WALLINGFORD — Residents asked town department heads to find ways to reduce costs at a public hearing Monday night on the mayor’s proposed 2019-20 budget.
Town department heads were available to answer the public’s questions, but about two-thirds did not receive any queries.
Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. released his $169 million proposal last week.
The Board of Education answered questions first. Members of the public asked about the number of administrators and proposals to renovate the middle and high schools, while the school district has declining enrollment.
School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo said while enrollment has declined, the number of students that need special services has increased.
Last year, the school board returned money to the town, Menzo said.
"We've always made sure to live within the means we're provided,” he said.
Other departments and areas that drew questions included the Capital Nonrecurring Fund, the Economic Development Commission, Public Works, pensions, and WGTV.
Parks and Recreation Director John Gawlak said his department recognized the need to do something with Community Pool, which is open nine weeks of the year, to get more value out of the property. The town is considering building a new pool and adding amenities.
Fire Chief Richard Heidgerd answered questions about overtime and taking Rescue 3 off the road temporarily.
Resident William Comerford raised questions about dents or marks on the exterior of the Center Street Cemetery’s building on Prince Street. He also asked about reviewing a cemetery budget, but cemetery representatives Bob Gross and Robert Beaumont said it’s not a public document, since the association is not a government entity.
The Town Council is slated to hold further budget workshops and public hearings throughout April.
A budget workshop is scheduled for tonight following the regular Town Council meeting, slated to start at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall council chambers.
The council can make amendments to Dickinson's budget before voting to adopt a 2019-20 budget in May. If the council does not adopt an amended budget, the mayor's proposal will go into effect automatically.