FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Gov. Dannel Malloy’s $170 million cuts in state spending will have a major impact across Connecticut. But the effects on Fairfield specifically are still unknown.
“I haven’t gotten anything in detail from the state,” First Selectman Michael Tetreau said. “I’ve got my fingers crossed, but I’m waiting to see the specifics.”
Connecticut’s budget will be short $375 million in Fiscal Year 2013, State Comptroller Kevin Lembo predicted last month. On Monday, he raised that estimate to $415 million.
Malloy announced $170 million in spending cuts Wednesday as a first step toward making up the deficit. The state legislature will meet in December to find ways to account for the rest.
Fairfield had estimated that it would receive more than $8.6 million in state funding this year, which accounts for 3.17 percent of the town’s revenue. The town has not received a detailed breakdown of the governor’s plan,Tetreau said Monday, and he could not say what effect it will have on Fairfield.
The Fairfield Public Schools’ funding is safe, at least for now, Superintendent David Title said Monday. Fairfield’s schools expected to receive nearly $6.4 million in state money for 2012-13.
“The cuts [Malloy] made won’t have any significant impact on Fairfield this year,” Title said in an email. “However, the ‘rescission’ cuts are limited to only certain line items in the budget. The upcoming special session will cut more and will not be limited.”
The Educational Cost Sharing program, which accounts for $3.5 million of the Fairfield Public Schools’ funding, is the biggest concern, Title said. “Fiscal cliff” discussions in Congress are also a concern, he said. Fairfield Public Schools get $2.5 million from the federal government per year, and nationwide budget cuts could affect Fairfield’s allotment.
The federal spending debate could affect the state government’s revenue as well, Lembo said. “I am also concerned that other national and international economic factors could further erode the consensus revenue forecast,” he said in a statement. “I will be closely monitoring any changes in these areas.”
Fairfield’s town departments don’t receive federal money, outside of one-time grants from FEMA or other agencies. But Tetreau is concerned about spending cuts from the General Assembly. Fairfield already has to make up for costs from Hurricane Sandy and the PCB cleanup at Osborn Hill School by the end of the fiscal year.
“What’s most difficult for the towns is that our tax rates for the current year have been set,” Tetreau said. “So anything they do within the current year is going to have a dramatic impact, because we’re going to have to cut services and make up those cuts between now and the end of the year.”