A responsible, forward-thinking budget

Each year the elected members of the Town Council have the responsibility of preparing and presenting a budget for the town. This year, all seven members took an active, thoughtful role in this process. Town Manager Denise McNair presented us with a budget in early March. We then met over the next few weeks to go through all department budgets, meeting with department heads and the Board of Education to determine where reductions might be possible. The council then presented the proposed budget at a Town Hearing on April 8.

I am very proud of the budget that is on the ballot for approval on April 29. This budget, with a modest increase of 0.32 mills, is not only fiscally responsible, but maintains the quality of life we have come to expect in Berlin.

This budget is forward thinking. Recognizing that we have pension obligations that must be met, we were able to double the funds going into that account. Additionally, we understand that there are capital items that will be reaching the end of their life cycle. For instance, we know that Scalise Field will need to be replaced in three to four years. Rather than borrowing money to replace the field, we have planned to set aside funds for the next three years so we have the full amount available when needed.

This budget is fair. It includes funding for a trash collection rebate for all condominium owners in town, ensuring condo residents receive the same service others in town do. It includes funding for our infrastructure, roads and bridges, to make sure that the roads we all use are safe. It funds the Board of Education at a rate that allows current curriculum and programs to continue.

This budget is responsible. All members of the Town Council understand the burden taxes place on all residents. We have looked critically at all areas of spending to ensure that savings are realized when possible. At the same time we looked critically to ensure that we did not place undue burdens on future councils. Maintenance of town buildings, capital and infrastructure expenditures must be continued to ensure that there is not a larger expense down the road.

Myself, and the other Democratic members of the Town Council feel strongly that the budget presented to you is the right budget for Berlin. We strongly encourage you to vote in favor of its adoption on Tuesday, April 29.

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