2014 – 2015 Borough Budget Adopted

Posted by Bob on May 30, 2014 under Daily Blogs | 3 Comments to Read

The Joint Boards of Mayor and Burgesses (“Joint Boards”) adopted the 2014 – 2015 Borough budget at a meeting Thursday, May 30, 2014.  An electronic copy of the budget can be viewed here.

The adopted budget was  $352,991.00 less in expenditures than the budget presented at Tuesday’s (5/27/2014) public hearing.  Adjustments were made to both the revenue and expenditure side of the budget relating to the pending sale of the Borough’s sanitation vehicles, to comply with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”).  The total budget for the 2014 – 2015 fiscal year is $115,241,177.00; or $4,333,754.00 more than the 2013 – 2014 budget.  This represents a 3.9% increase in spending from the previous year.  Approximately $4.4 million of that increase, however, is attributable to the increase in employee health care costs (approximately $3.3 million dollars for both municipal and board of education employees), federally mandated upgrades to Naugatuck sewer treatment facility ($800,000.00) and a repair to an existing sewer line ($345,000.00).   Those increases were offset by increases on the revenue side by using a portion of the Borough’s health insurance reserve fund and general fund balance.

The Board of Education budget was approved at $61,304,206.00, or $1,825,435.00 more than the 2013 – 2014 budget.  This represents an increase of 3.07% from the previous year.  Without the increases in employee health care costs, the Board of Education budget would actually be about 0.5% less than the 2013 – 2014 budget.

The impact  of the adopted budget to the mill rate is an increase from 44.8 mills to 45.06 mills.  This represents an increase in the mill rate of .26 mills, or 0.5%.   A mill represents one dollar for every thousand dollars of taxable property.   The median home value in Naugatuck according to www.zillow.com is $159,800.00.  The increase in taxes for such a home (assessed value at 70% percent of appraised value = $111,860.00) would be $29.08.  For those with Microsoft Excel or an equivalent program, a Real Estate Tax Calculator and a Motor Vehicle Tax Calculator can be accessed herein.

Real estate values by property owner can be viewed here.

Real estate values by street address can be viewed here.

Motor vehicle values from last year’s (2012 for the 2013 – 2014 fiscal year) grant list (actual value is subject to depreciation contained in the values provided from the state) can be viewed here.

The 2014 – 2015 adopted budget is subject to Naugatuck’s budget referendum process as described in the Borough Charter.

 

Budget Public Hearing This Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Posted by Bob on May 23, 2014 under Daily Blogs | Be the First to Comment

The Joint Boards of Finance and Mayor and Burgesses (“Joint Boards”) will host the annual public hearing on the Borough’s proposed 2014-2015 budget on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 6:30 PM, in the auditorium of City Hill Middle School (441 City Hill Street, Naugatuck, CT 06770).  A brief summary of the proposed budget will be presented at the beginning of the hearing, followed by an opportunity for taxpayers to comment on the proposed budget by department.  The proposed budget can be viewed here in both Microsoft Excel or .pdf format.

The Joint Boards will reconvene on Thursday, May 29, 2014, at Town Hall (229 Church Street, Naugatuck, CT 06770) to review the comments from the public hearing and formally adopt the 2014-2015 budget, which is subject to the Borough’s budget referendum process.  The current proposed budget translates into an increase in the mill rate of .61 of a mill over the current mill rate of 44.8 mills.  One of the biggest challenges of this year’s budget process has been to address the increases in health care costs on both the municipal and board of education budgets.  While required increases related to sewage treatment have also increased significantly, such costs are offset in the current proposed budget by the inclusion of surplus revenue from the Borough’s fund balance.  Efforts continue to find additional ways to reduce spending and/or analyze revenues for responsible increases.

To calculate real estate property taxes multiply the 2012 assessed value of the property (the column labeled new in the embedded link) by .0____ of the mill rate.  (Example 150,000.00 assessed home multiplied by .0448 current mill rate equals an annual tax of $6,720.00).  A mill represents one dollar for every thousand dollars of taxable property.  For those with Microsoft Excel or an equivalent program, a Real Estate Tax Calculator and a Motor Vehicle Tax Calculator can be accessed herein.

