Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The state budget and Middletown

Middletown officials are nervously awaiting the release today of Governor Rell's state budget. Municipal aid is a very large portion of the State's budget, in the current fiscal year approximately $2.3 billion is targeted towards municipalities. Middletown received nearly $31 million of this (perhaps not coincidentally, this is 1.3% of the total, and Middletown has 1.3% of the state's population). The money comes to Middletown in the form of grants for specific projects, the chart below shows the proportion of the Middletown $31 million allocated through specific programs.
(I prepared this chart from data available through the governor's office.)

Each of the categories of state funding is influenced by a formula approved by the legislature.
  • Educational Cost Sharing grants are given on a sliding scale determined by the town grand list, population, and income.
  • PILOT (payments in lieu of taxes) is determined by the value of state-owned land in town, and a specified percentage of the property tax that would be paid by a private sector owner (100% for state prisons, 65% for Connecticut Valley Hospital, 77% for private colleges and general hospitals, and 45% for all other state-owned property).
  • Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan money is a bonus to the towns based on numbers similar to those used above.
  • Adult Education is determined on a similar sliding scale to the Educational Cost Sharing grants.
  • Public School Transportation is based on local wealth and is determined by a percentage determined the ranking of town wealth (the wealthiest 17 towns get nothing).
  • Local Capital Improvement grants are given to towns that apply for reimbursement for approved projects.
  • Town Aid Road is determined by population and miles of road.

The budget to be released today will likely have significant cuts from the current year's budget, to make up for a shortfall in revenue. Middletown officials are bracing for a loss of as much as $6 million in state funding.

[NOTE ADDED, 2/4/09, 7:00AM: The Courant is reporting that Governor Rell will not be cutting the major education grant.]

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