Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Vernon mayor planning for cuts to close budget shortfall

By Max Bakke
Journal Inquirer
Published: Saturday, December 6, 2008 1:16 AM EST

VERNON — Town and the school officials are sharing the task of closing a $423,000 revenue shortfall in the current fiscal year, Mayor Jason L. McCoy told Town Council members this week.

The decrease in revenue is caused largely by a shortfall of $156,000 in funds from building permits and liens, and a $225,000 reduction in town clerk recording fees, McCoy said.

He said steps are underway to close the gap, including an aggressive attempt to collect back taxes and renegotiations of union contracts.

While the mayor said he does not expect to freeze hiring or spending, vacant positions will be scrutinized before being filled, if at all. He already has recommended not filling a maintenance position in the Parks and Recreation Department and a patrolman job in the Police Department.

The administration also will consider utilizing a one-time tax and fee amnesty program, recently authorized by the state, in an attempt to goad more money from delinquent taxpayers.

The town has managed to consume less fuel than last year at this time, some 22,000 gallons worth, in part thanks to an anti-idling policy for town vehicles.

However, McCoy said, the shortfall is buoyed by $350,000 in decreased expenditures, after netting savings during re-negotiation of the Board of Education’s health-insurance contract. But those savings ultimately may be negated by increases in out-of-town student tuition costs, he added.

“There’s a number of things we’ve investigated to reduce costs,” McCoy said.

Copyright © 2008 - Journal Inquirer