2014 – 2015 Budget Update – 5/13/2014

Posted by Bob on May 13, 2014 under Daily Blogs | Be the First to Comment

Naugatuck’s Board of Finance has been reviewing departmental budgets in preparation for the 2014 – 2015 Borough budget.  The proposed budgets for each department can be viewed at the following links in Microsoft Excel format.  Column F represents the amount approved for the 2013 – 2014 budget; Column H represents the amount requested by the respective department head or representative; and Column I represents the initial recommendation of the Board of Finance.

The budgets previously linked above in Microsoft Excel format may be viewed below in .pdf format.

All budgets at this point in the process are preliminary and subject to change as the process continues.  It is very likely that additional cuts will be made before a proposed budget is presented at public hearing, currently scheduled for Tuesday, May 27, 2014 (Day after Memorial Day).  The current budget calendar has been revised slightly, and can be viewed here.  All budget hearings are open to the public, and comment is encouraged at the public hearing.  Tonight’s (5/13/2014) budget hearing will review changes to the Naugatuck Visiting Nurses Association budget, and contain final reviews of both the education budget and municipal budget before presentation next Monday (5/19/2014) to the Joint Board of Finance and Mayor and Burgesses.

It is the responsibility of department heads and/or agency representatives to provide the Board of Finance with an accurate reflection of what they believe is needed to operate their respective department or agency. Unfortunately revenue is limited each budget year to meet such needs.  What often results at this stage of the process is requests for increases in funding well above the previous year’s expenditures for many departments.  While the media may occasionally reference such a significance increase in a particular department, budget presentations and initial recommendations are in their early stages.  All recommendations after initial presentation are still subject to additional scrutiny in the form of a final review by the Board of Finance, an initial approval of the Joint Boards of Finance and Mayor and Burgesses (“Joint Boards”), and the presentation of a proposed budget at public hearing before final adoption by the Joint Boards.  Some numbers in various line items at this stage of the process are nothing more than place holders until more information is obtained.

With the exception of the Board of Education budget Tri-Boards’ (Board of Education, Board of Finance and Board of Mayor and Burgesses) meeting, all budget hearings are generally held in the Commissioners Corner, Fourth Floor of Town Hall (229 Church Street, Naugatuck, CT 06770), beginning at 6:30 PM.  The Public Hearing, which is scheduled for Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 6:30 PM; will be held in the auditorium of City Hill Middle School (441 City Hill Street, Naugatuck, CT 06770).  All budget meetings are open to the public, but comment is reserved for the public hearing.

Portion of Candee Road to be Closed Tuesday (5/6/2014)

Posted by Bob on May 5, 2014 under Daily Blogs | Be the First to Comment

Paving and drainage work on Candee Road will require a portion of the road to be closed on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.  It is expected that the upper portion of the road past Village Circle will be closed from approximately 8:30 AM until about 2:30 PM.  Said closure is not expected to impact school bus routes.

Public Hearing on Sanitation Proposals Next Wednesday (4/30/2014)

Posted by Bob on April 25, 2014 under Daily Blogs | 5 Comments to Read

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses will host a public hearing on recent proposals received to privatize the Borough’s trash and recycling collection next Wednesday, April 30, 2014, beginning at 6:00 PM in the Hall of Burgesses (Town Hall, 229 Church Street, Naugatuck, CT 06770).  The public hearing will begin with a presentation by officials from the Borough’s Department of Public Works, followed by a public comment session.    No action by the Board of Mayor and Burgesses on any of the proposals is expected at the public hearing.

UPDATE (Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 3:15 PM):

A .pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation to be explained at tonight’s (4/30/2014) public hearing can be viewed here.

Felipe Flores to be Naugatuck’s Earth Day Mayor of the Day

Posted by Bob on April 23, 2014 under Daily Blogs | 2 Comments to Read

Local environmental activist Felipe Flores will be honored this Friday (4/25/2014), as Naugatuck’s Earth Day Mayor of the Day.  A brief ceremony recognizing Mr. Flores will take place on the patio of Town Hall (229 Church Street, Naugatuck, CT 06770) this Friday (4/25/2014), beginning at 10:00 AM.  The ceremony is sponsored by the Naugatuck Cultural Council and is open to the public.

