Trumbull Town Council passes $202.8M budget

Photo of Amanda Cuda
Exterior of Trumbull Town Hall, in Trumbull, Conn. April 5, 2017.

Exterior of Trumbull Town Hall, in Trumbull, Conn. April 5, 2017.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

TRUMBULL — The Town Council approved a nearly $202.8 million budget Monday night, which is a decrease of about $113,000 from the budget originally submitted to them from the Board of Finance.

The 2022-2023 budget will now be sent back to the Board of Finance to set a new mill rate by June 9.

Before the discussion started in earnest, council chair Ashley Gaudiano thanked everyone for the hard work they had done throughout budget season, including the town council’s finance committee, which went over it last week. “Now it is finally before us for our vote,” she said.

The town council discussed the budget for more than an hour Monday, going line item by line item, with Gaudiano asking council members if they wanted any changes. Many line items remained the same as they did in the Board of Finance budget, including the line item for education.

When the Board of Finance met to discuss and vote on the budget more than a month ago, they opted to increase the education line item by $250,000. The council made no further changes and the education budget remained at about $123.3 million.

But there were increases and decreases made to other line items during Monday’s meeting. One cut was $75,000 taken from the tree warden’s budget. In the Board of Finance budget, the department was allocated $265,285 — an increase from the first selectman’s budget.

Gaudiano mentioned that the town council finance committee had discussed taking money out of the line item, but ultimately decided not to. During Monday’s meeting, town council member Tony Scinto proposed decreasing the line item by $75,000. He argued that the tree warden is already $112,000 over budget for this year and “he still has two months to go.”

Scinto said, though he knows trees do have to be removed in town, he had questions about why the tree warden was over budget by so much.

Council member Kevin Shively, who is also chair of the finance committee, said he voted against removing the money at the finance committee meeting, but was “inclined to support” removing it upon further thought. He pointed out that the tree warden routinely goes over budget.

“I know I would like more information,” Shively said. “I think, going forward, we’re going to have to ask more questions.”

But some supported keeping the money in, including council member Dawn Cantafio. She said “trees are always falling,” and there are others marked to come down.

Eventually, the council voted to take the $75,000 out.

Other changes included adding $34,000 to the line item for fringe benefits, medical and dental costs, to help cover an increase in insurance costs.

Ultimately, the council voted 12 to 9 to pass the budget.