continued Koetzle also spoke of the board’s efforts to reduce fund balance usage despite a difficult economy and rising mandated expenses.
“We knew that we had to back off of that because it is a dangerous situation,” said Koetzle. “That was a decision this board wanted to take to try to get us in a better, stronger fiscal position in the future.”
The board last year reduced fund balance usage by $200,000, or 15 percent, and the adopted 2012 budget reduces usage by $351,000, or 32 percent, which brings 2012 total fund reserve usage to $815,500.
Projected revenues for next year remained relatively flat, with a $21,000 increase from 2011 scheduled, said Koetzle.
Health insurance and pension growth is where costs are continuing to grow. Through recent union concessions, the board was able to cut about $150,000 in health insurance costs.
“This year our pension costs, which are out of our control, went up over 20 percent or almost $200,000,” said Koetzle. “We absorbed all these increases, yet we have also decreased our spending.”
Councilman Sid Ramotar said creating the budget meant making difficult decisions on where to cut spending.
“When you have a crisis with the economy you have to make tough decisions and we were forced to do things to be fiscally responsible that some people may not like,” said Ramotar.
Councilwoman Gina Wierzbowski said fiscally responsibility needed to continue as the town moves forward.
“I just hope that future boards will continue to do the same types of things that we are doing trying to find ways to save money, trying to find ways to work outside of the box,” said Wierzbowski.