Jack Davis’ Budget Committee Report to the RTM on the 2016-2017 Town Budget

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The Representative Town Meeting’s Finance & Budget Committee report to the full RTM, delivered by F&B Committee Chairman Jack Davis, explained why the committee recommended a 2016-2017 town budget that increases taxes by 2.74 percent. 

The report was delivered in pieces, before each of several votes by the RTM that overwhelmingly approved the committee’s recommendations. Some parts of Davis’ report (dealing specifically with the Board of Selectmen’s town operating budget and the education budget) are published in separate articles on Darienite.com. Overall Budget Remarks

JULY, 1 2015 TO JUNE 30, 2016 BUDGET

I am Jack Davis, District 3 and Chair of the Finance and Budget Committee. I move “Section A” of RTM Resolution (16-12) Authorizing and Approving the July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 Budget. Is there a second?

Jon Zagrodzky Board of Finance 12-16

Board of Finance Recommends Town Budget Changes to Deal With State Grant Cuts

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Board of Finance Chairman Jon Zagrodzky wrote this explanation for his board’s proposed budget and a recommendation for the Representative Town Meeting, and sent it to RTM members, who also heard it read before the RTM vote. The RTM’s vote followed the recommendations of the Board of Finance and the RTM’s own Finance & Budget (F&B) Committee. Zagrodzky himself was unable to be at the RTM meeting, so board Vice Chairman Frank Huck read it to the RTM on Monday night. Here’s the full text:

On April 7, the Board of Finance (BOF) voted to submit a 2016-2017 budget to the RTM with a 15.73 mill rate or a 2.48 percent increase. Subsequent to this vote, the governor proposed eliminating Education Cost Reimbursement and MRSA [Municipal Revenue Sharing Act] grants for Darien, with a negative impact on the submitted budget of $1,317,925.

Michael Harman thumbnail

Remarks on the Education Budget from Town Officials

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Before the The Darien Public Schools budget was approved by the Representative Town Meeting, three speakers gave their remarks on it. Here are their speeches (as prepared):
Dennis Maroney’s Education Committee Report
Good evening, I am Dennis Maroney of district 3 and I am chairman of the Education committee.  I would like to move 16-12 B, an appropriation in the General Fund to the Education operating Budget of $93,847,816, may I have a second? The Board of Education budget increases over the past four years have ranged between 2.93% and 5.90% with an average budget increase of 4.42%.  The proposed budget for 2016-2017 requested increase is for 3.44%. The main driver of the recommended increase, is as usual Health/Insurance and Personal RC, (Responsibility center.)  This accounts for 77% of the entire budget. There is a projected increase of 10 students this year in the district.  As an aside, I have a graduating senior and when she entered the school district in 2003 there were 4,116 students enrolled in Darien public schools, the projected number for 2016-2017 is 4,857.  That is a net increase of 741 students.  From the turn of the century that number is 1,058.  Yes over 1,000 more students in 16 years.  A 27.8% increase over the past 16 years.

Jayme Stevenson budget 2016 5-10-16

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, RTM Budget Chair Jack Davis on Selectmen’s Budget

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First Selectman Jayme Stevenson and Jack Davis, chairman of the Representative Town Meeting’s Finance & Budget Committee, gave these statements (as prepared) to the RTM before it voted on the Board of Selectman’s budget for 2016-2017:
First Selectmen Jayme Stevenson’s Budget Remarks
Good evening Madam Moderator, RTM members fellow officials and our viewing audience. Thank you for the opportunity to address the RTM and ask for your support tonight of the Board of Selectmen’s budget as proposed by the Board of Finance. The Board of Selectmen has worked diligently since January to propose a very responsible operating and capital budget. I want to thank the F&B Committee and Board of Finance for joining the Board of Selectmen from the beginning of our process and offering wise counsel as we deliberated each and every line item in our budget. The outcome of our process is noteworthy.

Jack Davis RTM 5-9-16

RTM Passes $140.6 Million Budget, 2.74% Tax Increase to 15.77 Mills

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With a series of overwhelming votes and no dissenting voices, the Representative Town Meeting passed a budget that raised taxes by 2.74 percent, to 15.77 mills ($15.77 per $1,000 of assessed value). The new 2016-2017 Fiscal Year budget of $140,596,508 starts on July 1 and runs for 12 months. The approved budget includes:

The Board of Education budget of $93,847,816
The Board of Selectmen budget of $$46,748,692

The RTM made one adjustment from the budget passed by the Board of Finance on April 18 — it includes $171,485 in revenue expected from the Municipal Revenue Sharing Act program (MRSA) which reimburses the town for sales taxes collected within Darien and some other revenues collected here. Town Budget Changes in Reaction to State Aid Cuts

The Board of Finance had passed its April 18 budget assuming Darien would get no funding from the state for the upcoming fiscal year, since all funding had seemed tentative without an approved plan between the governor and the state Legislature. (The board had initially passed a budget on April 7 that contained the assumption the town would get about $1.1 million in state funding and a mill rate of 15.73.)

