Citing the Town's "A+" credit rating and healthy rainy day fund surplus, Republican Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. has proposed a $3.3 million dollar capital and infrastructure program for the 2018-2019 budget year which, following a unanimous vote of approval from the Democratic-controlled Board of Finance just last week, will head to the Republican-controlled Town Council for consideration at its upcoming July and August meetings.
Maturo explained, "Thanks to this administration's efforts since 2011 to curb wasteful spending, reduce debt, and rebuild our rainy day fund, we've rebuilt our credit rating from "BBB+" to "A+" and are now able to borrow money for infrastructure improvements at far more advantageous rates than we could seven years ago. As a result, I have proposed a $3.3 million dollar capital program for the upcoming budget year which, following a unanimous vote of approval by the Board of Finance last week, will head to the Town Council for consideration and approval at its next meeting."
According to Maturo, the 2018-2019 capital program includes generous funding for over thirty (30) large and small-scale projects across town including road paving ($600,000.00), new police vehicles ($255,000.00), and public works and engineering initiatives ($170,000.00). The program also includes funding for critical improvements at the Fire Department, including a new paramedic rescue vehicle ($120,000.00) and upgrades to the Town's emergency radio and dispatching equipment ($800,000.00). Some of the smaller-scale, but equally important, initiatives include funding for a new senior bus ($80,000.00), a new bingo machine for the senior center ($15,000.00), and renovations of the Town's building and zoning departments ($15,000.00).
Maturo continued, "My proposed $3.3 million dollar capital program is the most expansive and aggressive capital program since 2011. Despite its size, with scheduled debt payments in the upcoming fiscal year, our long term debt will stand at somewhere close to $21.52 million dollars, which represents a reduction of 55% from the staggering $48.10 million dollars in debt the Town maintained just seven years ago."
Town records indicate that capital programs between 2012 and 2015 ranged from $794,000 to $1.57 million dollars. Following the Town's historic, two-tier credit rating upgrade in 2016 from "A-" to "A+," Maturo called for more extensive capital programs of $2.45 million (2016-2017) and $2.52 million (2017-2018). The Mayor's proposed $3.3 million dollar 2018-2019 program represents the largest infrastructure endeavor by the Town since Maturo resumed office in 2011.
Maturo noted, "When we resumed office in 2011, the Town was spiraling toward fiscal disaster as a result of the failed policies of the prior Democratic administration. Our immediate focus, upon resuming office in 2011, was on balancing our budgets and rebuilding our rainy day fund. Since 2011, we've grown that fund from a paltry $200,000 dollars to a healthy $5.4 million dollars. Now that we have achieved the minimum level recommended for our rainy day fund by rating agencies like Standard and Poor's, we've shifted our focus from repairing our credit to repairing and expanding our infrastructure."
Maturo added, "It speaks volumes that other communities across the State are enacting massive tax hikes and huge budget cuts just to maintain services while, here in East Haven, we're keeping taxes low and stable while, at the same time, expanding the services we offer and the capital resources available to our residents and employees."
Maturo concluded, "Especially in light of the State's continuing fiscal woes, I am incredibly proud to be spearheading this infrastructure program. The improvements we intend to undertake under this capital program will expand the services we provide our residents, improve our efficiency performing the work we already do, and will directly improve residents' quality of life. I am pleased to have the unanimous support of the Board of Finance with respect to this proposal and I urge the Town Council to review and pass this measure quickly so that we can get to work putting this year's capital program in motion."
For more information, contact Joe Coppola at 203-468-3204 or visit www.townofeasthavenct.org.