Montville proposed budget increase less than 1percent

Montville - Mayor Ronald McDaniel on Monday presented the Town Council with his $55,958,148 budget proposal, an increase of less than 1 percent over this year's budget.

McDaniel said the small increase was made possible because the Board of Education complied with a Board of Finance request not to increase its budget for 2013-14. With a flat education budget, he said he was able to put together a town budget that would require just a 0.17-mill increase to the tax rate.

Councilors Dana McFee and Joe Jaskiewicz complimented the mayor on his work on the budget, but Councilor Rosetta Jones said she would have preferred to see no tax rate increase, as there was a large increase this year.

McDaniel also gave the council his proposed five-year capital improvement plan. That plan would have the town spend $1,314,240 over the coming year, an amount that includes significant funding for projects and upgrades in the police, fire and public works departments as well as in the school district.

The Police Department asked the finance board to fund three new cars because four of its older vehicles now have more than 100,000 miles on them. The capital plan includes funding for two police vehicles and equipment such as cages and light bars, which will cost $280,000 over the next four years. It also includes funding for a replacement Gardner Lake police boat.

The capital plan also includes $1 million spread across five years for vehicle replacement within the Fire Department. That department hopes to replace one rescue truck and two pumper trucks.

The budget includes $500,000 for road paving by the Public Works Department next year, as well as funding for repairs to the Town Hall roof and an upgrade to Palmer Town Field.

The capital plan also allots $88,000 to the school board to replace a school bus, a portion of the $846,408 proposed for bus replacements over the next five years.

The plan also includes $45,000 for a security upgrade to Montville High School, which will be supplemented by a $45,000 grant. Montville Superintendent Pamela Aubin said the money will fund installation of interior cameras in hallways and common areas.

Next year's plan also includes $94,240 - also supplemented by a grant of the same amount - for a security system to be installed districtwide. That system would require visitors to swipe a card before school hours, preventing unauthorized access to the school, Aubin said.

The Town Council will review the budget over the next month and consider it for approval at a 6 p.m. meeting on May 13.

The councilors will also hold public hearings on the budget this month. The first will focus on the education budget and will be held at 6 p.m. on April 22 in the Montville High School auditorium. The second will be for comments on the general government budget and will be at 6 p.m. on April 24 in the Town Council Chambers.

k.catalfamo@theday.com

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