WESTON, Conn. – Weston’s Board of Finance will hold a public hearing to talk about the town’s proposed 1.08 percent spending increase Wednesday night.
The Board of Selectmen approved a total town budget of $65.7 million in February. The figure includes $11.7 million in town government spending, $46.2 million for Weston Public Schools, $1.1 million in building projects and $6.5 million in debt payments. If the budget goes through unchanged, it would require a tax increase of about 0.58 percent this summer.
Much of the town government’s 3 percent increase would go toward public safety. The proposal includes hiring another officer and paying more for equipment and training for the Weston Police Department. It also covers a plan to keep the fire marshal to work additional hours. Some of the added costs will also go to social services.
The increase includes money to pay for utility costs at the Senior Center previously covered by the Board of Education’s budget. The Youth Services Director would also have her hours increased to meet added demand after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
The Board of Selectmen’s plan also includes cutbacks to the hours of staff in the tax collector’s office, the Parks and Recreation Department and the conservation planner. Those are more than offset by an increase in staff in the town’s Land Use Department.
The Board of Education’s request for the Weston Public Schools operating budget calls for an additional $706,000 in spending, a 1.55 percent increase. The Board of Selectmen recommended trimming the school board’s request by $100,000.
“The Board of Selectmen is very concerned about per-pupil costs, as well as an overall increase in light of declining enrollment,” First Selectman Gayle Weinstein wrote in her letter to the Board of Finance last month.
Specifically, the selectmen said the school system could do without a second contingency teacher, televisions in the middle school library and drug and alcohol consultant proposed in the school board’s budget.
The Board of Finance’s public budget hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, starting at 8 p.m. in the Weston Middle School cafeteria. Its recommendations will go to the Annual Town Budget Meeting on April 24. The full budget is available for viewing at the town clerk’s office and the town website.
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