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Fairfield RTM Makes Over $1 Million In Cuts To School, Town Budgets

The Fairfield Representative Town Meeting gathered until late in the night to discuss the town budget.
The Fairfield Representative Town Meeting gathered until late in the night to discuss the town budget. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

FAIRFIELD, Conn. - After an unbelievable seven-hour session Monday night, the Fairfield Representative Town Meeting cut $1,053,234 from the municipal and the education budgets.

The cuts will decrease the tax increase from 2.23 percent to 1.98 percent, which puts it below 2 percent for the first time in five years, RTM Representative John Donovan said.

The RTM started its meeting Monday at 8 p.m. but didn't finish the budget until after 3 a.m. Tuesday.

The group spent the first four hours debating the education budget , eventually cutting $500,000, despite protests from many in the public assembled.

After a short break, the RTM began discussing the municipal budget, cutting $553,324 from the line items., including $75,000 from the library materials budget.

“We’re challenged to keep Fairfield affordable,” said RTM representative Laura Devlin of District 3. She said she did not enjoy cutting the line items, but because the “town is becoming unaffordable” she and the other RTM members were forced to make hard choices.

A total of $250,000 was also cut from $2.5 million road-paving budget.

An additional $125,000 was cut from the contingency budget, and the Health Department lost $15,234 that had been slated for a new position for a part-time health aide.

In addition, the RTM cut $38,000 from the IT Department. That kept the department's budget at current levels and will cut back the expansion of the fiber optic network that had been planned.

“These cuts are not absorbed equally among all members of our community,” Selectman Cristin McCarthy Vahey said during the discussion of the municipal budget. She said the $35 saved per household through the more than $1 million in cuts does not accurately reflect what each home in Fairfield would have to pay.