Fairfield, Connecticut, has a population of 60,855, and encompasses 31.3 sq. miles. In 2006, Money Magazine named it “The Best Place to Live in America”.
Greenwich, CT, has a population of 61,171, and encompasses 48 sq. miles (corrected from earlier draft) much of which is in low-density neighborhoods. Despite the land size differences, you might think the two towns should have comparable budgets. You might think so, but you’d be wrong. Fairfield’s proposed 2016-17 budget is $130 million. Greenwich’s is $427.9 million, up from last year’s $411 million.
Highlights of my proposed Townside budget are:
- ● For the first time in over 20 years, my Townside budget is proposed to be less than the prior year. I am proposing a Townside budget that is just under $130 million. Last year’s Townside budget set a record for the lowest increase in twenty years. This year we beat that record with a .22 percent decrease. [emphasis added]
- ● This budget does not reduce or defer any services.
- ● The drivers for this reduction are lower healthcare costs due to the move to a new healthcare plan for Town employees, lower annual debt service, lower workers compensation expense, lower pension costs and lower fees and professional services.
- ● This budget includes the annually recommended pension contribution, the annually recommended OPEB contribution, higher paving costs, higher sidewalk maintenance, more Public Works equipment, increased snow clearing expense, increased Senior Center support, increased Senior and Disabled Tax Relief, a supplemental contribution to surplus to support our AAA rating, and continued funding for school security personnel.
- If we can – fairly – blame our state’s horrendous spending and resulting budget disaster on 40 years of Democrats, who is to blame for Greenwich’s own out of control spending, a town controlled and run by Republicans for over a century?
- Certainly the local Democrats aren’t the answer to this mess – they want to borrow more money so they can further leverage their spending, but our own Republicans have demonstrated an ineptness that’s almost breathtaking these past few decades, and they’re only getting worse.
UPDATE: Ooops! Not quite a Gilda Radner “Never Mind”, but FAR Ghost informs me that the Fairfield budget of $130 does not include its school budget, which brings their budget to $295 million. That’s still an extra $138 million to govern the same number of people, but not as bad as I understood it to be.