Town Manager Denise McNair said cutting the town budget is a lot like running a household, just on a larger scale.
"People are struggling every day whether they should buy a car because they need a new one," McNair said. "But it's not a question of just going out and doing it. You have to prioritize and see what you absolutely have to have."
McNair met with department heads and got their input on what they wanted and needed. She then looked at the requests and made cuts and has sent them back to the department heads to see the results.
She will likely present the budget to the Council in late February and the town presentation will be in April.
"We are anxiously waiting for Gov. Malloy to make his address next Wednesday to see what he will do with state budget," McNair said. "Once we find out if he has cut our revenues or they will stay the same, we can move forward. We will see what revenues and state grants are still in place or being cut."
McNair said that while she made cuts in almost every department, she specifically remembered she cut one position request from a town department.
"I just can't see adding a position anywhere especially when I might have to lay off people or cut hours," she said. "In some departments I will cut a dollar amount and let the department heads decide what needs to be funded or what needs to be cut. If a department asks for a new vehicle I don't cut it out per se, but I'll cut a dollar amount and let them decide the most important things in the budget.
McNair said her displeasure in the current budget comes from a number of factors.
"I can tell you that I'm not totally happy with the budget as it looks right now," she said. "It is still higher than I would like it to be so there will probably be more cutting and that's hard. There are certain things I will leave in so when I present it to the Town Council I can tell them it is something we need to look at. If I keep telling the Council that everything is fine and it's not then they will come back to me and ask me why didn't you tell us more.
"We need capital items and we need to figure out how to better plan for these capital items but right now we can't fund all the capital items we need. But this is a predicament everyone and every town is in. If we don't use just taxes to fund the town, where do we get the extra revenue?"
McNair said she is scheduled to meet with School Superintendent David B. Erwin early next week. The bulk of the 4.75 percent increase requested by the BOE will pay for full day kindergarten.
"If I, or the Town Council cuts the Board of Education budget it will be up to them to determine what to do from there," McNair said. "The Council may cut some of the Board of Education budget but the BOE may say we're going to do it anyway. Again, we may cut a dollar amount and then the Board will decide how best to use the money."
McNair said that the municpalities may be the last to feel any economic rebound.
"You know, people are saying that things are getting better and the economy is coming around but I just don't see it as a Town Manager," she said. "I know there are still a lot of people out of work and people struggling to pay the bills. As a town, we are running very lean and I don't see the prospects being all that great looking forward."