Board of Selectmen Proposed Budget

                            For the Fiscal Year July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021

 
   

Click on links in the text below to explore proposed budgets and historical data

Click here for the complete Board of Selectmen Proposed Budget

Click here to read the Executive Summary for the Board of Selectmen Proposed Budget

Priorities and Issues

The Board of Selectmen's proposed budget is guided by the board's goals and objectives.  Public safety and town infrastructure are the highest priorities for the Board of Selectmen.  The guiding principle for the FY 2021 budget is to provide at a minimum, the level of service that our taxpayers demand, while minimizing any impact on the property tax rate.  Guidance provided to department heads this year was to strive for a zero increase, but to include any request for improvement of service they felt important for the Town to consider. 

General Fund

Expenditures

The General Fund is the main operating fund for the Town. The $47.7 million Proposed Budget, which does not include education expenses, can be divided among major spending categories. The Town operations budgets account for $24.9 million, the debt service budget accounts for $9.2 million, the contribution to the Library accounts for $4.0 million, and the capital contribution accounts for $3.4 million.  Employee benefits total $6.2 million, of which $1.9 million is for Pension & OPEB contributions and $4.3 million is for other benefits. 

Click here to explore the BOS proposed budget and historical expenditures by department.

The FY 2021 Proposed Budget of $47,734,918 is a decrease of $5,770 (-0.01%) from the FY 2020 Adopted budget. The budget by major category is as follows.

 

 

Summary of Proposed Expenditures

FY 2020
Adopted

FY 2021
Proposed

$
Change

%
Change

Town operations

24,425,754

24,947,670

521,916

2.14%

Other benefits

4,413,043

4,292,020

(121,023)

-2.74%

Pension & OPEB

1,274,990

1,940,618

665,628

52.21%

Library

3,820,120

3,996,594

176,474

4.62%

Debt service

10,676,549

9,199,992

(1,476,557)

-13.83%

Capital contribution

3,130,232

3,358,024

227,792

7.28%

$47,740,688

$47,734,918

$(5,770)

-0.01%

The budget was impacted by significant increases and decreases in several key areas. Some of these changes are the results of policy decisions, some programmatic improvements and others result from positive experience. 

  • Other benefits decrease $121,023.  The current projection indicates no increase in the premiums for FY 2021.  Because employee agreements call for an increase in the employees’ share of the premium in FY 2021, the cost of the Town’s share is actually decreasing.  This results in a savings of $137,000 in the FY 2021 budget.  Click here to explore the proposed and historical benefit costs.
  • Pension and OPEB contributions increase $665,628.  The Town and Police Pension Committees, upon recommendation of the Town’s actuary, voted to adopt the new Public Employee Mortality Table.  The Committees also voted to reduce the investment earnings assumption used in the valuation from 6.50% to 6.375%.  This reduction is a first step towards a 6.0% assumption, a rate which more accurately reflects the plans’ outlook for the future.  Combined, these changes increase the budget by $665,628.  These changes also impact the funding request from the Darien Public Library.  Click here to explore the proposed and historical Pension & OPEB contributions.
  • Debt Service decreases $1.476 million.  The Board of Finance made the decision several months ago to refund certain outstanding bonds.  As a result, the debt service budget request for FY 2021 is lower than it otherwise would have been.  There is a proposal for a new debt issuance included in this budget.  Click here to explore the proposed and historical Debt Service expenditures.

The Town operations request can be further divided among the various units. Public Safety, which contains the Police and Fire Departments, among others, accounts for 41.80% of the total proposed budget for operating departments.  Public Works accounts for 17.59% of the adopted budget for Town operating departments.

Click here to explore the BOS Operations proposed budget and historical expenditures.

Click here to explore the proposed budget and historical expenditures for salaries and benefits.

Revenues:

Property taxes are the primary funding source for the General Fund.  Other funding sources include intergovernmental aid, collection of supplemental and back taxes, and non-tax revenues such as the sale of permits and licenses, charges for services, investment income, and other miscellaneous revenues. 

In the FY 2021 Proposed Budget, license & permit fees account for $4.2 million, charges for services account for $2.4 million, other tax revenues account for $1.4 million, other miscellaneous revenues account for $1.9 million, and intergovernmental aid accounts for $0.5 million. 

