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Canton’s Board of Finance meets Monday to consider cuts, set new mill rate – The Collinsville Press
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Canton’s Board of Finance meets Monday to consider cuts, set new mill rate

The Town Hall building in Canton on Main Street in Collinsville.

CANTON, May 17, 2020 – When the Canton Board of Finance meets on Monday night to set the mill rate for the upcoming fiscal year, they will have an additional $259,000 in budget cuts from the Board of Selectmen and Board of Education to consider.

The current proposed 2020-21 budget is $40.9 million and it would raise taxes by 2.47 percent, requiring a rise in the mill rate of 0.81 to 32.82 mills.

The Board of Finance is scheduled to meet on Monday at 7 p.m. in a virtual meeting and hopes to set a final 2020-21 budget and the mill rate for the coming year. While the public is invited to listen to the meeting on Monday, only members of the Board of Finance, Board of Education and Board of Selectmen will participate in the meeting.

The call-in information is on the first page of the packet prepared for the meeting participants.

At last week’s meeting, the Board of Finance asked the Board of Education what they would have to cut to reduce their budget by $138,000 and asked the Board of Selectman what they would cut to reduce their budget by $51,000. A reduction of $70,000 in the capital improvement budget, which is managed by the Board of Selectmen, is also being considered.

The Board of Selectmen met on Wednesday and cut $121,000 from their proposed budget – $51,000 from their operating budget and $70,000 from the capital improvement budget, according to First Selectman Robert Bessel.

The specific proposed cuts to the Board of Selectman budget and the capital improvement budget can be found on page 72 of the meeting packet.

Proposed cuts include $26,850 from the Park and Recreation for seasonal staffing, a reduction of $5,000 from the library budget for part-time staff, a reduction of $6,700 for community agencies, a $3,000 reduction on consulting fees and a $1,610 reduction in the snow removal budget.

Instead of purchasing a field aerator ($6,840) for maintenance, the town would rent one as needed.

Proposed cuts to the capital improvement budget including $10,000 to replace a mobile office at the transfer station, $34,128 for a study of the town’s communication (fire and police) equipment and a $25,000 reduction toward an proposal to replace a Department of Public Works truck.

Bessel said the town still plans to replace the mobile office. They will use transfer station fees to cover this cost. They still plan to do the communications study but will use savings from a recent refinancing of town debt to cover this cost. And the town is still moving forward on purchasing a new truck but they anticipate $25,000 from sale of truck parts to go toward the purchase of the vehicle.

The Board of Education discussed proposed cuts to their budget at a meeting last week but they were not included in the pre-meeting packet. Jennifer Rottkamp, chair of the Board of Finance, said on Sunday that the Board of Finance expects to the Board of Education to provide information on the proposed cuts at Monday’s meeting.

Questions and comments regarding the budget can be emailed to budgetquestions@townofcantonct.org. All questions and comments received will be included as part of the record of the meeting and will provided to Board of Finance officials.

More than 40 pages of comments received from town residents have been included in the meeting packet. They begin on page 75.

Draft minutes from recent Board of Finance, Board of Selectman and Board of Education meetings are included in the packet, beginning on page 118.

There will be no town referendum of the budget due to the COVID-19 crisis. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order on March 21 that, in part, suspended the in-person budget adoption requirement for cities and towns.

Meeting packet

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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