Lauretti working on budget proposal; State action is a factor

Mayor Mark Lauretti
Mayor Mark Lauretti

Mayor Mark Lauretti is expected to unveil his proposed 2013-14 budget in about two weeks, and he’s uncertain of what the tax impact will be on residents and businesses.

“I’m starting to get into the numbers,” said Lauretti, who received budget requests from department heads on Feb. 15.

A big factor will be what happens at the state Capitol in the coming few months, according to the Republican mayor.

Lauretti said if Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s request to eliminate car taxes should be enacted, “every city will take a hit.” The proposal would eliminate the property taxes collected by cities and towns on most motor vehicles.

Lauretti said the city collects about $6.5 million in car taxes annually.

He said Shelton is not a community that is dependent on state money for a large part of its budget, especially in non-education areas. “The state could help me by doing nothing — by staying home,” Lauretti said.

Shelton has had 22 balanced budgets under his leadership, he said, and people should expect that to happen again. “We just do this annually,” Lauretti said. “And even in this bad economy, we haven’t stopped making public improvements.”

Aldermen views

Board of Aldermen President John F. Anglace Jr., a Republican, said it’s “much too early” to predict exactly what will happen with budget. He noted City Charter changes have pushed back the budget process by a few weeks from previous years.

Still, Anglace is optimistic Shelton taxpayers won’t see a tax hike in July, when the new fiscal year begins. “My expectation is to reduce the mill rate or at least keep it where it is now,” he said.

Jack Finn, the only Democratic alderman, also said it’s too early to know what to expect in the mayor’s proposed budget. Finn said some possible upcoming budget priorities could be capital improvements involving trucks, roads and bridges.