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With Few Issues, Milford City Budget Approved

Republicans and Democrats were mostly amicable in their vote on the city's 2012-2013 budget.

 

"I'd like to acknowledge the weeks and months of hard work that went into this process," Milford Board of Aldermen chairman Philip J. Vetro said, beginning the budget vote proceedings Thursday night.

Fire Department

With the exception of one call for a point of order by Democratic Majority Leader Nick Veccharelli, the 2012-2013 Milford budget was approved with little fanfare. The incident in question occured when Republican Alderman Robert Dickman asked about the percentage of EMS patients who are uninsured. 

Alderman Veccharelli said, "This is not time for questions and answers. The questions that are being asked right now have no bearing at all, so I call for a point of order."

Mayor Ben Blake stated, "The chief is here to answer questions," referring to Milford Fire Chief Louis A. LaVecchia, who was petitioning for city funds for LifePaks on all EMS vehicles. LifePak is the brand name for a monitor/defibrillator/pacer.

Alderman Dickman asked his question about uninsured EMS patients again and Chief LaVecchia stated that the city was working on getting those exact figures together, but LaVecchia did not have the information at hand. The extra funds for additional LikePaks was voted down, 8-6. 

Police Department

"I'm uncomfortable telling Chief Mello how much he needs for bullets," Alderwoman Paula L. Smith said, defending the 2012-2013 Police budget request of $11.02 million.

The Board of Aldermen were proposing a budget at $10.408 million, the amount recommended by the Mayor and Finance Board, and less than the $10.436 million that the Milford Police Department was budgeted in '11-'12.

Before voting, Mayor Blake spoke to the issue, noting that at a Board of Aldermen hearing, Chief Mello expressed that he was comfortable with the amount the Finance Board was recommending. 

Alderman Bryan Anderson further noted that police cruisers will need to be updated more thoroughly in upcoming years and the Milford Police will need more financial support at that time.

Meeting in the Middle

The one significant financial debate of the evening was defused almost as soon as it began. After Alderwoman Paula L. Smith proposed $100,000 in monies added to the allocated contingency fund (which would likely be used for the summer primary, but could go to other departments), Alderwoman Susan Shaw countered with $50,000. Smith proposed to "split the difference" at $75,000 and that amount was approved.

The Library's Victory

A point of struggle in the Board of Aldermen budget hearings last month revolved around the .

This issue was resolved as the Board of Aldermen decided to move the $32,005 that the library accrued last year from fees and fines from the city's general fund, returning it back to the library itself. 

With this money, the library will be able to get an e-book program up and running and be open on most Saturdays this summer.

What This Means For You

The Milford city budget ultimately included a 1.24% spending increase, which resulted in a mill rate of 25.6, which was almost exactly the 25.5 rate , and lower than the previous mill rate of 28.89.

The city's overall budget for 2012-2013 will be $185,870,382, a budget increase of $2.1 million.

Judy Goldwyn May 18, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Congratulations to the Boarrd of Aldermen for recognizing the importance of Milford's library to the entire community. Jean Tsang and her staff have made the best of an underfunded facility for too long. I encourage our neighbors to let our city officials know how important it is to keep the library well funded and supported. Ebooks are a good first step.
Angus May 18, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Above poster is correct. eBooks long overdue. Thanks to Ms. Tsang for advocating.
Michael Brown May 18, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Not sure about that tax increase number. I think it is more of mixed bag. I'm sure the majority of commercial properties will see an increase, but not so much for residential. My house was revalued - down. This combined with the mil rate reduction means a cut in my taxes. On the other hand, my commercial property valuation went up, so the taxes are going up slightly with the mil rate decrease. The most important part is that expenses were kept low and Mayor Blake didn't dip into the Appropriated Fund Balance. This will go a long way to keeping city finances stable over the next few years.
Ryan Sartor (Editor) May 18, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Mike: You're right about that tax increase number. I fixed that in the piece. Thanks
Bryan Anderson May 18, 2012 at 10:42 PM
My colleagues and I appreciated your appearance at a recent aldermanic meeting during which you and another Library Board member spoke eloquently in support of e-books and the needs of the Milford Public Library. Let's continue to work together!

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