Proposed Darien budget reflects 7.4 percent increase
Published 11:42 am, Thursday, February 7, 2013
The proposed town budget from Town Administrator Karl Kilduff shows a 7.4 percent increase from $40,250,354 in 2012-13 to $43,249,608 for 2013-14.
The budget review and hearing took place in front of the Board of Selectmen on Monday, Feb. 4, though no member of the public spoke for or against the proposed increase.
The town administration budget will make up 34 percent of the overall municipal budget, provided the Board of Education approves its proposed $82 million package on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
"We're very early on in the budget process," said First Selectmen Jayme Stevenson. "There's an uncertainty with what we see coming from the state and federal government. We'll be partially cognizant of that and will keep in mind for the taxpayers of Darien."
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Several line items reflect increases, such as for development planning and management, which includes the Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Environmental Protection Commission and the Architectural Review Board, which has a $28,254, or 5.2 percent increase, over 2012-13 budget. However, 89 percent of that increase is a result of contractual salary increases for the code compliance officer, environmental protection officer and two secretarial postions.
The Police Department is seeking $6,514,904, which is an increase of $387,954. Among the increases are 1.2 percent, or $7,964, for wage hikes for the administrative lieutenant and the administrative secretary, as well as for elevated uniform prices.
There also is a request for $194,456 for more accurate overtime estimates and the purchase of new soft body armor.
The greatest increase proposed for the Police Department is $112,908 for station operation and maintenance.
A maintenance contract for the HVAC system in the station is one of the major drivers for needed increase in funds.
The Darien, Noroton and Noroton Heights fire departments also are seeking budget increases. While all have individual projects and needs, a projected fuel cost increase is the major factors for the request.
The Darien and Noroton departments request increases of roughly $2,000 for fuel.
Darien fuel and lubricant costs are expected to increase from $8,747 in 2012-13 to $10,800 in 2013-14. Noroton fuel and lubricant costs are expected to increase from $11,418 in 2012-13 to $13,240 in 2013-14.
These are drastic jumps compared to where allocation for fuel was in 2010-11, when fuel accounted for an average of $3,000 between the two departments.
Though the Noroton Heights Fire Department is also seeking an additional $2,000 for fuel, there has not been as significant an increase over the last two years, as compared to Darien and Noroton. In 2010-11, the department allocated $6,113 for fuel.
As a direct result of Superstorm Sandy in late October, an increase of 19.49 percent, or $3,870, is proposed for disaster preparation. Improvements in wireless communications, such as satellite TV at the Emergency Operation Center and shelters, are being sought.
There is also a request to use some of the capital budget to purchase a trailer to store all the town-owned shelter supplies, including cots, blankets, pillows, animal crates, feeding bowls and folding cribs for children.
mspicer@bcnnew,com; 203-972-4407; @Meg_DarienNews