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POLL: Change to the Fairfield Budget Process?

Patch users and residents consider a push to modify the Town Charter.

POLL: Change to the Fairfield Budget Process?

As Election Day approaches, questions regarding town leadership are circulating – something that’s found a home on Fairfield Patch.

on a story may translate into something the rest of the town might stand behind.

One reader, who goes by the alias “,” put forth the idea Thursday of modifying the town charter to require the town hold a required, annual budget referendum – one that breaks down the budget line item by line item.

The budget for Fiscal Year 2012 (see the quick reference table below) represents a 4.58 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2011's $251,4541,113; and a mill rate increase from 19.27 mills to 22.47 – an increase of 3.2 mills.

What Creeky and a few other readers want is a budget process that involves resident participation and influence. Currently, this can happen should enough townspeople petition to hold a referendum within a specific time period following the vote to adopt the budget, but he would like to see the charter require the annual referendums.

His argument, as told to Patch:

"Fairfield is grappling with large – and often unplanned – expenditures. Cases in point:

  • and maintenance
  • A new
  • Pension shortfalls

All while many homeowners struggle with reduced income, significant losses in retirement savings, and steep losses in home value."

Connecticut towns like and are required to hold annual referendums as part of their town charters.

Fairfield held a referendum earlier this year following a petition to restore funds to the Board of Education's budget, but it .

Reader "" suggested that, rather than have a referendum ballot with a simple yes/no answer to the statement "In favor of Town Government/Board of Education Budget," each department should list its specific budget, and those allocations could be voted on, with room for suggested increases or decreases on the referendum ballot.

These ideas are in their earliest forms – Creeky termed this a "grassroots function."

Here’s a quick reference guide for the approved budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012: 

DepartmentAmount AllocatedPercentage of FY 2012 BudgetGeneral Government: Administration & General $9,876,952 3.75 General Government: Miscellaneous $3,213,424 1.22 Finance $4,445,083 1.69 Public Safety $32,588,560 12.38 Public Works $16,498,953 6.27 Health and Welfare $7,379,494 2.81 Culture and Recreation $7,594,642 2.89 Board of Education $145,680,350 55.4 Retiree Benefits $10,926,306 4.15 Debt Service $24,870,179 9.45Total Budget$263,073,943

 

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