$1.4 million returned to Finizio's New London's budget plan

New London - The City Council Finance Committee on Monday restored about $1.4 million to the mayor's proposed 2013-14 budget, vowing to keep the library and the senior center open, continue to fund youth activities and restore nearly all the cuts proposed in the fire and public works departments.

But the police budget, which was cut $1.4 million and would require 20 layoffs, was not fully funded Monday. Police are still short about $1 million, but Council President Michael Passero, a member of the finance committee, said the budget is not complete and more changes will be made.

Despite the added spending, the additions to the budget would be offset by about $838,000 in new revenues, a $400,000 cut to the school budget, a $458,000 reduction in the unemployment compensation line and a $37,600 reduction in the disability compensation line.

Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio's proposed $81 million budget, a 3 percent increase in taxes, will remain the same, according to the finance committee. The tax rate would go from 26.60 mills to 27.42 mills.

The committee voted 2-1 to forward the proposed changes to the finance director to recalculate the budget. The committee will review the budget again next Monday before it is forwarded to the full council for a vote.

Councilor Donald Macrino, chairman of the finance committee, and Council President Michael Passero, a member, voted in favor of the changes. The third member of the committee, Councilor Adam Sprecace who brought his own set of proposed changes, voted no.

"I'm not able to support this at this time,'' Sprecace said, because the changes do not reinstate all positions in the police department. He said he would need more time to digest the proposed changes. His proposal would have eliminated any layoffs.

But Passero said the committee has to start somewhere and the changes he voted for are a start.

"I don't see anything that contradicts what Councilor Sprecace has come to the meeting with,'' Passero said. "In all fairness, I think we should be able to repair some of these issues."

The changes, if approved by the full council, will restore $250,000 to the library, $88,000 for youth affairs, $176,000 to recreation, $229,000 to the senior center; $350,000 each to public works and the fire department and $50,000 to the Office of Development and Planning.

The Board of Education's proposed 2.5 percent increase was cut to 1.5 percent.

But last month, school officials said they could probably find the $400,000 to hire five new elementary school teachers and a counselor at the middle school with savings in the special education and transportation budgets.



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