Although an announced state budget agreement between Gov. Dannel Malloy and Democrats in the Legislature hasn’t been voted on, the state has a legal obligation to give municipalities money from that particular fund, said Jack Davis, chairman of the Finance & Budget Committee of the RTM.

Zagrodsky 3-4-16

Finance Board’s Budget: Mill Rate Would Go Up 2.5%, to $15.73

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The Board of Finance passed a $141,399,008 budget that would raise Darien taxes 2.48 percent to a new mill rate of $15.73 (per $1,000 of assessed value). All votes at the board’s Thursday night meeting were unanimous, 5-0. The budget figures approved by the board are by no means final — the Representative Town Meeting will have the last word on the budget and taxes for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, which starts July 1. The 2016-2017 education budget, set by the Board of Education and also up for RTM approval, is $93,847,816, a 3.44 percent increase from the budget approved for this fiscal year.  

The town operating budget (covering everything but education spending and not including debt service or capital projects) is $30,519,897 for next year’s budget, which is down 0.45 percent from the budget for this year.

Michael Harman 3-6-16

Board of Ed Chairman: Spending Increase Due to Personnel, Training, Tech

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Higher personnel costs, together with more teacher training and the introduction of more technology into classrooms accounts for three quarters of the 3.44 percent increase in proposed school spending, according to the chairman of the Board of Education. Michael Harman, chairperson of the Board of Education, spoke early last week to the Board of Finance, as did First Selectman Jayme Stevenson at the official hand-off of their budget proposals for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The Board of Finance will gather more information this month and later decide whether to cut or increase the budgets before sending them both to the Representative Town Meeting for final approval. The next 12-month fiscal year starts July 1. __________

See also:

2016-17 Budget Proposals Presented to Darien Board of Finance
Stevenson Presents Selectmen’s Budget with New Proposals, New Cost Savings

Budget document: Board of Selectmen’s proposed 2016-2017 budget
Budget document: Board of Education’s proposed 2016-2017 budgetRevised school district Capital Projects Plan description


The Board of Education’s budget request of $93,847,816 is an increase of 3.44 percent over the 2015-2016 budget approved last year by the Representative Town Meeting.

Stevenson Presents Selectmen’s Budget with New Proposals, New Cost Savings

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A readjustment in retirement and retirement health-insurance payments helped lower this year’s Board of Selectmen’s proposed budget by 4.49 percent, according to the proposal presented by First Selectman Jayme Stevenson this week. Lower costs for heating fuel also made room for a bit more spending on other programs, Stevenson told the Board of Finance on Tuesday, when she presented the selectmen’s proposed 2016-2017 budget, which proposes $44,943,031 in town spending (a drop of $2,111,996 from this year). Here is Stevenson’s presentation (word for word, but with a bit removed), including many of the slides she used to illustrate it. To see and hear the full presentation, see the 39-minute Darien TV79 video (below) and the full set of slides here. Stevenson’s 2016-2017 budget presentation
[…] This year’s Board of Selectmen budget proposal follows on the Board of Selectmen’s theme over my administration of budgeting restraint and limiting requests to what we need to run our local government services and respond to the requests of taxpayers.

Zagrodsky 3-4-16

2016-17 Budget Proposals Presented to Darien Board of Finance

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First Selectman Jayme Stevenson and Board of Education Chairperson Michael Harman this week described what they want to spend more (and in some cases, less) money on in the 12 months starting July 1. Providing more room for Darien High School students, who now have a crowded cafeteria, more digital devices for students in various grades and more money for ongoing teacher training were among the priorities for more spending in the schools, Harman told the Board of Finance on Tuesday when he officially presented the budget to them. “The [school district] administration and the board are committed to providing an excellent education for all our children in Darien,” Harman said. “We continue to need the support of our parents and our community to fund the ever-increasing cost of education and the unfunded mandates of the state and federal governments.” The Board of Selectmen won’t need to spend as much money on pension and retiree medical costs, after an adjustment in calculations for what needs to be invested in that fund, but the board wants money for projects like renovating the public works garage, build more sidewalks and buy two new police cars, Stevenson said.

Brenner Budget 1-2016

Superintendent Proposes 3.85% Increase in Darien Education Budget

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Darien Public Schools spending would go up 3.85 percent, to $94.2 million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year under the budget proposal Superintendent Dan Brenner put forward to the Board of Education this week. Spending would rise $3,492,817 in Brenner’s plan. Asked what parts of the new initiatives he’s proposing are particularly important, Brenner said: “Two areas that we focused on were both professional development [that is, ongoing teacher training] as well as on the technology, both of which we think will make significant differences in kids’ lives inside the classroom.” Brenner pointed out that 64 percent of the budget goes to pay employee salaries, another 13 percent goes for benefits (for a total of 77 percent), both of which are largely already determined by pre-existing union contracts and other contracts. Add to that the 6 percent of the budget that pays for utilities and transportation (which are difficult to change and even more difficult in the short term), and the vast majority of a school district budget — in this case, 83 percent — is largely set, unless officials want to cut services.