December 15, 2017

Letter to the Editor: Needleman Confirms Financial Status of Essex is Strong, Despite State’s Budget Woes

To the Editor:

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Essex

Although the State of Connecticut is in turmoil, we are not. We are as anxious as anyone to see how the budget gets resolved. However, the result will have a minimal effect on us

because we have been diligent in our efforts.

For fiscal year 2016/2017, Town of Essex will once again finish the year with a budget surplus.  The surplus is the result of positive variances on both the revenue and expenditure sides versus budget.  Higher than anticipated revenue from property tax and local revenue sources were more than sufficient to offset the loss of State revenue during the fiscal year.  Expenditures finished the year under budget for both the General Government and Education.  Bottom line, the Town will add approximately $161 thousand to the rainy day fund. In addition to that, $260 thousand dollars of surplus was utilized for a one-time payment to pension funds and additional money for capital sinking funds.  In other words, our total surplus was over $420 thousand.

It has been through the Town’s careful budgeting, healthy fund balance and minimal reliance on State funding sources that earned the Town an increase in credit rating to AA+ with S&P Global Ratings in the face of a downgraded rating for the State of CT.  Armed with this improved rating, the Town issued $6 million in General Obligation Bonds on September 19th with a true interest cost of 2.49%. These bonds represented the final financing of the Capital Improvements Program approved at the December 2014 referendum.

Moreover, building activity was at a record pace in 2016-17 and businesses throughout town have been opening, including restaurants, galleries, and other retail shops.

All in all, I’m proud to say that through the collaborate efforts of our Board of Selectmen the state of our town is in great shape.

All the Best,

Norm Needleman,
Essex.

Editor’s Note: The author id the first selectman of Essex.

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