STAMFORD, Conn. — Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia proposed a $16 million increase for next year’s city spending plan, a 4.8 percent increase from last year, in an announcement Thursday.
The $495.8 million operating budget would increase the average tax rate to 24.03 mills from 17.79 mills, Pavia said. If the finance board and city representatives want to keep the mill rate closer to last year's level, layoffs will be needed, Pavia said.
“There was just no way we could do it,” he said of the budget. The increase in Pavia’s plan breaks down to $9.1 million to the Board of Education, $3.3 million to debt services and $3.5 million to city operations. Pensions and Other Post-Employment Benefits drove the operations plan up $3 million alone.
“There is not a lot of flexibility here,” said Peter Privitera, director of the Office of Policy Management, said.
The plan calls for the police department to add 25 members, including 10 in April , 10 in January, and five in the academy. The city would also fund $350,000 in overtime a month, without any in contingency.
In the plan, the Springdale, Turn of River and Long Ridge volunteer fire departments will receive only half of the funding requested, with the rest put in contingency.
If each of the departments comes with a clear plan of joining the newly formed Stamford Fire Department, they would receive the rest, Pavia said.
The mayor added $50,000 for a fireworks display this summer, which he is hoping to have help with funding from at least one corporate sponsor and the city is looking for more.
“I know this should make a lot of people happy,” Pavia said. He cut the annual fireworks show his first year in office to keep the budget low.
The proposed budget will go to the Board of Finance, which can only lower it, and then to the Board of Representatives, which can also only lower it, before final approval.