Board of Finance Approved Budget

                            For the Fiscal Year July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022

 
   

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

Click here to read the Executive Summary for the Board of Finance Approved Budget

Click here for the complete Board of Finance Approved Budget

Priorities and Issues

The priority for the FY 2022 budget is to not just maintain the current level of services provided to our taxpayers, but to modestly improve and expand those services, to provide them more efficiently and with more convenience for the taxpayer, all while recognizing the impacts of COVID-19 and while attempting to minimize the impact on the tax rate.  The guidance provided to department heads this year was to strive for a zero increase, but to include any requests for improvement of service, particularly online service offerings, they felt important for the Town to consider.

General Fund

Expenditures

The General Fund is the main operating fund for the Town. The $152.7 million BOF Approved Budget can be divided among major spending categories. Education operations accounts for $106.6 million, Town operations budgets account for $31.8 million, the debt service budget accounts for $10.2 million, the contribution to the Library accounts for $4.1 million, and the capital contribution is eliminated in FY2022. 

 

Click here to explore the BOF approved budget and historical expenditures by department.

The FY 2022 BOF Approved Budget of $152,724,330 is an increase of $5,180,261 from the FY 2021 Adopted budget. The budget by major category is as follows.

Summary of Proposed Expenditures

FY 2021
Adopted

FY 2022
BOF Approved

$
Change

%
Change

Town operations

30,652,339

31,835,863

1,183,524

3.86%

Library

3,996,594

4,100,968

104,374

2.61%

Education operations

102,496,378

106,624,199

4,127,821

4.03%

Debt service

8,907,545

10,163,300

1,255,755

14.10%

Capital contribution

1,491,213

-

(1,491,213)

-100.00%

147,544,069

152,724,330

5,180,261

3.51%

Significant adjustments to the BOS and BOE proposed expenditure budgets are.  

  • Capital contribution reduction of $5,970,958 resulting from:
    • Funding certain projects through bonding ($1,900,000)
    • Use of capital reserve funds ($1,000,000)
    • Elimination of the contribution to the Public Works Equipment Maintenance reserve ($164,465)
    • Completing the PD server replacement with funds currently available in the Network Hardware/Software reserve ($120,863)
    • Contribution from fund balance ($2,785,630)

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 FY2022 BOF Approved Budget, property taxes account for $143.8 million, license & permit fees account for $3.8 million, charges for services account for $2.3 million, other tax revenues account for $1.4 million, other miscellaneous revenues account for $0.9 million, and intergovernmental aid accounts for $0.5 million. 

  

In the FY 2022 BOF Approved Budget, other revenues decrease by $911,220, 9.28%, as compared to the FY 2021 Adopted Budget.  The most significant variance is Transfers In.  There is a reduction of $352,592 in the transfers from the sewer operating and sewer assessment funds.  Significant sewer debt has been retired and the sewer funds are now supporting lower debt service.  Additionally, the FY 2021 Adopted Budget included a $216,756 one-time transfer of bond premium to capitalize the first interest payment on the bonds for Ox Ridge School. The decrease in License and Permit revenue is primarily due to expected lower building permit revenues. The reduction in Charges for Services is primarily due to a decrease in Youth Services programming fees due to Covid related programming changes.

Revenues by major category are as follows:

 

Summary of Proposed Non-Current Tax Revenues

FY 2021
Adopted

FY 2022
BOF Approved

$
Change

%
Change

Other tax revenues

1,409,000

1,449,000

40,000

2.84%

Licenses & permits

4,097,476

3,820,304

(277,172)

-6.76%

Intergovernmental aid

494,946

494,946

-

0.00%

Charges for services

2,322,872

2,280,691

(42,181)

-1.82%

Fines & forfeits

40,500

23,250

(17,250)

-42.59%

Investment income

125,001

125,000

(1)

0.00%

Miscellaneous revenues

453,876

408,608

(45,268)

-9.97%

Transfers in

873,657

304,309

(569,348)

-65.17%

Total

$9,817,328

$8,906,108

($911,220)

-9.28%

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

The remainder of the BOF Approved Budget is funded by property taxes.  In recent years the BOF has set the assumed tax collection rate based on a rolling five year average collections, less 25 basis points.  The assumed collection rate was further reduced in FY 2021 due to the potential impact of Covid-19.  To date, collections have not been significantly impact by Covid-19.  The FY 2022 budget returns to the five year rolling average method for setting the budgeted collection rate.

The FY 2022 approved mill rate is 16.84.  This is an increase of 0.51 mills, 3.15%, from the current year.  The mill rate is the amount of taxes that will be paid per one thousand dollars of assessed value.  The BOF approved mill rate would result in taxes of $11,788 for every $1 million of market value, $700,000 of assessed value, of a taxable property.  The Town is required to conduct a revaluation of all property every five years.  Revaluation can cause a significant change in the mill rate. The table below shows historical mill rates. The following graph shows the historical and proposed mill rate and the associated taxes on $1 million of market value for the FY 2022 BOF Approved Budget.

 

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 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.

In most years, the primary revenue source for this fund is an operating transfer from the General Fund.  The BOF has approved using available funds in the capital reserve account and a contribution from fund balance to eliminate the transfer from the General Fund in the FY 2022 budget.  Therefore, any changes made to this fund do not 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. 

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.  

As part of the budget process, when requesting funding for the acquisition of a capital asset, department heads must provide certain information supporting the request.  Included in this is a priority ranking system.  Only projects requested to be funded in FY 2022 are required to have a priority.

When looking at capital, we do not just look at the upcoming year.  Department heads are tasked with looking at capital needs for the next six (6) fiscal years.  This allows the Town the ability to plan and budget for our needs proactively.

The total Capital Fund Budget for FY 2022 is $4,279,023.  Projects of note that are proposed for funding include:  Vehicle and equipment replacement for Police, Public Works, Parks & Recreation and the Board of Education; paving; replacement of the traffic pre-emption system for the fire departments; and emergency lighting and wireless clocks systems at multiple schools.

The BOF approved bonding for the following projects:

  • Sidewalk rehabilitation
  • HVAC design at Holmes Elementary School
  • Roof replacement at Royle Elementary School

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

Click here to explore the Sewer Fund BOF approved and historical revenues.

The FY 2022 BOF Approved 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 2022 budget assumes that there will be a 4% increase in fees paid to Stamford.  Overall this budget is showing a slight increase over FY 2021, primarily due to the increased fees to be paid to Stamford.

Click here to explore the Sewer Fund BOF approved and historical expenditures.

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

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 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 BOF approved and historical revenues.

The FY 2022 BOF Approved Budget provides for operation and essential maintenance of the parking facilities and funds a contribution to the Parking Capital fund.  The FY 2022 Parking Operating budget shows a reduction of $272,955.  This reduction is due to reduced expenses resulting from the pandemic's impact on commuter parking needs..

Click here to explore the Parking Fund BOF approved and historical expenditures.

The proposed Parking Capital Fund budget includes funding for equipment needed to maintain the commuter parking lots.