FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s projected tax increase this summer could now be as low as 2.78 percent without more service changes, First Selectman Michael Tetreau said Friday.
Tetreau announced proposals for two cuts to the budget that would save taxpayers a combined $672,000 but would not impact staffing or town programs. If the Representative Town Meeting accepts the changes at its budget deliberations Monday night, the move would take about 25 hundredths of a percentage point off Fairfield’s projected tax increase.
When Tetreau first released his proposed 2013-14 town budget in February, it carried a nearly 6.4 percent tax increase. Since then the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance have cut more than $10 million from the town’s $287 million in proposed spending. After the Representative Town Meeting restored the town’s funding to the Pequot Library on April 22, Fairfield’s property taxes would have to rise about 3.04 percent without any further changes.
“Given the economic climate we continue to face with so many of our citizens still struggling because of unemployment or reduced incomes, it is incumbent upon our town to work even harder to continue to make appropriate budget cuts, create efficiencies and find savings without hurting essential town services and school services,” Tetreau said Friday.
The cuts Tetreau proposed Friday would be to the town’s debt service and fuel costs. He explained that the town’s purchasing department recently completed a contract for Fairfield’s fuel which will cost $172,000 less than expected for next year. He also plans to use an extra $500,000 from a bond premium the town got in its bond sale last summer toward Fairfield’s debt repayments.
The Representative Town Meeting will have the final say in the town’s 2013-2014 budget Monday night. Republicans on the board expressed interest in making further cuts to Fairfield’s budget to bring the tax increase below 2 percent.
Chief Fiscal Officer Robert Mayer said Friday the RTM would have to cut about $1.9 million in spending to reach that number after making the cuts proposed Friday. Tetreau added that he had not received any specific proposals for budget cuts as of Friday morning.
The public will be allowed to share their concerns about any potential budget cuts or Fairfield’s tax rate at the RTM’s budget session. The meeting is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. in the gymnasium of Fairfield Warde High School.