Town Council cannot pass budget at final meeting

Looks like it will be up to the new Town Council to pass a town budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The outgoing councilors were unable to reach a consensus on a $220.35-million spending plan for the fiscal year on Monday night. Council members voted 5-4 against taking the budget proposal off of the table. Earlier in the evening, councilors opted to table the budget presented by Mayor John Harkins to discuss a proposed amendment from Council Minority Leader Vincent Chase that would have reduced the proposal budget by about $2 million.

Even a 40-minute recess to talk about the plan did not yield a consensus.  Those voting against the plan were 3rd District Councilman Wali Kadeem, 5th District Councilman Greg Cann, 6th District Councilman and Majority Leader Philip Young, 7th District Councilman Marianne “Mitzi” Antezzo and 10th District Councilman Tina Manus.

Chase, Council Chairman Beth Daponte, 4th District Councilman David Harden and 9th District Councilman Alan Llewelyn supported taking the proposal off of the table. Second District Councilman Scott Farrington-Posner was not at Monday’s meeting, the last full meeting of this board. All but three of the current 10 councilors — Kadeem, Harden and Cann — will not return when the new top board is sworn in on Dec. 11.

Daponte chided the five councilors who voted against taking the plan off of the table.

“So with the 5-4 vote, five of my colleagues up here think it’s not even worth discussing anymore, the budget,” she said. She had previously said that passing a budget was a major responsibility of the town’s top board.

Yearlong differences between the councilors and Harkins have resulted in there not being a budget in place six months after the May 12 charter-mandated deadline. The Group of Six council members — Farrington-Posner, Kadeem, Cann, Young, Antezzo, and Manus —  passed three budgets that would have kept the mill rate at or close to the 2016-17 level of 38.99. The plans would also have called for reductions in Town Hall spending.

Harkins vetoed all three of those plans, often with support from the four other councilors. Harkins claimed the Group of Six’s budgets would have left the town unable to pay for its obligations.

See this week’s Stratford Star for more coverage of this story.

About author
Editor for the Stratford Star. Former reporter for the Darien Times.

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