Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. announced today that initial closeout figures indicate that East Haven ended the 2016-2017 fiscal year with a $273,012.00 dollar operating surplus - the Town's sixth consecutive surplus in as many years for Maturo since returning to Town Hall in 2011 and the sixteenth surplus for Maturo since 1997.
Maturo explained, "Despite continued uncertainty about the State budget and losses in State aid on both the Town and Board of Education sides of the budget, we are projecting a modest surplus of approximately $273,000.00 dollars for the fiscal year which closed on June 30, 2017."
Specifically, according to the Finance Department's final projections, revenue for the '16-'17 fiscal year totaled $88,938,880.00 million and total expenditures, including the Board of Education, totaled $88,665,868.00 million, resulting in an operating surplus of $273,012.00. Finance Department close-out figures indicate both the Town and Board of Education achieved and maintained balanced operations, despite shortfalls of $260,826.00 in municipal revenue sharing aid and $184,422.00 in transportation subsidies from the State.
Maturo continued, "The projected $273,012.00 dollar surplus will be credited to the Town's rainy-day fund, raising that fund from $4.98 million to $5.25 million dollars, its highest level since 2007. This is a remarkable accomplishment given the State's struggles and it's a testament to the hard work of my team and our department heads who worked diligently to hold the line on spending throughout the last fiscal year."
Maturo noted, "In 2010, the Town's fund balance, or rainy-day fund, had been allowed to spiral into a $5.19 million-dollar deficit. When I resumed office in 2011, following a massive tax hike by the prior administration, the fund stood at just $200,800.00 dollars. Based on the figures we're seeing today, the Town's fund balance has grown to a healthy $5.25 million dollars - an astonishing $10.3 million-dollar reversal since 2010."
Finance Director Paul Rizza explained, "Credit rating agencies generally recommend that municipalities maintain a fund balance of no less than five percent (5%) of their operating budgets. East Haven's $5.25 million-dollar fund balance represents 5.87% of the Town's 2017-2018 operating budget, just above S&P's recommendation."
In August of 2014, Standard and Poor's awarded East Haven an increase in its credit rating from "BBB+" to "A-." Just two years later, the rating agency awarded the Town an historic, two-tier credit rating upgrade from "A-" to "A+," the highest credit rating for the Town in its modern history."
Maturo explained, "At present, even with the $2.52 million-dollar capital program I have proposed for the current year, our long-term debt will stand at $23.09 million dollars, which represents a reduction of 48% from the staggering $48.10 million dollars in debt the Town maintained just six years ago. In fact, our Finance Director projects that our efforts have us on track to pay off 90% of our outstanding long-term debt in the next eight to nine years."
With the Town's finances on firm footing, Maturo indicates that his administration has begun a number of capital and infrastructure projects across Town, including the construction of a much-anticipated Skate Park at the Joseph Melillo Middle School Complex.
Maturo explained, "In the next week we will be opening our Skate Park, a one-of-a-kind facility funded entirely with grant monies. We're also in the process of replacing fencing at Memorial Field and we've begun an aggressive $550,000.00 dollar town-wide road paving and sidewalk program. In the capital program heading to the Town Council next week, we've also allocated funding for over forty items including $201,000.00 dollars in funding for new public works equipment, $625,000.00 dollars for a new fire truck, $150,000.00 dollars for new police vehicles, and $25,000.00 for maintenance of the Farm River."
Maturo concluded, "Since 1997, my team and I have maintained a steady fiscal course to benefit all of our community's taxpayers, a course which is presently protecting vital services for all of our residents in the face of the State's fiscal mess. I am pleased to have delivered another balanced budget for our community and even more pleased to have done so while keeping taxes low and stable. Moving forward, we will continue to focus our efforts on limiting borrowing, addressing our infrastructure needs, and increasing services to our residents while striving to reduce the tax burden on our residents and businesses."