Reps whack $2M more from mayor’s budget

May 2, 2019

STAMFORD — In a contentious four-hour meeting that ended after midnight, the Board of Representatives early Thursday cut another $2 million from Mayor David Martin’s spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Martin’s original operating budget of $603 million was cut to $594 million by the Board of Finance two weeks ago. It brought the potential tax increase for property owners from 4.4 percent down to 3.6 percent.

Representatives Thursday cut the total budget amount to $592 million. The Office of Policy and Management said early Thursday afternoon they needed a few hours to update the potential tax increase.

The finance board will meet May 20 or May 21 to set the mill rate, which will determine the actual rates at which property and motor vehicle owners will be taxed for fiscal year 2019-20.

During their marathon meeting representatives had a long debate over salary increases for the mayor, members of his cabinet and other top executives. The vote to reduce their raises failed in a 17-17 tie.

Another long debate centered on the city’s $662,000 contribution to the Mill River Collaborative, the public-private partnership that is remaking downtown’s Mill River Park in a multi-year, multi-million-dollar project.

Some representatives wanted to trim the amount by a third, or roughly $221,000, but the motion failed. A second motion to cut the contribution by $162,000 also failed.

Another motion to make a non-specific cut of $1 million — which would have left it to Martin to find the savings in his budget — also failed.

Representatives last year made a general cut of $1.4 million, which Martin called unprecedented. He reacted with anger, cutting the July 4th fireworks show and beach maintenance, and threatened to end curbside leaf pickup.

acarella@stamfordadvocate.com; 203-964-2296.