Mr. Flores emigrated to the United States from his homeland in Mexico in 1983.  He was educated at the National Autonomous University of Mexico earning a degree in physics.   He later earned a masters in education at the University of Bridgeport.  Mr. Flores settled in Naugatuck in 1989, with his wife Suzanne; where he raised his two children Julia and Sean.   Passionate about environmental protection and alternative energy, Mr. Flores’ was also an early supporter of preserving the Gunntown property as passive open space.  Working with 2012 Earth Day Mayor of the Day Vaneza Gouveia, Mr. Flores volunteered countless hours organizing supporters of passive open space at Gunntown and educating local officials about the unique, environmental ecosystem of the property.  After many years of spirited local debate, the Gunntown Passive Park and Nature Preserve was opened in 2010, preserving the land and its wildlife for generations to follow.  Commenting on being chosen as the 2014 Earth Day Mayor of the Day, Mr. Flores stated that “It is not the person but all the different people and organizations that have worked in Naugatuck to preserve the environment who are honored and to be celebrated on this day.”

Following the ceremony at Town Hall, the public is invited to Gunntown at 11:00 AM.   There Mr. Flores will instruct a unique, outdoor tai chi class at the story telling area in solidarity with all those celebrating Earth Day throughout the world.

 

2014 – 2015 Budget Season Update – 4/1/2014

Posted by Bob on April 1, 2014 under Daily Blogs | 2 Comments to Read

Naugatuck’s Board of Finance has been reviewing departmental budgets in preparation for the 2014 – 2015 Borough budget.  The proposed budgets for each department can be viewed at the following links in Microsoft Excel format.  Column F represents the amount approved for the 2013 – 2014 budget; Column H represents the amount requested by the respective department head or representative; and Column I represents the initial recommendation of the Board of Finance.

The budgets previously linked above in Microsoft Excel format may be viewed below in .pdf format.

All budgets at this point in the process are preliminary and subject to change as the process continues.  It is very likely that additional cuts will be made before a proposed budget is presented at public hearing, currently scheduled for Monday, May 12, 2014.  The current budget calendar has been revised slightly, and can be viewed here.  All budget hearings are open to the public, and comment is encouraged at the public hearing.

It is the responsibility of department heads and/or agency representatives to provide the Board of Finance with an accurate reflection of what they believe is needed to operate their respective department or agency. Unfortunately revenue is limited each budget year to meet such needs.  What often results at this stage of the process is requests for increases in funding well above the previous year’s expenditures for many departments.  While the media may occasionally reference such a significance increase in a particular department, budget presentations and initial recommendations are in their early stages.  All recommendations after initial presentation are still subject to additional scrutiny in the form of a final review by the Board of Finance, an initial approval of the Joint Boards of Finance and Mayor and Burgesses (“Joint Boards”), and the presentation of a proposed budget at public hearing before final adoption by the Joint Boards.  Some numbers in various line items at this stage of the process are nothing more than place holders until more information is obtained.

With the exception of the Board of Education budget Tri-Boards’ (Board of Education, Board of Finance and Board of Mayor and Burgesses) meeting, all budget hearings are generally held in the Commissioners Corner, Fourth Floor of Town Hall (229 Church Street, Naugatuck, CT 06770), beginning at 6:30 PM.  The Tri-Boards meeting to discuss the Board of Education budget, which is scheduled for next Monday, April 7, 2014, 6:30 PM; will be held in the auditorium of Naugatuck High School (543 Rubber Avenue, Naugatuck, CT 06770).  All budget meetings are open to the public, but comment is reserved for the public hearing.

 

 

Trash/Recycling Collection to Resume Friday (2/14/2014)

Posted by Bob on February 13, 2014 under Daily Blogs | 3 Comments to Read

Naugatuck trash and recycling collection will resume on Friday (2/14/2014).  The following schedule will be in effect given the delay caused by today’s (2/13/2014) weather:

  • Regular Thursday collection will be Friday (2/14/2014); and
  • Regular Friday collection will be Saturday (2/15/2014).

Trucks may be dispatched earlier than usual on the day of collection depending on scheduling constraints and/or weather-related disruptions.  It is also possible that some streets will be collected later than normal as some collection crew members also assist with snow plowing and clearing efforts.  As always, please ensure all trash and recycling containers are placed curbside by midnight on the day of collection.  Collection is always subject to change as a result of weather-related disruptions.

Please direct any questions or concerns regarding trash and/or recycling collection to the Department of Public Works at 203-720-7072.  If your trash and/or recycling concern is after hours and urgent, please feel free to contact me by regular email (bob@bobmezzo.com) or on my cell phone (203-217-0876, please leave a name if you are texting).

