Update, 4/18: The RTM meeting mentioned below has been moved to McKinley Elementary School, 60 Thompson Street. It will still start at 7 p.m. Monday.
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Fairfield Senior Center and the Pequot Library will each plead their case to Fairfield’s legislators next Monday in an effort to reclaim funding cut by the Board of Finance.
The Board of Finance cut more than $2.5 million from the spending recommendations made by the Board of Selectmen earlier this month in an effort to reduce the tax increase expected this July.
Among the items taken out were the $350,000 given by the taxpayers annually to the Pequot Library, and a total of $68,441 the Fairfield Senior Center had planned to use to hire new staff. Both of those changes are now being appealed to the RTM.
The Pequot Library is asking for all or part of the $350,000 to be restored. The funding accounts for more than a third of the library’s annual budget, and its Board of Trustees has said that the Southport institution might have to close without the town’s help.
Members of the community have rallied behind Pequot in advance of the hearing. A petition to restore the funding gathered more than 2,000 signatures in its first week online. The library has also planned a rally on its Great Lawn this Saturday afternoon.
The Senior Center is asking the RTM to restore $53,261 of the money cut by the Board of Finance. The funding would allow the senior center to hire a full-time director next January. Hiring a Senior Center director was one of the main recommendations of the “Top Ten Committee,” which was tasked with finding 10 ways to improve service at the senior center.
The committee’s report found that Fairfield is the only one of the seven senior centers it studied as examples that did not have a distinct full-time director. The center is now managed by Human and Social Services Director Teresa Giegengack in addition to her duties running the rest of the HSS department.
“The center needs a director on the premises, full time, five days a week to supervise staff and bring to the center the innovation, creativity, and forward-looking thinking that it needs and deserves,” the report says.
The Town Charter allows any town department to appeal a Board of Finance budget decision to the Representative Town Meeting, Fairfield’s legislature. Two-thirds of the members present at the hearing must approve the appeal for it to go through.
The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, April 22, at the Board of Education’s conference room, on the second floor 501 Kings Highway E. The RTM’s regular April meeting will follow immediately afterward.
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