Well, it looks like someone received my memo, attempted to modify his statement, and still managed to get it wrong.
As I mentioned yesterday, in Mayor Boughton's statement to the News-Times regarding his budget proposal, the honest one said the following:
Boughton said the budget proposal he plans to present Tuesday is based on getting the same state aid that the city received last year -- as outlined in Gov. M. Jodi Rell's budget proposal released in February.
If state funding was reduced, he said, it would impact the city's ability to deliver services and result in layoffs.
"I will not saddle the taxpayers with a large increase," he said. "(If state funding was reduced) we would have to do layoffs and eliminate positions. Right now, we are proposing no layoffs."
Yesterday, I carefully outlined why what the mayor was basing his proposal on (the Governor's budget proposal released in Feb) was simply ridiculous for the simple reason that Rell's budget is out-of-whack by 2 BILLION dollars.
Well, fast forward to last night and watch as the mayor attempts to clarify the comment he made to the newspaper.
Assuming a “freeze” of the phase-in of the revaluation, the impact of the proposed budget to our taxpayers includes a mill rate increase of .31 or little over 1%. A typical home that is assessed at $239,900 currently pays $5121.86 in property taxes. Under the proposed 2009-2010 budget, that same home would pay $5196.23 a difference of $74.36 for the year or approximately $6.00 per month.
Should the Legislature decide not to allow for a suspension of the phasein of the revaluation, we will adopt a mill rate that will reflect our spending plan and implement the next phase of the revaluation according to law.
I am also assuming that state aid will remain relatively flat for the coming fiscal year. Both Governor Rell’s budget, and the legislative Democrats budget that was released on Friday indicates that Danbury will be receiving approximately the same amount of state aid that it received last year.
While it's nice to see that 1.) Boughton is a reader of this site and 2). he clarified his statement, he STILL GOT IT WRONG.
Let me explain...
As they explained on Friday, the Democrats budget proposal WILL REDUCE MUNICIPAL AID BY 49-50 MILLION DOLLARS over the next two years...a fact which is WELL KNOWN TO JUST ABOUT EVERY MAYOR AND FIRST SELECTMAN IN THE STATE.
How do I know that...because members of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities were at the Capitol today basically begging state legislators to maintain funding towns and cites at the same rate.
CTNewsJunkie has the details.
Now that they’ve seen the Democratic majority’s budget proposal, which reduces municipal aid by $49 million over the biennium, local elected officials were back at the Capitol Wednesday asking legislators to maintain at the very least flat-funding for cities and towns.
Many of the officials, like East Hartford Mayor Melody Currey, said she’s already cut more than $8 million out of her town’s budget and she can’t afford for the state to withhold anymore. She said in this economy she cannot ask citizens to contribute more by paying higher property taxes, and she can’t ask the labor unions to give anymore than they already have.
“State aid cuts make a bad situation worse,” New Haven Mayor John DeStefano said. He said he even had to close a senior center in a re-election year.
New Britain Mayor Timothy Stewart said bluntly that he doesn’t have the “luxury” of raising property taxes in a re-election year.
“We are not sustainable without massive infusion of state money,” [Bridgeport Mayor Bill] Finch said. At the moment Finch said he’s faced with having to cut another $2.7 million from his budget.
He said that means he has to chose between laying off 39 cops, 43 fire fighters, closing all recreation programs, closing all senior centers, and closing all after school programs.
As you can see, mayors and first selectmen are already raising the red flags and are being straight with their constituents when it comes to the dire circumstances towns and cites are facing.
Shouldn't the mayor of the seventh largest city in Connecticut do the same and just tell the people the obvious...that the prospect of layoffs is a REAL STRONG POSSIBILITY and that basing his budget on the Governor's numbers is a disaster waiting to happen.
Look, it simple, we're facing a economic tsunami here in Danbury and when the governor and legislators at the Capitol finally agree to a budget, I can just about promise you that Danbury WILL receive a reduction in state aid. For those in the city's education system, this will spell disaster as I wouldn't be surprised if the state's Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funding for municipalities are reduced also.
The mayor is playing a tricky game of Russian Roulette as a good portion of his budget is based on what happens at the State Capitol...and at this point, the range in disagreement between the Democrats and the Governor's office is about the size of the Grand Canyon.
...something to consider as we enter the budget season.