It’s budget season! Here’s what you need to know to make sure the voice of Greenwich citizens are reflected in the 2023-2024 spending plan.
The BET (Board of Estimation and Taxation) is working towards approving the annual recommended town budget. The committee has been conducting meetings to discuss changes and amendments to the budget throughout the month of February and are nearing their decision date. The budget will be held to a vote for approval on April 4. The final budget approval will occur in May, where the RTM can make cuts but not additional changes.
According to greenwichct.gov, “The Board of Estimate and Taxation is responsible for the proper administration of the financial affairs of the Town including the issuance of the annual recommended Budget and setting the Town tax mill rate. The Board also acts on requests for additional appropriations, transfers and allotments made during the fiscal year.” Their responsibility is to make effective fiscal decisions that benefit the interests of the town and its citizens. The BET includes a four member Budget Committee, chaired by Leslie Tarkington.
This year’s budget and spending plan focuses on multiple current and important issues. These issues have been thoroughly discussed by the committee and on March 29, there will be a public hearing where constituents will have the opportunity to speak to the BET about what they support and what they would like to see included in the budget.
Make sure you know what the hot topics are in this year’s budget before attending!
Central Middle School Project: The new Central Middle School project has included a long debate over spending priorities. The Board of Education has put forth a multi-million dollar budget.
ADA Compliance in Greenwich Public Schools: Many citizens have brought up the issue of ADA compliance in schools, recreational facilities, and educational buildings around town. This is an important issue of spending allocation as construction projects will have to be completed to make these locations more accessible. One specific instance of this issue is the proposed renovations to Old Greenwich School, bringing the school up to compliance after a complaint was made in 2021 with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
New Town Ice Rink & Cardinal Stadium: After years of building plans to rebuild the current town ice rink, Dorothy Hamil, and make updates to the new Cardinal Stadium, there is a chance that these projects could be removed from the 2023-2024 budget and referred to next year. And yet still, according to a recent Greenwich Times Article, “The First Selectman's budget had called for $950,000 to continue planning and design work for a new ice rink in Byram. That $950,000 figure comes from an assumption that the rink will cost $21 million to construct, but there is no finalized plan on replacing the rink yet.”
Infrastructure Maintenance: Infrastructure spending is a consistent issue discussed during budget deliberations. Every member of this town has different priorities when it comes to infrastructure spending. Whether it’s roads, bridges, or police and fire departments, as a citizen of this town, understand what is most important to you.
These topics are just some of the debated issues discussed in the 2023-2024 budget. Make sure to head over to the town website and read through BET minutes and reports to learn about more proposed town spending projects.
And remember: March 29 is your opportunity to make your voice heard at one of the most impactful town discussions of the year!
BET PUBLIC HEARING | March 29, 7pm - 10pm at Town Hall Meeting Room