West Haven to get $8 million in restructuring funds from state

The city met state requirements and has initiated the process to receive $8 million in municipal restructuring funds expected to provide West Haven with the means to finish the 2017-18 fiscal year in the black, Mayor Nancy Rossi said Wednesday, Jan. 2.

Rossi made a formal request to Ben Barnes, outgoing secretary of the state Office of Policy and Management and chairman of the Municipal Accountability Review Board, in a letter dated Dec. 27.

The city complied with the two conditions the MARB previously placed on its approval of West Haven’s five-year fiscal recovery plan by submitting a plan to complete a study of its fire service on Nov. 29 and submitting a draft statement of revenues, expenditures and changes in its fund balance on Dec. 20, the letter said.

Rossi said she was told the city had met the necessary conditions last week by OPM and MARB staff member Julian Freund.

Freund informed her on Monday the $8 million was in the process of being transferred to the city’s account, Rossi said.

Freund said Wednesday the payment still was in process.

“It’s an electronic payment, so I’m told it takes a day or two to appear in their account,” he said.

Rossi said that while she does not expect the city’s audit for the fiscal year that ended June 30 to be delivered until Feb. 28, “I do believe that we’ve balanced it.

“Plus, we worked very hard to make significant cuts and a lot of changes in the way we do businesses ... so we hope that it will at least balance and maybe give us a little extra,” Rossi said.

But she said she won’t know for sure “until I have an audit in my hand. That’s what makes it definite.”

The MARB, which is expected to give West Haven an additional $8 million to help balance the current 2018-19 fiscal year budget, approved West Haven’s five-year plan by an 8-3 vote on Nov. 1, 2018.

Under the terms of the approval, the state agreed to pay West Haven up to $8 million for fiscal 2018 and 25 percent of the $8 million set aside for fiscal 2019 by Dec. 31, 2018. It then would pay West Haven an additional 25 percent by April 30, and the final 50 percent by June 30.

No payment will be made toward the payments scheduled after Dec. 31 until the state receives the city’s final audit for fiscal 2018.

The April 30 payment may be withheld until the city submits several requested studies — included a completed fire service consolidation study — and the June 30 payment will be held until the MARB approves the city’s fiscal 2020 budget and an update to the five-year plan, along with evidence that it is fully funding the Allingtown fire department pension plan.