Fairfield, CT - On Monday morning, March 1, Fairfield First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick will present her second annual budget to the Board of Selectmen. In advance of the presentation, FS Kupchick shared the following preface with the public:
"In crafting this budget, I was mindful of all the sacrifices and triumphs we have experienced as a Town and as a Nation living through the challenges of a pandemic and the economic hardships that came with it.I am saddened by the loss of life in our Town and heartened by our community’s resilience that makes Fairfield a great place for families, for seniors to retire, and for businesses to grow.
This budget utilizes the grand list growth to replenish the accounts that were used to subsidize last year’s 0% tax increase. This budget also ensures that the Town’s long-term liabilities are once again fully funded. My proposed budget (click here), if adopted unchanged, will result in a 1.98% tax increase.
I am proud to report that my administration has made great strides over this past year in changing the culture in Town Hall. My reorganization plan, as reflected in this budget, will continue to provide for a realignment of staffing. These reorganization efforts will enable Town government to be more efficient and responsive to taxpayer needs, while at the same time reducing the number of people working in government.
My proposed budget includes a $7.5 million increase (4.1%) in education spending, which is the second highest dollar increase in a decade, despite declining enrollment.During Board of Education (BOE) budget deliberations, a BOE member was quoted as saying, "[The] Board of Education is not charged with finding out how much its budget will cost the Town." I disagree, affordability is the responsibility of every Town body. Our residents cannot afford a nearly 6% increase to the Board of Education budget, which is almost 3x the rate of inflation.During last year’s budget process, I called upon the Board of Education and Superintendent to reorganize and restructure, as I have done with Town government. I am renewing my offer to the school administration to work with my administration and other Town bodies in the coming year to address structural cost drivers as the education funding amounts to 2/3 of the total Town budget. My reorganization of Town government is part of a multi-year approach to move our Town forward. I remain steadfast in the belief that making these crucial investments, no matter how difficult, will enable us to grow our local economy, provide tax relief to our residents, maintain excellent schools, and provide the highest level of service to help us chart a new course for Fairfield.