Ledyard officials hold off on setting supplemental bill rate

Ledyard — Residents here shouldn’t be looking for a supplemental tax bill in their mailboxes, at least not any time soon.

After already seeing a $1.5 million cut in state aid, town officials are worried about the possibility of additional cuts and have held off on setting a supplemental tax rate. This despite the state wanting the town to make a decision on the matter by Feb. 1.

“We still don’t know that all of the cuts have been accounted for,” said Bill Saums, chairman of the Town Council's Finance Committee. He added that the recent news the town would not receive a town aid road payment from the state is a prime example that more cuts may be forthcoming.

“We’re delaying as long as we can," he said. "We think it is better for the town to wait and see what the final outcome will be ... and then we can decide."

Town Council Chairman Linda Davis said it doesn’t seem the state will enforce that Feb. 1 deadline, and, at a meeting last week, Finance Director Marcia Hancock said a projection made in December suggested the town has enough cash to operate until mid-April.

Town councilors, though, have expressed a reluctance in waiting too long to make a decision.

Through a combination of cost reductions and furlough days,  the town has sought to make up for the more than $1.5 million shortfall in state aid. The school district has managed to find more than $750,000 in savings, but savings on the town government side were negated in large part by an IRS ruling that forced the town to contribute more to its employee pension plan. The Town Council, though, is still considering options that may alter the cost of the pension payment.

This leaves the town still facing about a $750,000 deficit with dwindling options available for additional cuts, especially given its history of maintaining tight town and school budgets.

“We’re running out of creative ways to cut without doing damage,” Saums said.

Since December, the Town Council and Mayor Fred Allyn III have discussed the strong likelihood of a supplemental tax bill, and have already researched what a supplemental payment would look like for residents. It is projected the supplemental tax bill would be for 1 mill.  

But town officials are still exploring other potential cost reductions, and have also requested a meeting with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to discuss the cuts Ledyard has received. Town officials have said Malloy has not responded to their request which was sent more than three weeks ago.

However, Republican legislative leaders have reached out to town officials regarding their request. Davis and Allyn plan to meet with those legislators in Hartford on Tuesday.

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