Zeoli predicts ‘rocky ride’ for Orange
ORANGE >> Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s preliminary budget presentation, if approved as-is, would be “very concerning” for the town, First Selectman James Zeoli told the Board of Selectmen.
“We are in for a rocky ride,” Zeoli said recently, noting proposed cuts in the educational cost-sharing grant and other state funds.
In addition, Zeoli decried a proposal by the governor to have municipalities pick up part of teacher retirement costs.
Zeoli noted that he was in no way criticizing teachers or their pensions.
Malloy, in his recent budget address, announced he would sharply reduce financial aid to most municipalities so help can be maintained or increased to the poorest cities and towns.
That would be accomplished in large part, Malloy said, by making municipalities contribute one-third to the state teacher pension fund, which is now financed entirely by the state.
Collectively, one-third amounts to about $400 million.
Zeoli said Malloy’s proposed cuts to Orange in fiscal 2018 represent about $2.3 million.
The board also held a public hearing concerning proposed revisions to the town charter, including changing the registrars of voters’ terms from two years to four years, as the jobs require training, paid for by the town, and it takes about a year to learn the job.
Democratic Registrar Janice Casey and Republican Registrar Fredrick Kendrick spoke in favor of the change, saying it would save the town money, as it costs about $3,200 to become certified every term.
In other business, Selectman Mitchell R. Goldblatt, chairman of the Orange Recycling Committee, announced the awarding of a $10,000 grant from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to hold a free shredding and mattress-disposal day for residents from 9 a.m. to noon June 3 at High Plains Community Center.