fixed and again addresses many of the issues that we have ignored over the years.
QWERTY April 17, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Why aren't part-time or retired officers a viable option to guard Monroe's schools?
scott April 17, 2013 at 06:16 PM
Steve where are you getting these mill rat increases from? I am on the tax collector's website and it shows the following Mill rates since 2004. I don't see any increases in the range you are showing. Best example is 2006-2007 you show there is a 8.44 mill rate increase. the mill rate in 2006/2007 was 26.08 the prior year it was 24.05 That is an increase of 2.03 not 8.44. Are these the starting numbers before the referendums? Tax Department Mission: To serve the public in a courteous and efficient manner. The Mill Rate for fiscal year 2004/2005 is 22.88 The Mill Rate for fiscal year 2005/2006 is 24.05 The Mill Rate for fiscal year 2006/2007 is 26.08 The Mill Rate for fiscal year 2007/2008 is 27.42 The Mill Rate for fiscal year 2008/2009 is 28.68 The Mill Rate for fiscal year 2009/2010 is 29.50 The Mill Rate for fiscal year 2010/2011 is 28.26----assessment year The Mill Rate for fiscal year 2011/2012 is 28.79 The Mill Rate for fiscal yera 2012/2013 is 29.26
Peter Woods April 17, 2013 at 06:27 PM
I am soooooo tired of hearing you puff yourself up with compliments. Tom Buzi was 10x the selectman you are. You leave all the decisions to others because you have NO leadership skills. AND the reason the roads didn't get fixed was because "your kind" on the council always voted against the road money. I will vote YES on the budget despite my disgust with you because the town and schools are in need of the money.
Lisa B. April 17, 2013 at 07:25 PM
Scott - It is an increase of 2.03MILs - but an 8.44% increase in the mill rate. Steve's math is correct. Thanks.
scott April 17, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Gotcha the % sign is helpful.
Alex April 17, 2013 at 08:24 PM
"The biggest non-negotiable drivers this year are added security and security resource officers and bringing a Full Day Kindergarten to Monroe will bring up property values. " Is that something we can hold you to? That Full Day K will increase our property values? If not, I wouldn't say it. And no offense but the 50+ properties around town currently in foreclosure or the lender or the property has begun the foreclosure proceedings are going to affect my property value a lot more than full day K.
Schap April 17, 2013 at 09:44 PM
If we were to put the table into $'s, the different in millrate from 2004/2005 to 2012/13 is 6.38 mils. On a house assessed @ $357,000 and the 70% factor is what the taxes are paid on or $250,000. This person paid an additional tax of $1,595 in 8th year. A pretty good increase during a recession.
Steve Vavrek April 17, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Schap, You are 100% right there has been a pretty good increase during these hard times...cant speak of what happened before my administration but here is the past four years: 2010-2011 – mill rate went down - Reval 2011-2012 – 1.88 mill rate increase – 1 referendum 2012-2013 – 1.63 mill rate increase – 1 referendum One thing is clear up until a few years ago, even though we had much higher passed mill rates, roads were not being fixed, Infrastructure needs were never addressed and buildings were not being maintained. As I have mentioned in the past, the last few storms have depleted our resources and the events of 12/14 changed our lives forever. The biggest non-negotiable drivers this year are added security and security resource officers and bringing a Full Day Kindergarten to Monroe will bring up property values. This budget keeps us on the right track of fixing what needs to be fixed and again addresses many of the issues that we have ignored over the years. The fact remains, after the events of 12/14 and most recently yesterday in Boston our residents are asking for SRO's and added security. We take out SRO's, School Security, and then also Full Day K and we achieve a number below what we have done the previous 3 years. If you would like to revert back higher taxes but back to roads with an F rating, buildings with no plan of being fixed, infrastructure not being addressed, Monroe that is ultimately your choice. Vote April 23 for a better Monroe.
Crown Royal April 17, 2013 at 10:53 PM
What about if we just take out SROs but keep the BoE security improvements (200k if I am not mistaken) and the crap Honeywell is throwing in to sweeten the deal, where do we sit? I don't know if it is bad policy to talk about, but where would you imagine cuts would come from during the next round of cuts if the budget fails on the 23rd?
Crown Royal April 17, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Also, Would you be interested in participating in a Q&A on the patch. I wonder if Bill could set something up like that, where we could leave questions and you could answer them. You have mentioned a lot lately about how we 'hide' behind our names but obviously we do that for a number of reasons. It doesn't mean our voices should not be heard. A lot of us who use pseudonyms have legitimate questions which we would appreciate if you would answer.
laura p April 17, 2013 at 11:15 PM
I find a $200k reduction in an $80M budget an insult- as an accountant this is just lost in rounding. Many people have had little to no increase in their salaries over the past five years - yet costs such as property taxes have continually gone up. To state that the increase requested is less than prior years is just insensitive. Is the first selectman hoping to wear voters down in order to win the new budget?
Steve Vavrek April 17, 2013 at 11:24 PM
People can leave me an email at svavrek@Monroect.org or send a message to anyone of my town facebook or twitter accounts. I will not answer to pseudonyms and seemingly "real" names that arent even registered to vote in Monroe. Meet me halfway, heck I'd be glad to stop by your house. If you came to a meeting, you'd find out much. But there you would have to give your name and address.You can go online for minutes or you can come see them live at them Town Clerk office. Nothing is being hidden execpt your names...
the watcher April 18, 2013 at 06:41 PM
I totally agree. Many in this town are totally willing to increase the taxes/ burden on families but have chosen to ignore what those very same tax increases have done. Just look at the growing list of properties being auction off. What is that going to do to property values and homes on the market? Just look at the amount of people using the food bank. It seems our elected officials just refuse to hear or simply do not care that many of us just can not afford yet another tax increase. They claim they are doing there job for the community but ignore many of us. At what point does someone represent this growing group in our community? This tax increase is just like ALL previous, we are told it will be a disaster if not approved, then next year we are told it meant nothing and we are still not paying enough. That is why I am voting NO
Joel Leneker April 23, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Steve: "The biggest non-negotiable drivers this year are added security and security resource officers and bringing a Full Day Kindergarten to Monroe will bring up property values. " I may be wrong but full day kindergarden is not mandated as of yet in the state of CT nor are the hiring of more SRO officers. I am not saying these two items are not needed, but, IF the budget should be defeated a second time, these items might need to be considered as too costly for monroe in this economic climate.

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