As part of Middletown officials’ efforts to get public input early in the FY2013 budget process, an open house was held Wednesday night, with several key facilities open from 3 to 8 p.m. for tours, but attendance was light.
“We stay true to making civic engagement a top priority,” said Town Administrator Shawn Brown, at a juncture midway through the evening when he and other town employees were the only people in . “The goal is to get as much input as possible before giving the proposed FY2013 budget to Town Council on April 1.”
Brown was joined at Town Hall last night by members of all the key departments housed in the building, including Finance, Building and Zoning, Town Clerk, and others. The Middletown Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force was on hand in Council Chambers. Printouts of the current budget, FY2012, were available to aid any discussions that might arise.
Other facilities that were open for tours and budget questions included the , Public Works Department, , and the .
One facility that did see a modest turnout was the Police Station, where Police Chief Anthony Pesare greeted visitors with a slide presentation about the department’s activities and budget, and assigned police officers to lead tours.
The $8 million building, which just opened in 2009, is the town’s newest municipal facility. The tour gave visitors a glimpse of areas of the building not usually seen by the public, including holding cells, interview areas, a fingerprinting area, vehicle bays, locker rooms, and detectives’ offices.
Chief Pesare described efforts the department is making to cut costs, including a recent switch from 8-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts, which he anticipates will eliminate overtime costs. “We’ve been doing the 12-hour shifts for one month now, and it’s working well so far,” he said.
The next steps in the FY2013 budget process include meetings in Town Hall on March 5 and March 26, open to the public, to discuss specific department budgets, followed by the presentation to Town Council by April 1 of the proposed FY2013 budget and Capital Improvement Plan for FY2013-FY2017. During April, there are four budget meetings on the schedule, all open to the public, followed by two public hearings in May. Budget adoption typically takes place in June, prior to the July 1, 2012 start of FY 2013. A schedule of budget meetings is available on the Town Clerk’s page of the town website.