Republicans Question Fixed Costs

Did you know we are well into the budget process for the 2010-2011 fiscal year?

To date, the Board of the Selectman and the Board of Education have put together budget requests for next year. The Board of Finance received those requests, analyzed the presented budgets along with expected revenue, and have deliberated. The BOF has made recommendations to the Legislative Council who will follow a similar process that will open with a public hearing followed by deliberative meetings after which a budget amount will be forwarded to the voters for approval.

Did you know the Board of Finance and Legislative Council can make line item changes to the Selectmen’s budget, but only a bottom line adjustment to the Board of Ed’s budget?

Why is this process important? Our charter calls for a representative form of government and each one of these public officials is responsible to you – the taxpayer.  Determining an acceptable level of expenses and what the local economy can support is the duty of those you elect. Presenting a budget to the taxpayers that can pass on the first try ensures we can continue to enjoy excellent credit status saving Newtown millions of dollars in interest when borrowing for capital projects.

Did you know that this type of planning has saved the Town close to a million dollars in reduced interest costs this year alone?

What are the challenges these elected officials face? The continuing economic slump means many taxpayers cannot accept a large increase in taxes. Our contractual obligations make up more than 80% of our town and education budgets. A sustainable budget will require structural changes in our systems. We cannot continue to increase costs and, as a result, taxes.  Business as usual is not an option.

Did you know that the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, states the following:

“What must be contended with is the defensive argument widely used by school boards that 75%-80% of the budget represents fixed costs and that is why it is so difficult to control and cut school budgets. This is an extremely important assertion that must be addressed and challenged. Taxpayers should never accept such a statement because it is not accurate. The reason that budgeted amounts are not really fixed is because of the following assumptions that are false:

 

Every school employee is essential.

No consolidations of programs or services is possible.

All programs and services are efficient and effective.

Resources are managed with quality practices and procedures.

Every school operation is performed with utmost efficiency and managed ethically.

Personnel are trained and knowledgeable in utilizing resources effectively.

Technology usage to improve administrative functions and classroom instruction is maximized.”


 

Did you know that of the $3.1 million Board of Education increase requested, 70% is for salaries and not for programs?



Did you know student enrollment is experiencing a sizable decline and the enrollment in the high school is down slightly?


Newtown Republicans believe that we should realize every possible savings and then address the issue of structural change. We believe that a better allocation of resources is essential in both the Town and school system. We also believe we cannot ignore the revenue declines and simply pass the difference on to the taxpayer.  We believe that difficult decisions must be made to combat the difficult times.  We believe this year requires a different and more conservative approach to the budget. We believe in structural change.