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First Selectman’s Corner: A Budget Update

Leslee Hill

Dear Canton Residents,

I am sure many of you have been following the news from Hartford regarding Governor Malloy’s state budget proposal and its potential impact on town budgets. There is still great uncertainty about what the final state budget will entail, and it is likely the state will not adopt a budget before June. However, given the Governor’s proposal, we are concerned about the impact of anticipated significant reductions in state funding for education, and a potential liability for one-third of the cost of the teacher pensions. The Board of Selectmen and Board of Education have worked diligently to prepare their budgets, which have been approved by each Board and delivered to the Board of Finance for their consideration. I want to explain how we considered the state budget issues as we formulated the BOS budget. … Continue Reading

Board of Education to Host Budget Hearing, Selectmen to Continue Discussion

February 21, 2017 Budget, Government, Schools No Comments

The newly adopted town seal.

CANTON — There will be several relevant meetings this week as local officials continue to grapple with how to refine their 2017-18 budget plans in light of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget proposal that includes steep cuts in state aid. 

With recent budget proposals by Schools superintendent Kevin D. Case and Chief Administrative Officer Robert H. Skinner, the town, under normal circumstances, would be looking at a very preliminary budget of  $38,264,351, an increase of 1.87 percent, which would result in a .22 mill rate increase, impacting the “average” taxpayer $53. And those numbers would likely be trimmed even more after further scrutiny by the boards of education, selectman and finance. 

However, this year is much different from most. The boards of education and selectmen are still reviewing the respective proposals but more importantly, the town is grappling with how to prepare for cuts proposed by the governor and whether the state legislature will restore some or all of the funding. At a recent “super board” meeting, Skinner told town officials from various boards that the governor’s reductions in state aid, combined with some additional expenses and other changes, would result in a revenue reduction of $2,117,067 for the fiscal year.If everything else were to stay the same, that average taxpayer, whose home is assessed at some $238,000, would be looking at an increase more along the lines of $707 under the governor’s plan.

Officials are hopeful that the state legislature will take action and, this week, will receive an update from state Sen. Kevin Witkos and state Rep. Tim LeGeyt. Both officials will be in town Wednesday night to provide updates – first at a Board of Education budget hearing and then to the Board of Selectmen. … Continue Reading

Canton Superintendent Proposes Budget with 1.84 Percent Increase

February 8, 2017 Budget, Government, Schools No Comments

Canton Schools superintendent Kevin D. Case has proposed a 2017-18 budget of $25,629,086, which would represent a $462,388 or 1.84 percent increase in spending over 2016-17 levels.

With the uncertainty whether the state will continue to fund education at its current levels, a $1-million plus increase in “fixed costs,” a state law stipulating that towns keep total budget increases under 2.5 percent and $1.6 million in administrator requests, educators said it was an especially difficult budget process. 

“This has been one of the most challenging budgets I’ve put together in my 10 and a half years in Canton,” Case said.

Among the cuts in the proposed budget would be the reduction of 12 full-time equivalent positions in non-certified staff. Case said specific positions have yet to be determined but those would include positions such as paraprofessionals and tutors.

“It’s a hard decision because we are not over-staffed by any means,” Case said. “These are valuable staff members – very, very difficult decision for me.” … Continue Reading

Canton CAO proposes budget with 2.44 percent increase

February 6, 2017 Budget, Government, Schools No Comments

By John Fitts 

Canton Chief Administrative Officer Robert H. Skinner has proposed a town 2017-18 spending plan of $10,589,284, an increase of $252,200 or 2.44 percent over approved 2016-17 spending levels. 

The operations budget is proposed at $9,467,568 while capital improvement funding is pegged at $1,121,716. 

A driving factor in the proposal is the state’s mandate that caps municipal expense increases to just 2.5 percent. (Just a few items are excluded).

“Obviously there were sacrifices that had to be made to meet the cap,” Skinner wrote in his budget introduction. “That is why almost half the departments have decreases in their bottom lines.”

Additionally there are no significant new initiatives in the plan, Skinner noted. 

While there is a special revenue funded increase in hours for the recreation coordinator, additional hours for the building official and the combination of two, part-time library positions to create a full-time one, there are no “new” positions in the budget. 

… Continue Reading

Canton Electors Approve Town’s 2016-2017 Spending Plan

By John Fitts

CANTON — By a tally of 162—9, electors on Monday night approved the town of Canton’s 2016-2017 spending plan of $37,549,199 – a 1.94 percent increase in expenditures over the approved 2015-2016 budget of $36,834,299.

Each component of the budget is as follows.

  • Board of Education – $25,166,699, a 1.1 percent increase over the 2015-2016 approved budget of $24,901796
  • Board of Selectmen – $10,337,064, a 3.5 percent increase over last year’s $9,982815
  • Board of Finance (largely debt service for bonded projects such as the track and roads)  -$2,045,436, a 4.91 percent increase.

Under the plan, taxes will increase 1.94 percent and the mill rate will go from 29.19 to 29.76 – or $29.76 for every $1,000 of assessed property.

