Finance board flummoxed: Tea-leaf reading state budget moves

Fiddle, bicker, discuss — the state’s very public political process makes problems for the town. “Hartford is 19 square miles, surrounded by the real world,” said Dick Moccia of Ridgefield’s Board of Finance. Fiscal planning by the town is complicated by the state’s ways: it’s urge to offload costs onto municipalities; the schedule that has legislative sessions ending after town … read more

$148-million budget: Taxes, spending up for comment Monday night

Too much spending? Not enough for schools? With a tax increase projected in the vicinity of 3%, should the town tap into its surplus fund balance to hold taxes down? A $148-million town and school budget proposed for 2019-20 will be up for comment at a public hearing Monday night. And while town officials are anticipating a surplus this year, … read more

Trucks, trees, and servers: Capital budget lists projects and purchases

A $4.5-million capital budget — major purchases and projects to be paid for with borrowing — was approved by the Board of Selectmen for 2019-20 and will be reviewed by the Board of Finance. “It’s a little higher than we had hoped,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said of list that includes requests by all town departments and the school system. … read more

School board maintains 3.6% budget increase

The Board of Education opted to pass its $98,423,760 budget proposal for the 2019-20 school year along to the Board of Finance without any additional cuts Monday, March 11. The decision come five days after the Board of Selectmen made a non-binding recommendation for the schools to cut $460,000. The school board did ask Superintendent William Collins to find areas … read more

Affordable housing: Goal remains elusive, and the need continues

Affordable housing may seem a distant goalpost in a town like Ridgefield, where single family homes dominate and 330 houses sold in 2018 had an average price of over $716,000. Even the 69 condominiums that changed hands in Ridgefield last year averaged $309,000. But town officials remain hopeful that continuing growth can be guided to include some well-located, less-costly housing … read more

Pickleball players protest price hike

Pleading price-gouging, the pickleballers of Ridgefield, Connecticut, brought their complaints of financial oppression by the Parks and Recreation Commission to the Board of Finance and then the Board of Selectmen — but both boards said they had no authority over pickleball fees or other specifics within the parks and recreation budget. “Many of us are seniors who want to stay … read more

Auditors say town finances look good

The independent auditors are comfortable with Ridgefield’s finances and bookkeeping for the last fiscal year. And First Selectman Rudy Marconi likes what the auditors’ 2017-18 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report — or CAFR — has to say about the town. “It looks good, healthy, strong,” Marconi said. “We’re a healthy community, financially. The ratings bureaus love it.” Marconi offered those thoughts … read more

Outstanding debt: Town’s borrowing has declined from $140 million to $60.7 million over last two decades

On average, American households have about $15,000 of credit card debt, according to NerdWallet.

Town debt peaked and has been in decline for more than a decade. Looming capital expenditure needs could change that, although town officials work to limit borrowing and try to time major projects so they don’t balloon the debt. Ridgefield’s outstanding debt has fallen from a peak of about $140 million after borrowing for the $90-million school bundle — renovations … read more

Ulmer, Mancini re-elected as finance board leaders

Swiftly, unanimously and without controversy, the Board of Finance members re-elected Chairman Dave Ulmer and Vice Chairwoman Jessica Mancini to lead them for 2019. “We work together real well as a board, and will continue to do that,” Ulmer said after the Jan. 15 board meeting. Ulmer and Mancini are both Democrats. The party holds a 4-to-1 majority on the … read more

Tri-board meeting: Town finances look strong, schools’ maintenance lags

Neglected school infrastructure will be getting a closer look from a new committee, the finance board is shooting for a tax increase below 2% next year, and the 2019-20 budget work will start with a projected 5.2% school spending increase while the selectmen — having cut several positions — are hoping to hold town departments to a near-zero increase. That … read more

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