After being chastised by Council Democrats during the last round of budget preparation, Mayor Sebastian Giuliano is meeting with all city department heads in anticipation of creating the budget for fiscal year 2010-2011.
"When the directors met with the Council last year on the budget, the first question the Council asked was, 'Did you meet with the mayor,'" Giuliano explained. "That was the process I used in the first year of my administration, and I'm going back to it this year."
Giuliano said that in previous years he had required that each department prepare a budget and a report which he examined, and then directed questions to directors.
The mayor said that preparing the budget will be a challenge since there appears to be a gap between anticipated revenue and budget that could be as high as $5-7 million. Giuliano continues to cite a financial dependence on one-time revenue sources, like the sale of Cucia park to the Army, as an inadequate way to prepare a budget.
Giuliano also expressed concern about a deteriorating state budget. Although Governor Jodi Rell said that she would not make further cuts in aid to municipalities, Giuliano was not sure that the governor's numbers were dependable for municipal budget-making.
"It appears, from her numbers, that we'd be getting $300,000 more than last year," Giuliano said. "But what we got was $500,000 less."
Giuliano explained that typically it was the Governor's numbers that were more conservative, but last year, because of a rattled economy, the legislature actually delivered less than the governor promised.
"Of course, I've got to use the governor's numbers as the basis for our budget," Giuliano said. "But I'm not sure they are the most reliable numbers to use."
Giuliano explained that meeting with directors is the first step in a long budget process.