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Ansonia to begin budget workshops to start tightening up its 2014-15 budget

By Jean Falbo-Sosnovich, New Haven Register, Conn.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Feb. 27--ANSONIA -- The Board of Apportionment and Taxation is set to sharpen its pencils and roll up its sleeves as it kicks off its annual series of budget workshops Monday, March 3.

Now that the Board of Aldermen has approved Mayor David Cassetti's proposed $61.1 million budget for fiscal year 2014-15, it's up to the tax board to delve into the document, line item by line item, and set a final budget.

The tax board will meet with each department head, seeking an explanation for the monies they have requested for next year. The workshops are open to the public and will take place in the Erlingheuser Room at City Hall.

The schedule is as follows:

March 3: Town Clerk's Office, 6 p.m.; Economic Development, 6:20 p.m.; Recreation, 6:40 p.m.; Tax Office, 7 p.m.; City Engineer/Public Works, 7:20 p.m.

March 10: Elections, 6 p.m.; Building Department, 6:20 p.m.; City Government, 6:40 p.m.; Police Department/E.O.C., 7 p.m.

March 13: ARMS, 6 p.m.; Fire Marshall, 6:30 p.m.; Fire Department, 6:45 p.m.

March 20: Nature Center, 6 p.m.; Senior Center, 6:20 p.m.; Assessor, 6:40 p.m.; Library, 7 p.m.; Board of Education/School Building Commission, 7:20 p.m.

March 24: Mayor's Office, Finance, Insurance and Debt, BOAT, Revenue, 6 p.m.

Once the workshops are wrapped up, the tax board will meet again on March 27, 31 and April 3 at 6 p.m. to deliberate and hammer out a final budget. The board is slated to vote on the budget May 19.

Cassetti's budget aims to give taxpayers a slight break in their wallets. While the proposal is $17,823 more than the 2013-14 budget, it reflects a .73 decrease in the mill rate. That translates to a $140 decrease in taxes next year for a homeowner with a house assessed at $200,000.

Cassetti had asked all department heads to come in with 4 percent decreases in their budget requests. He said the result is a proposed budget that is "honest and fair," and for the first time in five years, lowers the mill rate, giving struggling taxpayers some needed relief.

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