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Danbury City Council approves budget after disagreements on education, cultural arts spending

A no property tax increase plan has been approved by the Danbury City Council.  Mayor Mark Boughton says the $261.5 million plan includes $4.5 million for paving. The budget drivers include retiree medical payments, pension contributions, wages and benefits, and school spending.   School spending makes up little more than half the City budget. 

The Mayor proposed $5.2 million of the $7.7 million increase requested by the Board of Education. During discussions of the budget, some members made a pitch for more education dollars.  An amendment from Councilman Duane Perkins to take $1 million from fund balance for the schools to use on special ed, psychologists and the like eventually was voted down. 

The Council can not dictate how the Board of Ed uses funding once allocated to the district.

There was also disagreement over arts and cultural authorities being lumped into the public works budget.  An amendment was raised to take $20,000 and $6,000 out of the contingency fund to support Tarrywile Park and the Danbury Museum respectively.  The motion failed. 

The budget was approved in a vote of 14-7, with all Democrats voting in opposition.

Democratic Mayoral challenger Chris Setaro issued a statement about the city budget.  He says while the latest plan doesn't  increase the mill rate, it still increases spending by more than $4.5 million.  Setaro says not enough of those dollars are going to the schools, to improving roads, or hiring more police officers.  Setaro called for a conversation about the city’s priorities and directing resources to where they are needed the most.