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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Marpe: Responding Cautiously to State Request for Budget Information

First Selectman Jim Marpe said today Westport is responding cautiously to a state request for town budget information for fear it may be part of a “picking our pockets” effort to help solve state budget woes.

He told a Board of Selectman meeting that he had received a letter on Monday from Ben Barnes, secretary of the state Office of Policy Management, requesting the information.

Barnes asked about the general fund total balance and unassigned fund balance as well as supplemental information on the potential impact of the state budget problems and Westport’s contingency plans to deal with them, Marpe said.

Specifically, Barnes wanted information about Westport’s possible plans to utilize the fund balance and any plans to issue supplemental tax notices.

Marpe said his concern, after talking with fellow select persons in the area, is that this may be a precursor to the state seeking funds from successful towns such as Westport to supplement the budget deficit.

“I’ve asked (Finance Director) Gary Conrad to hold off on responding to this request,” he said. “This, I’m afraid, is an opportunity for the first step in the state picking our pockets to fund the problems that they’ve been dealing with up in Hartford.”

Marpe said he is anxious about why the state is seeking such information now, noting that it is public information and can be obtained. “But for the time being, we will approach carefully and cautiously how to respond to this request,” he said.

He added that he is concerned that “we might be penalized” for Westport’s conservative approach to budgeting.

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Posted 08/09/17 at 09:45 AM  Permalink



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