Hebron Dollars & Sense
- Created on Monday, 14 May 2012 19:08
Interesting data has come forth on the number of Hebron students in Kindergarten with Pre-K experience. These are very high numbers!
- Created on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 23:13
To Residents of Hebron:
Last year, Hebron taxpayers reluctantly agreed to an approximate 4.5% tax increase because the Board of Finance made a convincing argument in May 2011 that our community “does not have a spending problem; we have a revenue problem.”
In July 2011, the new Governor and Democratic-controlled Connecticut legislature passed a series of new tax increases, including a state payroll tax retroactive to January 1, 2011, double-dipping our paychecks for the last six months to make up the retroactive tax difference.
This year, Hebron appears to have a spending problem. We may still have a revenue problem, that has yet to be revealed, but at a minimum, with the Board of Education’s addition of all day kindergarten and their almost 2% increase in budget, despite significant decline in student enrollment in the past six years, doesn’t anyone hear the toll of warning bells?
All day kindergarten is not mandated by the State of Connecticut. I remember hearing the same threats of “it’s coming any day now” way back in 2006 when I was a BOF member.
It’s great in Gold Coast towns where you say to your neighbors, “OK, you’re rich; I’m rich; let’s fulfill all the pipe dreams ‘cuz we’re swimming in dough.”
But this is Hebron. The vast majority of us are NOT swimming in dough; we’re drowning in debt.
With a $700K debt reduction from the sewer project (that mortgage is finally paid and over), and a decline in elementary student population (FY 2006-07 was 1,226 students and projected enrollment for FY 2012-13 is 958 students, a net loss of 268 students), I personally won’t support any tax increase this year.
I will support a tax decrease.
It appears we have a spending problem in our already cash-strapped community. And guess why? Nothing will change until you VOTE.
- Created on Friday, 11 May 2012 06:18
In summary, this action by the Hebron BOF represents a total reduction of the town budget (composed of Town of Hebron, CIP and Board of Education) from last year's budget by $661,030. That's basically a very close equivalent to the sewer debt reduction of $688,000.
How is that final number of an additional $407,000 reduction derived?
* Reduction of CIP budget by $171,435. Gone is the $150,000 HES parking lot and the new 26 parking spaces, along with an additional $21,435 in closed out CIP projects that had a balance. The information on the closed out CIP project balances was presented at the BOF meeting tonight, 5/10.
* Reduction of the Town of Hebron budget by $25,000, but an addition of $18,000 for a traffic control person at Hebron Elementary, for a total reduction of $7,000. The Board of Selectmen will meet to determine how to reduce their budget by the $25,000 (because the $18K has been designated for a specific purpose), but new initiatives from Round One budget were broadly discussed.
* Reduction of the Hebron Board of Education budget by $121,435. Much of this had to do with the loss of the $176,000 in federal ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) funding which was a one year gig, and should have been planned for last year in anticipation of losing that funding this year, but was not planned for by last year's board.
RHAM reduced their budget by a mere $97,000 with a lot of nickle and dime cutting. None of the big stuff, none of the elephants in the room. This made hardly an mpact on Hebron residents, who bear the bulk of RHAM funding, and who now face a 3.61% spending increase from RHAM because of... (1) increased student population of 26; and (2) increased spending in general.
The Town Budget must submit its legal notice by noon tomorrow. The referendum questions will now be: (1) Shall Hebron residents [etc] adopt a Town Budget of $33,876,251; and (2) Shall Hebron residents [etc] adopt a CIP budget of $752,533.
RHAM's legal notice will be: Shall residents of Hebron, Andover and Marlborough [etc] adopt a budget of xxxxxx [don't have the exact number, but it is now an increase of $421,964.]
There was much public discussion, including the thoughts of several that if the Hebron BOE cuts Challenge & Enrichment, paraprofessionals, etc, rather than their OWN elephants in the room (top heavy administration and ADK), the budget could be in jeopardy again since the Town budget, unfortunately, is not bifurcated, allowing people to support the town and express their pleasure or displeasure with the BOE budget. BOE will be meeting next Tuesday.
- Created on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 21:28
Read the Marlborough's Superintendent's annual report on their school's web-site. Through 2010-2011 ( 3 years running), they have had a zero percent budget increase. This statement is in the report: "We have said thank you to the taxpayers for their continued support of education and said we understand the burdens residents face. Teachers are not only dedicated to the children but are also dedicated to the community and therefore agreed to significant salary concessions for the coming year." Pretty IMPRESSIVE statement from a superintendent holding a half time position.
Here in Hebron, during the presentation of the current administrators contract the community heard that the administrators should be rewarded for keeping their salary flat the prior year. The former HBOE rewarded them with a 3 year contract - raises built in for each year -- new cell phones and an $80/month stipend for the cell phone service. Who are our administrators dedicated to -- our community, their pay stubs or our young children? Answer seems clear!