New London City Council to start working on budget

New London - The City Council will begin this week to go over the mayor's proposed $40.2 million general government budget for 2013-14, which includes cuts to the police, fire and public works departments and less funding for the library, the seniors and youth programs.

On Monday, the council's Finance Committee will begin a department-by-department review of all proposed spending at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. Public works and the police department will be among the departments discussed Monday.

Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio has proposed about a $1.4 million cut in the police budget, from $8.3 million to $6.8 million, and about a $400,000 cut in public works, from $7.4 million to $7 million.

Among the proposed changes to keep municipal spending down, Finizio said police officers could be laid off, a fire station could close and garbage collection could be reduced or privatized.

The Finance Committee will also review on Monday budgets for the probate court, the elections office, the law department and public utilities department.

While the municipal side of the budget is about $1 million less, the school department has requested - and Finizio is supporting - a 2.5 percent increase to cover raises, five new elementary school teachers and a middle school counselor.

The proposed school budget is $40.8 million, which is nearly $1 million more than the current budget of $39.8 million.

Because of proposed drops in state aid to cities, Finizio estimates the city will lose about $1.1 million from the state. Another $1.4 million, which in the past has been available for general government spending, would only be available in the form of capital improvement grants for specific projects.

If the budget is approved as proposed, taxpayers would be looking at just under a 1-mill tax increase. The tax rate would increase by 0.82 mills, from 26.6 mills to 27.42 mills.

Finance Committee meetings will continue Wednesday and Thursday. The City Council is expected to approve next year's spending plan by May 20. The new fiscal year starts July 1.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

Finance Committee budget review

• Monday: 4:30 p.m., probate court; 4:45 p.m., elections; 5 p.m., law; 5:30 p.m., public utilities; 6:15 p.m., public works; 7:15 p.m., police; 8:15 p.m., finance department.

• Wednesday: 4:30 p.m., fire; 5:15 p.m., library; 5:30 p.m., education; 6:30 p.m., recreation; 7:30 p.m., city clerk.

• Thursday: 5 p.m., Ledge Light Health District; 5:30 p.m.; planning and development; 6:30 p.m., mayor's office; 7:30 p.m., city council; 8 p.m., port authority, special revenue, debt service, capital projects, enterprise funds.

All meetings will take place at City Hall.

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