East Haven budget cuts tax rate, boosts arts and tackles food insecurity in town


EAST HAVEN — More funding for the arts and addressing food insecurity are among the highlights of the city’s 2022-23 budget, with a steep tax rate cut to boot.

Mayor Joseph Carfora signed the $98,449,865 million budget Wednesday after a month of workshops and public hearings.

The budget, which includes the Board of Education’s spending plan of $48,144,271, lowers the tax rate from 34.25 mills to 31.2 mills.

The drop in the tax rate was significant to Carfora and members of the city council, both citing this year’s property reassessment.

“As this is a year of revaluation where interest rates, housing supply and demand, and COVID-19 have increased home values ​​everywhere, it was imperative that we lower our rate per thousand. to offset these record increases as much as possible,” Carfora said. Wednesday.

The approved budget closely resembles the plan Carfora presented to the city in late March, with minimal changes by the city council.

These changes resulted in a spending plan that was $144,985 less than the mayor’s recommendation.

“I think the administration and council have worked diligently to keep the ratepayer first, lowering the mill rate by over three thousandths and doing a great job,” council vice chairman Lou said. Pacelli on Tuesday night as the body approved the budget.

Four increases were approved by the board following a presentation and comments at a public hearing on April 19 by Hagaman Memorial Library director Bruce George and other board members.

One was $2,500 for maintenance of the library building after George spoke to the board about needing more funds for manpower.

An increase of $2,500 was also granted to the pantry, bringing its total allocation to $7,500 for the coming fiscal year.

Carfora’s budget recommended $5,000 for the pantry, but board members, including chairman Joseph Deko, thought it should be higher.

“I don’t like the fact that there is still a lot of food insecurity in the city. Not in my house, but I’m lucky for that, but there are a lot of people using a pantry and I think we should support that,” Deko said.

Pacelli said he wished he could add even more money, pointing out that with high gas prices people are struggling to feed themselves and their children.

To that end, Finance Director Jim Keeley has been tasked with finding additional funds for the council to transfer to the pantry once the budget year begins.

The East Haven Arts Commission also got a boost, with $5,000 added to the mayor’s recommended $2,500 allocation.

The increased funding could be used to purchase plays and music performed by the commission, Deko said. The commission works to promote and expand visual and performing arts in the city for youth and adults

A new position was created for the school district’s after-prom party, with the board allocating $3,500 for the event. The Board of Education will also contribute financially. The party will be a safe place for students to gather and celebrate after prom, officials noted.

“Coming out of a global scourge, these children need it,” said board member Josh Balter.

Cuts were made to part-time salaries of municipal registrars, professional development, mileage reimbursement and advertising. Other minor cuts were made to Planning and Zoning Commission equipment and some municipal department salaries.

All additions and reductions are visible on the town website.

Carfora said the budget, which was unanimously approved by council, shows that all political parties are making reasoned and responsible efforts to stabilize and develop the city and put it on a solid financial footing.

“While there are always more goals to accomplish, we can say with optimism that together we will continue to march towards a brighter, better and united East Haven,” Carfora said.



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