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April 7, 1997

By Megan Porter,2014-05-07 17:05
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April 7, 1997

    Town of Orange, Connecticut

    BUDGET MESSAGE

    May 11, 2009

I am pleased to submit the 2009-2010 proposed budget for the Town of Orange. This document is the culmination of many hours

    of deliberation by the Board of Finance, with input from department leaders, members of the Town’s Boards and Commissions, and management and support staff who worked diligently throughout the process. The focus of the 2010 budget is to continue to offer the core level of services the Town has traditionally provided, while keeping in mind the ability of our taxpayers to pay for those services.

This has been a most challenging budget complicated by the rapid decline in state and national economic conditions.

    Unfortunately, the effect of the economy has also been felt here in Orange, as we are impacted by lost revenue from interest income, real estate conveyance fees, State aid and other revenues. The Board of Finance developed this budget acutely aware that the

    Town’s taxpayers are already burdened by the worsening economy. We recognize that these are unprecedented times and it would

    be unreasonable to ask taxpayers to absorb an additional burden in this difficult economic climate. Accordingly, the 2009-2010

    proposed budget represents a financial plan that will continue to provide quality services to all those that live and work in Orange, at an affordable level. Additionally, this document articulates the Town’s plan for responsibly and efficiently allocating our resources

    to those programs necessary to protect the community’s physical security, maintain town facilities and infrastructure, preserve the quality of our core services, and continue our unwavering commitment to the education of our children.

The Budget Process

    The budget process begins in late October with the preparation and submission of departmental budgets to the Director of Finance. Each departmental request is reviewed and evaluated with the First Selectman for submission of a recommended budget to the Board of Finance. The Board of Finance then conducts individual hearings and discussions with department management. During this

    process, line item expenditures are adjusted in an effort to balance requested expenditures with available resources. In addition, this year department leaders have been asked to review fees charged to ensure that Town fees cover the costs of services provided, and to continue to look for more effective and efficient methods to deliver services for the 2009-2010 fiscal year and beyond. Inevitably, there are some unanticipated costs that occur when projecting anticipated expenditures into the future. Toward that end, it is

    incumbent on the administration of any municipality to maintain a sufficient undesignated fund balance to be responsive to those unplanned events and costs.

Fund Balance

The Town’s Fund Balance is a measure of its capacity to withstand financial emergencies and to provide for unforeseen emergent

    project expenditures. As we strive to cope responsibly with these uniquely challenging economic times and preserve the quality of town services, the Board of Finance has settled on the use of $800,000 from the undesignated fund balance to assist in tax relief as a result of lost non-tax revenue. Subsequently, the Board projects the undesignated fund balance at June 30, 2010 to be

    approximately $7.4 million, or 13.6% of the 2009-2010 operating budget. This reserve is well above the Town’s policy of a

    12.5% fund balance and allows for additional use of the fund balance as a revenue source in the 2010-2011 fiscal year to mitigate the impact of possible future revenue losses on taxpayers, if necessary.

Revenue

    The net grand list for October 1, 2008 equaled $2,170,492,585, or an increase of .9 of 1%, as compared to the October 1, 2007 net grand list. Business personal property increased by 20.1% net, when compared with totals posted in 2007. The major contributor to this increase was, once again, Connecticut Light and Power. The motor vehicle personal property decreased by 3.9% net as

    compared with totals posted in 2007. This decrease was the largest since the October 1, 1991 grand list and may be attributed to the consumer credit crunch, rising unemployment and an accelerated rate of decline concerning average retail value on six and

    eight cylinder vehicles during the period of high gasoline prices. Overall, residential property comprises approximately 70% of the grand list, and the slight growth in the real estate section of the 2008 grand list reflects both the regional slow down in new construction and the general economic decline.

    As the Town enters year three of the five year phase-in previously adopted by the Boards of Selectmen and Finance, the Board of Finance remains sensitive to the impact of the phase-in and the subsequent increase in taxes already in place at the start of the budget process. The Board of Finance struggled with the added burden of lost non-tax revenue, which is used to offset the property tax levy. Reductions in interest income, building fees, state aid, and other revenue, combined with the goal of minimizing the tax increase, required a practical approach to the development of this budget. The diligent efforts of the Board of Finance resulted in a Town mill rate that decreases to 26.1 mills for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Operating Expenditure:

    The 2009-2010 proposed budget reflects a .7% increase in expenditures from the 2008-2009 fiscal year budget. The Town

    government budget decreased by 4%; it is $745,908 less than the 2008-2009 budget. However, the town’s portion of the Amity

    Regional School budget increased by 5.3% which equates to $965,551 more than the Town’s allocation in the current fiscal year.

    This is the greatest portion of the overall budget increase. The Orange Board of Education budget increased by .9%, or $147,977. Most of the Town government department budgets were decreased and the Town is expecting to reduce employee compensation by

    $200,000 in the proposed budget. Accordingly, the total budget for fiscal year 2009-2010 is $54,270,974; $367,620 more than

    the 2008-2009 fiscal year budget.

Capital Expenditure:

    Capital expenditures are limited to $175,000 in the proposed budget, which reflect a soundly scrutinized decision process by the Board of Finance. The funded items that were prioritized for the 2009-2010 fiscal year include $100,000 for the replacement of windows at Peck Place Elementary School; $50,000 for the replacement of the Police Department’s Computer Aided Dispatch Records Management computer system, that is utilized for all the department’s record management needs and replaces a system that

    is currently several versions behind a new system; and $25,000 for paving at High Plains Community Center to provide much

    needed parking. These funds will be provided by the undesignated fund balance, and have already been factored into the

    projected fund balance at June 30, 2010.

The compilation of the annual town budget is a dynamic process that requires support and cooperation from so many, and I would

    like to extend my most sincere thanks to all those who participated in the development of this financial plan. Special recognition goes to the outstanding staff of the Town’s Finance Department, specifically Al Chiarenzelli, Audrey Geer, Leda Keeney, Katie

    Kiehl, Deborah Satonick, and Sue Devine for their tremendous efforts. I would also like to express my appreciation to all the

    department managers who did an excellent job in preparing their budget proposals, and for their assistance in the preparation of this document. Lastly, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to the First Selectman and the members of the Board of Finance for their dedication, commitment and support in preparing the 2009-2010 Town of Orange proposed budget.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Pamela F. Mangini

    Director of Finance and Administration

    Members of the

    Orange Board of Finance

    Kevin M. McNabola Chairman

Kevin Houlihan - Vice Chairman

    Ralph Aschettino

    John Cifarelli

    James Leahy

    Kevin T. Moffett

    Richard Zorena alternate

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