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Ridgefield Approves Ballot Questions, Capital Items At Annual Town Meeting

The largely uncontested town meeting went by with very little discussion.

's annual town meeting Monday evening to approve ballot questions for the May 15 budget referendum was largely uncontested this year, with very little discussion regarding each budget item.

This is most likely due to an overall proposed decrease in the mill rate by 1.15 percent due to unforeseen revenues, as well as a relatively sizeable increase in the school budget.

All questions were approved at the meeting, as well as all capital requests under $100 thousand.

The following is a list of the questions along with brief explanations of each.

Operating budgets

Question 1. Appropriating $45,384,391 for town expenditures (including debt service).

  • The town budget comes in at an increase of $618 thousand, which includes costs for police cruisers, which have fallen under capital items in the past.
  • The increase represents a 1.96 percent increase from last year.

Question 2. Appropriating $81,269,473 for Board of Education expenditures.

  • The appropriation represents just over $2 million, with the largest increases under contractual salaries and benefits, as well as post-retirement benefits.
  • The increase represents a 2.6 percent increase from last year's school budget.

Capital budget >$100,000

Question 3. Appropriating $235,000 for the police department dispatch console system.

  • Police Chief John Roche and First Selectman Rudy Marconi have said that, without complete renovation or replacement of the police station, the dispatch console is an important investment.
  • With plans to build a new police station in the future, Marconi said Monday that the console would be usable if still within the 15-year lifespan of the equipment.

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Question 4. Appropriating $1,760,000 for town road and infrastructure improvements and equipment.

  • The bulk of this appropriation falls under a $1.2 million road renovation for this year, with which 5-8 miles of road may be completed. The price of oil is taking a toll on the number of miles the town finishes each year, Marconi said, and a more formal plan for improvement is in order.
  • The rest includes equipment such as dump trucks and plows, as well as guardrail replacements.

Question 5. Appropriating $630,000 for building repairs and equipment.

  • The town engineer budget includes $470,000 for the repair of the Venus building roof and the rest for a generator at the Recreation Center for emergency purposes.

Question 6. Appropriating $905,000 for sidewalks and traffic lights at the Branchville Rte. 7 intersection and paving the Bailey Ave. parking lot.

  • All these costs are to be offset by grants from the state.

Question 7. Appropriating $750,000 for asbestos abatement at Farmingville Elementary School, wireless network and technology infrastructure at the schools.

  • The school capital budget includes the ongoing asbestos abatement, which will be completed soon after Farmingville, as well as investments to the servers and wireless systems at all the schools.

Capital budget <$100,000

Question 8. To approve all other capital items up to $438,291.

 

Mamanasco Lake $16,000 Rotary Mower 52,100 Martin Park Improvements 20,000 Park Safety Improvements 23,406 Bennett's Farm Road Drainage 33,300 Tree Replacement 35,000 Firefighter Air Packs 62,285 EMS Cardiac Monitor 33,200 Firefighter Equipment 20,000 Server/software 65,000 APC-UPS 24,000 Human resources software 29,000 Town clerk software 25,000 Total $438,291

All of these capital items were approved at the meeting.

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