“It was relatively easier than most other budget processes,” Mayor Nancy Rossi said after the approval.
Members of MARB, a state agency that offers the city financial aid in return for some state control over the city’s overall finances and decision-making, have in previous budget cycles criticized actions and proposals of the city for the financial perspective and considered to tighten the reins on the city over time instead of loosening them.
But Bureau of Policy and Management delegate Kimberly Kennison noted this week that the budget the city passed contains MARB’s biggest recommendations: prepare a mitigation plan to demonstrate financial sustainability without federal relief for COVID-19 and increasing the city’s contribution to the Allingtown Fire District. pension funds.
MARB board member Mark Waxenberg asked the city to explain its health insurance plans for city employees and retirees. City finance director Frank Cieplinski responded that the city is using a high deductible plan but intends to switch to the state partnership plan; retirees benefit from the same health insurance as before.
There were no more questions asked and MARB board members unanimously approved the budget, subject to MARB approval of a five-year financial plan for the city.
This five-year plan will be submitted to a subcommittee on May 25.
“I think we’ll get there with the five-year plan,” Rossi said.
Ahead of the vote, a West Haven resident who identified himself only by first name called to the meeting to urge the MARB to reject the budget. He said the city’s reliance on federal aid to support things like wage increases means the balance is not being properly balanced.
According to the chairman of the city council, Ron Quagliani, the city’s tax rate under the budget approved by the council would be 34 mills; the tax rate for the Allingtown Fire Department would be 11.62 mills.