Thursday (2/13/2014) Trash / Recycling Collection Postponed

Posted by Bob on February 12, 2014 under Daily Blogs | Read the First Comment

Trash and recycling collection will be delayed one day beginning Thursday (2/13/2014) as a result of the inclement weather predicted for tomorrow (2/13/2014).  The need for any further delays will be evaluated tomorrow (2/13/2014) and announced accordingly.

When post-storm collection resumes, trucks may be dispatched earlier than usual on the day of collection depending on scheduling constraints and/or weather-related disruptions.  As always, please ensure all trash and recycling containers are placed curbside by midnight on the day of collection.

Please be advised that the Borough’s Parking Ban is always in effect at the beginning of snow or ice fall, and remains in effect until twelve (12) hours after the end of a storm.  For more information about the Parking Ban, including a list of streets or portions thereof that are exempt, please access the link embedded herein.

Any information regarding cancellations and/or delays for Naugatuck Schools are made and announced by Board of Education officials.

Borough Board Recap – 2/5/2014

Posted by Bob on February 5, 2014 under Daily Blogs | Be the First to Comment

The following actions were taken by the Board of Mayor and Burgesses (“BMB”) last evening (2/4/2014) at the regular monthly meeting.

Information Technology Ordinance

The BMB approved ratification of the Borough’s first information technology (“IT”) ordinance by a vote of nine (9) to one (1).  The new ordinance, which can be viewed here, establishes a IT Commission in partnership with the Naugatuck Board of Education (“BoE”).  The seven-member commission will be named in the coming weeks.

As IT becomes an increasingly critical component of both municipal and BoE operations, the new ordinance recognizes the need for detailed analysis of and planning for the Borough’s future needs.  The new commission will advise and make recommendations to the members of the BoE, Board of Finance and BMB during the budget process and other important decision-making opportunities throughout the fiscal year.  We would like to thank Chairperson/Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi, Borough IT Director Jim Kallipolites and BoE IT Director Alan Merly for formulating an ad hoc IT committee that has already begun to address some of the subject matter in preparation for the 2014-2015 budget process.  We are also grateful for the volunteers who have come forth to serve on the committee and lend their expertise in the IT field to the Borough.

Anti-Scavenging Ordinance

The BMB also approved the adoption of an anti-scavenging ordinance, which can be viewed here (exact language subject to final approval by the Borough attorney).  The purpose of the ordinance was to address the growing concerns of citizens regarding individuals who rummage through the recycle and/or trash bins placed curbside by residents.   While several Burgesses stated no objections to individuals in financial need searching for returnable recyclables, there were concerns raised relative to public safety, littering and organized efforts to take recyclables in large amounts for profit.  Prior to the adoption of the ordinance, law enforcement officials had no way to prevent individuals from searching through trash and/or recyclables placed curbside for collection.  While there is no intention to enforce the ban in a overly-aggressive manner, the new ordinance provides law enforcement with a necessary tool to use to cease such activity on occasions when such actions become problematic.

Approval of New Collective Bargaining Agreement with Public Works Employees

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses (“BMB”) unanimously authorized execution of a new collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) between the Borough and the Public Works collective bargaining unit (“CBU”), American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Employees (“AFSCME, AFL-CIO”), Local 1303-12 (hereinafter “AFSCME Public Works”).  The agreement, which covers the period from July 1, 2012 (retroactively) through June 30, 2015, can be viewed here.  A Contract Settlement Summary of the CBA prepared by Director of Human Resources John Lawlor can be viewed here in both Microsoft Word and .pdf format.

The CBA includes changes in contributions to existing employee health benefits similar to the agreements reached with other bargaining units.  A summary of the CBA is as follows:

Health Care

The Borough achieved significant cost savings as a result of changes to health benefit packages offered to the members of the CBU.  Two choices are offered to members:  the traditional preferred provider organization or “PPO”; and the high deductible health plan or “HDHP”, which for the plan offered is a health savings account or “HSA”.  Many members of the CBU have already switched to the HSA through previous negotiations.

PPO

Retroactive to January 1, 2013, the premium cost share for members in enrolled in the PPO plan will increase from eight (8%) percent to nine (9%) percent.  Premium cost shares for members will increase to ten (10%) percent and eleven and 50/100ths (11.5%) percent respectively on July 1, 2013 (retroactively); and July 1, 2014.

