Tesei Aims To Keep Services Intact In Greenwich Budget

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Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei, center, discusses proposed town improvement projects at the Capital Improvements Projects Committee meeting Tuesday.
Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei, center, discusses proposed town improvement projects at the Capital Improvements Projects Committee meeting Tuesday. Photo Credit: Eric Gendron
The Capital Improvements Projects Committee discusses the first draft of its proposed spending plan during Tuesday's meeting at Greenwich Town Hall.
The Capital Improvements Projects Committee discusses the first draft of its proposed spending plan during Tuesday's meeting at Greenwich Town Hall. Photo Credit: Eric Gendron

GREENWICH, Conn. – First Selectman Peter Tesei said he is "determined" to not cut any town services from next year's operating budget as Greenwich officials began Tuesday to review the costs of projects planned for the coming fiscal year.

As a result, the Capital Improvements Projects Committee will look to scale back or delay some projects to cut about $3 million before the budget plan is presented to the Board of Estimate and Taxation.

At the top of the list is $20 million for a new Central Fire Station and $14 million over three years to overhaul the town's outdated communications system.

Town services have been cut in the previous four years he led budget talks as first selectman, Tesei said. But this time he hopes it will be different.

"I have made the decision that I want to see the town continue current services," Tesei told the assembled town officials in the Cone Conference Room at Town Hall. "If you lower the operating budget you get discontinued services. We've done it before, and justifiably. But now having done this for four years and reducing town resources, I think we have the right number of people for what we're trying to deliver."

The initial draft of Greenwich's 2013-14 operating budget calls for an increase of $1.247 million, or 1.18 percent. That does not include the school budget increase of 1.97 percent.

Tesei said he expects that increase to decrease in the final proposal to the Board of Taxation and Estimation.

The budget has to fall within the guidelines of the Board of Taxation and Estimation's required 2.5 percent mill rate increase, he said. The town's mill rate determines the amount of taxes paid by property owners based on property value.

Tesei and other officials said the budget total will be a "moving target" until the final draft is done.

The Capital Improvement Projects will be approved by a voting board consisting of Superintendent of Schools William McKersie, Commissioner of Public Works Amy Siebert, Director of Parks and Recreation Joe Siciliano, Comptroller Peter Mynarski, Town Planner Diane Fox and Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Peter Heller.

A public hearing on the Capital Improvements Projects will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 at Town Hall.

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