Auditors present favorable report at three-board meeting
By Shirley Murtha
At the three-board meeting on February 24 in the Granby Senior/Youth Center, representatives from the accounting firm of Blum Shapiro reported on their recent audit of Granby's books for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. No material weaknesses or significant deficiencies were found, and it was noted that town management was very cooperative and helpful in providing all the documents necessary.
Board of Education business manager Harry Traver, and the town's Chief Finance Officer Barbarajean Scibelli, presented financial reports prior to State Senators Kevin Witkos and John Kissel giving an update on the financial situation at the state level. The senators were optimistic that the shortcomings discovered in the state budget since Governor Malloy's presentation on February 18 would not be addressed at the expense of aid to municipalities. Board of Finance Chairman Mike Guarco said that towns would be willing to accept a flat budget if costs and mandates did not continue to increase. He feels that the money being spent on the new busway and stadium could be put to better use to serve the greater population.
Board of Education Chairman Ron Walther reported that the BOE budget is still at a 2.4 percent increase, and First Selectman Scott Kuhnly said that the administration's budget remains between 2 and 3 percent to maintain present services. Town Manager Bill Smith noted that many "little things are not getting done" because of the constant need to cut back. BOF member Gordon Bischoff asked why, if enrollment in the schools is declining, there is not a corresponding decline in the BOE budget. BOE member Ben Perron replied that cuts are being made, but costs are rising commensurately so no gain is being made in reducing the budget. BOE members are adamant that the town must continue to retain the high standards that its school district has achieved.
Guarco wrapped up the meeting by asking the boards to continue paring down expenses to the low two percent range. BOF member Al Wilke noted that it is difficult to get a large number of residents to vote on the budget, and those against the budget tend to be over-represented. He encouraged the boards to "present the best budget possible" so that the typical resident would be willing to support it.