 

In the FY 2021 Proposed Budget, other revenues increase by $576,218, 5.87%, as compared to the FY 2020 Adopted Budget. The most significant variance is investment income.  The Proposed Budget is based on expected cash flow and a projection of the Fed Funds Rate.  The increase in other tax revenues is a result of a $100,000 increase in the budget for supplemental motor vehicle taxes.

Revenues by major category are as follows:

Click here to explore the proposed and historical non-current tax revenues.

The remainder of the Proposed Budget is funded by property taxes.  The Board of Finance will set the budgeted collection rate and recommend a mill rate to fund the combined Town and Board of Education budgets.

Reserve for Capital & Non-Recurring Expenditures (RFCNRE)

The Reserve for Capital & Non-Recurring Expenditures - the Capital Fund - is the means by which the Town accounts for its long term capital program.  The primary revenue source for this fund is an operating transfer from the General Fund.  Therefore, any changes made to this fund do have an impact on the mill rate.  Other sources of revenue for this fund include investment earnings, state grants, rental income and sale of fixed assets. 

Click here to explore RFCNRE proposed and revenue budgets.

The Capital Fund is a multi-year fund, where appropriations do not lapse at the end of the fiscal year.  The Capital Fund is primarily used for the acquisition of capital assets, but it may also be used for major expenditures, such as Revaluation, which occurs every five years.  To be considered a capital asset, an item must meet certain thresholds.  The cost must exceed $5,000 and the item must have a useful life of more than 2 years.  

The total Capital Fund Budget request for FY 2021 is $3,940,656.  Projects of note that are proposed for funding include:  Apparatus Replacement for Police, Fire, Public Works and Parks & Recreation; paving; sidewalk replacement, various software upgrades; conversion to natural gas for the Noroton Fire Department; and Town Hall heating control upgrades.

Projects to be considered for bond or reserve funding include:

  • Sidewalk rehabilitation
  • Paving
  • Town Hall heating upgrades
  • NFD conversion to natural gas
  • Town Hall gymnasium upgrades

Click here to explore RFCNRE proposed and historical budgets by department.

Sewer Funds

The Sewer Operations and Sewer Capital funds are used to account for activities related to the operation, maintenance and improvement of the Town’s sewer system.  The funds are self-sustaining and have no impact on the mill rate.

The Sewer Operations fund is supported by sewer service charges that are set annually.

Click here to explore the Sewer Fund proposed and historical revenues.

Appropriations in the Sewer Operating Fund are used to maintain, repair and operate the 81 miles of sewer mains and 14 pump stations.  All treatment of sewage takes place at the Stamford Water Pollution Control Facility.  The FY 2021 Proposed Budget provides for operation and essential maintenance of the sewer infrastructure and funds a contribution to the Sewer Capital Fund.  The fees paid to Stamford are the largest single item in this budget.  The FY 2021 budget assumes that there will be no increase in fees paid to Stamford. Overall this budget is showing a slight reduction from FY 2020, a result of the decreased employer cost for benefits and a decreased contribution to the Sewer Capital Fund.

Click here to explore the Sewer Fund proposed and historical expenditures.

The Sewer Capital Fund budget proposes to continue the funding for replacement of pumps in the sewer pump houses.

Click here to explore Sewer Capital proposed and historical budgets.

Parking Funds

The Parking Operations and Parking Capital funds are used to account for activities related to the operation, maintenance and improvement of the parking facilities located on State property at the Darien and Noroton Heights Railroad Stations and the Mechanic Street Parking Area.  The funds are self-sustaining and have no impact on the mill rate.

The Parking Operations fund is supported by parking permits, daily parking fees and other parking related revenues.  All operating and capital expenses the Town incurs to support these services are charged to these funds.

Click here to explore the Parking Fund proposed and historical revenues.

The FY 2021 Proposed Budget provides for operation and essential maintenance of the parking facilities and funds a contribution to the Parking Capital fund.  The FY 2021 Parking Operating budget shows a reduction of $495,480.  This is due to a reduction in the funding proposed for the Parking Capital Fund.

Click here to explore the Parking Fund proposed and historical expenditures.

The proposed Parking Capital Fund budget includes funding for construction of a sidewalk in the Noroton Heights lot on the outbound (I-95/Post 53) side of the station.

Click here to explore Parking Capital proposed and historical budgets.