Town officials said the owner of an “average” Canton home valued at $341,189 and assessed at $238,832, would see taxes go up $135.

… Continue Reading

Annual Town Budget Meeting Set for Monday Night

On Monday night, the town will hold its annual budget meeting in the Canton High School auditorium.

Electors will consider whether to approve a spending package of $37,549,199, a 1.94 percent increase in expenditures over the approved 2015-2016 budget of $36,834,299. It is a 1.29 percent increase over the 2015-2016 revised budget of $37,069,299.

The plan would raise the mill rate from 29.19 to 29.76, costing the “average” taxpayer an additional $135 per year.

The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. in the Canton Middle/High School auditorium, 76 Simonds Ave.  … Continue Reading

Parents Urge Board of Finance to Leave Proposed Education Budget Intact

At the recent Board of Finance public hearing, several parents add their support for the education budget. Photo by John Fitts

At the recent Board of Finance public hearing, several parents add their support for the education budget.
Photo by John Fitts

CANTON – A group of parents did their best last week to send a message as the Board of Finance prepares to deliberate on proposed 2016-2017 spending levels.

“I’m here tonight to ask the Board of Finance to accept the Board of Education budget with no further cuts,” Canton parent Andrea Barber said at a budget hearing last week. It was a sentiment echoed by many.

The Board of Finance hearing was to gather input on the proposed 2016-2017 budgets, especially the Board of Education and Board of Selectmen spending plans.

The Board of Education has proposed a budget of $25,266,699, a $364,903 or 1.47 percent increase over the 2015-2016 approved budget of $24,901,796.

The Board of Selectmen has proposed a 2016-2017 budget of $10,350,064, which would represent an increase of 3.68 percent over the 2015-2016 approved spending levels of $9,982,815.

While there was some support for the Board of Selectmen plan, education dominated the discussion, particularly in the area of class size. It’s been an issue for some time now.

In his proposed 2016-2017 budget, Superintendent Kevin D. Case recommended the district fund 5 third-grade teachers (There are currently 6). While the current second graders are spread throughout 5 “sections,” several parents advocated for six, stating that 18 and 19 in a room is actually dramatically different from 22 and 23 when it comes to space, social needs, individual attention and more. Soon, the Board of Education will consider Case’s proposal to fund that the position be funded from the Open Choice grant, monies the district receives for integrating Hartford students into its classrooms.

While that position is not in the budget plan before the Board of Finance, school officials have shown that further reductions would likely mean the elimination of a fourth-grade teacher, potentially putting that grade in a similar position. The Board of Education’s policy allows for as many as 26 in a classroom but parents remain passionate about the lower sizes. (The Board of Education has also agreed to revisit that policy).

At the hearing Thursday, approximately 30 parents came out to support the education budget and several spoke. … Continue Reading

Board of Education Budget Hearing Moved to Wednesday

February 23, 2016 Budget, Government, Schools No Comments

With expected snow Tuesday, and early dismissal at Canton Public Schools, administrators have postponed the Board of Education meeting as well and set a new location.

On Tuesday, Canton Schools followed an early release schedule and the  p.m. budget information session has been canceled.

Some weather forecasters are predicting snow to start falling after 1 p.m. The National Weather Service is predicting snow will come mostly after 5 p.m. Snow is expected to change into freezing rain into Wednesday morning. After 8 a.m. Wednesday, the precipitation is expected to change to all rain.

Superintendent Kevin Case said the Board of Education meeting, set for 7 p.m. will be postponed until Wednesday and will now take place in the Canton High School library.  … Continue Reading

Budget Meetings Now Set for Wednesday

February 22, 2016 Budget, Government, Schools No Comments

Please note the Board of Education meeting is now postponed to Wednesday and will now take place at the high school. 

Those interested in commenting on the proposed education or general government budgets will have the chance to do so this week.

The boards of Education and Selectmen will both hold budget meetings this week as they peruse proposals from School Superintendent Kevin D. Case and town Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner. Generally those boards will make some changes before adopting a proposal that will then be forwarded to the Board of Finance.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24, the Board of Education will host a meeting which includes a public hearing on Case’s proposed 2016-2017 budget of of $25,422,314, a $520,518, or 2.09 percent increase over approved 2015-2016 spending levels. The meeting takes place at Canton High School.

Earlier in the day, Case will hold budget informational sessions  – slated for 10 a.m. at the Community Center and 2 p.m. at Cherry Brook Primary School. … Continue Reading

Canton Superintendent Proposes $25.4 Million School Budget

February 12, 2016 Budget, Government, Schools No Comments

logoCanton Schools Superintendent Kevin D. Case has proposed a 2016-2017 budget of $25,422,314, a $520,518, or 2.09 percent increase over approved 2015-2016 spending levels.

In presenting the budget to the Board of Education Thursday night Case said the district prepared the budget realizing that there are many needs in town that could affect taxpayers.

“This has been one of the most challenging budgets I’ve ever had to put together,” Case said. … Continue Reading

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