Aldermen adopt budget, which includes four police officers to work in Milford schools

A compromise plan to hire school resource officers seemed to sway some aldermen as they were asked to vote on a 2013-14 budget Thursday night. But in the end, the resource officer plan put forward by the police chief was adopted.

The school resource officer (SRO) plan, which adds about $300,000 in expenses to the city/school spending plan for next year, was approved along with a host of other spending measures.

After several hours of discussion Thursday, preceded by many hours in previous weeks, the aldermen adopted a budget of $194,043,398. The spending plan produces a mill rate of 26.28.

According to Finance Director Peter Erodici, that means taxes on the typical raised ranch home with a market value of $311,070 will rise $148.

School resource officers and the funding for them has been a highlight of this year’s budget discussions. Police Chief Keith Mello proposed hiring four SROs to cover the high schools and middle schools at a cost of about $300,000. The school board allocated $150,000 for half the cost and was waiting to see if the aldermen would fund the other half.

Alderman Robert Nunno on Thursday night said North Branford hired retired police officers to work as SROs and the cost is much less. He said the Board of Education could spend about $145,000 to hire five retired police officers and train them to be SROs.

Some of the aldermen seemed interested in his proposal but said they wished they’d had the information sooner.

In the end, the board voted to add the four SRO positions that Chief Mello had proposed.