Mayor Lauretti’s budget proposes no tax increase

Mayor Mark Lauretti’s $122,355,476 budget proposal means Shelton residents won’t be paying more in property taxes if it is approved by the Board of Apportionment and Taxation, as well as the Board of Aldermen.

Lauretti’s 2016-2017 proposal is a 1.4% increase from Shelton’s 2015-2016 budget of $120,692,37.The increase translates into $1,663,375 more than in the previous year.

Even with the budget increase, Lauretti said the city’s mill rate would remain 22.31 for a fourth straight year if it is accepted by the Board of Aldermen.

Before the Aldermen can approve, the Board of A&T will have 9 meetings before making their recommendation for a budget plan by May 1.

The Aldermen will then have until May 31 to submit the final 2016-2017 plan.

Board of Ed happy after first meeting

Both Superintendent Chris Clouet and Board of Education Chairman Mark Holden said they were pleased following the Mayor’s proposal Tuesday night. The mayor’s proposal listed  $70,470,000 for education in 2016-2017.

Clouet said the city and school district have been in “full cooperation mode” during this year’s budget process.

“We’ve been doing a lot of things together. Whether it be roof projects or getting library media furniture for a school, doing the fortification projects, or working on a budget that, I think, will allow us to continue to be able to do what we need to do,” said Clouet.

He added that the constant communication between he and the Mayor played a big role in being able to come to a figure that served the board and worked well for the city.

“He’s been very forthcoming about his point of view and I’ve shared mine and I think we have come to a good sense of what’s fair and sustainable.”

Lauretti agreed that the Board of Ed had done a “better” job at arriving at a proposal than in recent years, but still doesn’t agree with their method.

“It’s progress, but they didn’t do zero-based budgeting. That’s nonsense,” said Lauretti. “First of all their budget is too hard for anyone to understand and I don’t expect anyone to understand it, but they don’t do zero-based budgeting.”

The Board of Ed requested $71,117,231 for 2016-2017 back in February. The Aldermen gave  $69,345,000 to the school district for 2015-2016.

“It’s still early in the process,” said Holden. “We also understand he has agreed to take $300,000 in propane onto his side of the budget, which would leave us only $347,000 short of our proposal. Hopefully we’ll be able to close that gap. We’re in a much better place than we have been in recent years, I see this as a positive thing.”

The Board of Ed will stand before the Board of A&T on April 6 to present and defend a more detailed version of their proposed budget.