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Monroe First Selectman looks to slow budget process

January 9, 2019

MONROE — The town’s First Selectman is interested in delaying some steps in Monroe’s upcoming budget process, saying it could allow officials to get more complete information.

“Certainly, the more time we have, the more time that allows for a more thoughtful budget document,” said First Selectman Kenneth Kellogg.

On Dec. 31, Kellogg sent a letter to Town Council Chairman Frank Lieto asking that the council discuss adjusting the budget schedule at its next meeting, which is Monday.

In the letter, Kellogg pointed out that the budget process is largely dictated by the town’s charter, and that the current schedule usually has the final proposal going to referendum the first Tuesday in April — which is one of the earliest dates in the state.

“This has, at times, presented challenges by requiring the town to make budgetary decisions with incomplete information on matters of significance,” Kellogg said in the letter.

Those “matters of significance” include health insurance premium rates, which aren’t usually available until mid-April, and the Governor’s proposed budget, which is anticipated in February, usually after Monroe’s budget process has gotten under way.

Included with Kellogg’s letter was the text of Public Act No. 18-12, approved in May, which states that “a municipality, upon a two-thirds vote of its legislative body, may amend its charter for the sole purpose of modifying its budget adoption dates.”

Kellogg said he understands that “we’re never going to have perfect information” during the budget process, but that adjusting the schedule might at least increase the odds of having a more complete picture.

As of now, he said, he plans to proceed with the current budgeting schedule but hopes the council will address the possibility of changes. Town Council Chairman Frank Lieto did not return multiple phone calls on Tuesday.

The Monroe Town Council next meets at 8 p.m. Monday in the council chambers, Monroe Town Hall, 7 Fan Hill Road.

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