Budget season is in full swing in East Lyme and in the coming fiscal year, there seems to be no where to go but up.
The Town of East Lyme's budget for fiscal year 2013-2014, as proposed by East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica, is $22,249,009. That's a 6.1 percent increase over the 2012-2013 approved budget of $21,001,177.
Some of that increase reflects items such as wages and benefits for union employees (including retirement benefits for former school employees), or rising insurance costs, which are beyond the town's control. In a letter to residents, Formica details all of the major increases and the reasons for each.
Increases to the Capital Budget
One of the biggest increases was evident in the town's Capital budget, which went up by 69 percent to $1,346,499. The Capital budget includes funding for a wide variety of items, including previously approved expenditures for infrastructure improvements and equipment upgrades. Some of the specific line items under the Capital section of the proposed budget are:
- $50,000 to replace roofs on town buildings
- $50,000 for sidewalk repairs
- $70,000 to finish the Grand Street Boat Launch
- $36,400 for new equipment for Niantic and Flanders Fire Department
- $26,762 to upgrade the server for the town's Emergency Services
- $6,000 for new snow plows, to name just a few projects under Capital.
"You have heard me say that while we must run the town like a business, unlike most businesses the town will be here 100 years from now, so it is important to adequately maintain our infrastructure, replace older vehicles and equipment and efficiency in costs and plan for the future," Formica writes.
Other Increases Both Approved and Denied
East Lyme's Parks & Recreation budget also saw a large increase, going up by 17.9 percent to $927,721. The department asked for an additional $140,836 for fiscal year 2013-2014 to pay for additional equipment and staffing that will be needed to maintain the newly-expanded beach along the Amtrak railroad and new facilities at Cini Park.
East Lyme Emergency Management also requested that the town hire an additional dispatcher. Formica said he recommended against doing that, however, as the town is currently exploring the feasibility of creating a regional dispatch center with the towns of Waterford and New London.
The Board of Education Budget
The East Lyme School District's proposed budget, which was accepted by the Board of Education on Monday, is nearly double the town's budget, at $42,591,731. That's $1,377,189 higher than the previous school budget, representing an increase of 3.34 percent.
Combined, the town and school district budgets for East Lyme add up to $64,840,740, a 4.27 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.
Formica presented his proposed budget for the town of East Lyme to the Board of Selectmen last week and to the Board of Education this week. It will be reviewed and possibly revised by the Board of Selectmen and by the Board of Finance before it will be officially presented at a public hearing.