HDHP or HSA

The Borough and the AFSCME Public Works CBU agreed to changes to the existing HSA plan that will result in savings. Retroactive to January 1, 2013, members will pay two (2%) percent for the premium cost share of the HSA.  That percentage will rise to  four (4%) percent effective January 1, 2014, and increase to six (6%) percent beginning January 1, 2015.    Effective January 1, 2013, the HSA deductible will shift to a TWO THOUSAND and 00/100THS ($2,000.00) DOLLAR / FOUR THOUSAND and 00/100THS ($4,000.00) DOLLAR plan.

More importantly, members enrolled in the HSA will gradually increase the deductible paid toward their respective plan in the following manner over the life of the agreement (plans are managed on the basis of calendar years rather than fiscal years):

  • Retroactive to January 1, 2013: members will pay thirty (30%) percent of the deductible;
  • Effective January 1, 2014: members will increase their portion of the deductible to forty (40%) percent; and
  • Beginning January 1, 2015: members will increase their portion of the deductible to fifty (50%) percent.

The changes to the health benefits contained in the CBA represent significant savings to the Borough over the three (3) year period.  The Borough is currently in the process of renegotiating health benefit rates and seeking bids from alternative carriers.  Our Department of Finance did not provide a fiscal analysis of the savings due to the volatility of the premium renewal figures already provided by the existing carrier, and the uncertainty of alternative pricing structures being solicited.

Pensions

No changes were made to the pension as an agreement was reached in a previous agreement to provide defined contribution pension plans to new members of the CBU.  The defined benefit pension plan is no longer offered to new hires in any of the Borough’s seven (7) municipal bargaining units.

Wages

Members of the CBU will receive increases in general wages for the following years at the following rates:

  • 2012-2013:  Two and 15/100ths (2.15%) percent (retroactive to July 1, 2012);
  • 2013-2014:  Two and 15/100ths (2.15%) percent (retroactive to July 1, 2013; and
  • 2014-2015:  Two and 20/100ths (2.20%) percent.

In addition, the Borough agreed to increase the cleaning/clothing/safety allowance payments effective July 1, 2012, from EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY and 00/100THS ($850.00) DOLLARS to NINE HUNDRED FIFTY and 00/100THS ($950.00) DOLLARS; and applicable meal allowance payments from SIX and 00/100THS ($6.00) DOLLARS to EIGHT and 00/100THS ($8.00) DOLLARS.

A fiscal analysis of the aforementioned totals including positions can be viewed in both Microsoft Excel and .pdf version. Said fiscal analysis uses conservative figures that do not include the yet-to-be-determined savings that will be achieved as a result of the changes to the health care plans as discussed above.

Other Changes

The Borough and the AFSCME Public Works CBU also agreed to other language changes in the new CBA, including but not limited to the following:

  • Clarifying the Borough’s right to use global position system (“GPS”) and/or security cameras in Borough vehicles;
  • Limiting the amount of unused sick time for which an existing employee (90 days) and new employee (30 days) can be compensated upon separation from employment with the Borough;
  • Establishing a drug and alcohol free workplace policy which authorizes testing;
  • Increasing the probationary period of new employees from ninety (90) to one hundred twenty (120) days; and
  • Streamlining the grievance process language.

Our administration would like to thank the members of the AFSCME Public Works CBU, particularly the representatives on the negotiating team, for respectful and productive dialogue.  Borough Labor Counsel Nick Grello, Director of Human Resources John Lawlor and Borough Controller Bob Butler were an integral part of the management process in addition to Director of Public Works Jim Stewart, and Public Works Superintendent Bob Roland.

We sincerely appreciate the hard work and commitment demonstrated by our public works employees on a daily basis. Their job requires hard work, long hours and is often performed in extreme weather conditions.  While their collective contributions often go unnoticed and, in my opinion, under-appreciated; Naugatuck could literally not function without them.  We also recognize the negotiating team for working toward a more sustainable health benefit system for its membership and the Borough alike.  The terms of the CBA are consistent with previous agreements reached with Borough teachers, clerical employees, visiting nurses, police officers, firefighters and supervisors which combined modest pay increases with significant health care savings. Given the constraints of the state’s current collective bargaining law , the new CBU represents an equitable compromise between both parties.  All Borough employment agreements for union and non-union employees are included on the Human Resource page of the Borough’s website (agreements can be accessed through the “choice a category” drop-down menu).

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