Director of Finance Robert Barron has recommended that Norwalk spend $347.9 million to fund city and school system operations for its fiscal year beginning July 1. The figure represents an increase of nearly $10.6 million or 3.1 percent from the current fiscal year.
Norwalk’s grand list – the aggregate valuation of taxable property within a given town – has yet to return to its pre-recession value of $12.7 billion in 2008. Coming in at $12.2 billion in 2016, Barron noted that the latter figure still represented a 1.1 percent improvement over 2015.
“The uncertainty of funding from the state of Connecticut, which is dealing with its own budget challenges, places the majority of the increase of costs to run the city on the mill rate charged to its taxpayers,” Barron said. “Therefore, I recommend that the city draw down $2 million of its fund balance yet again next year, to partially offset the mill rate increases caused by rising expenses. This draw on fund balance is consistent with the city’s fund balance policy that allows for any excess reserve over the target established to be used for tax relief.”
The recommended fiscal 2017-18 budget includes the grand list increase and a proposed mill rate increase of 2 percent, which together yield a total tax levy increase of $9.3 million or 3.1 percent.
Barron proposed $182.8 million for schools, an increase of about $6.7 million from the current education budget but less than the $193.9 million the school board has been seeking.
Barron’s recommended budget also assumes $19.2 million in state and other intergovernmental revenues, a decrease of about $1.5 million.
Norwalk’s Board of Estimate and Taxation will set the city’s final budget at a meeting on May 1.