WESTPORT, Conn. Despite a $40,000 cut approved by the Board of Finance on Tuesday night, the Public Works Department will still have more money for road paving projects next year than this year.
In a 4-3 vote, the finance board members cut the overall proposed public works budget of $9.07 million by $130,000. That includes a $90,000 savings Public Works Director Steve Edwards found due to lower costs for road salt. The other $40,000 was cut from road maintenance.
Even with the reduction, the department will have at least $730,000 more for road paving than it does now, which Edwards said will allow his department to play catch-up on maintenance. The overall cut brings the total public works budget to $8,940,447.
Edwards can ask the finance board to reinstate the $40,000 for road repairs April 11 during a special restoration hearing. During this hearing, department heads whose budgets were slashed can contest the cuts. If the board fails to restore funds, department heads can also appeal to the Representative Town Meeting, the towns legislative body, which has final approval of the town and education budgets.
The finance board approved, without changes, the proposed general government budget of $5.2 million; $4.4 million for the Parks and Recreation Department; and a $9,280,882 budget for the police department.
On the recommendation of Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury, the board reduced the proposed $9.76 million fire budget by $65,856. This savings, Kingsbury said, will not impact fire safety or other services the department provides to the community. With the reduction, the fire budget represents a 1.6 percent increase over the current year.
The board will continue its review of the municipal budget Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., at which time it is expected to take a vote. It will review and vote on the Board of Education budget Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
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