As election day nears, mayoral Candidate David Gioiello has proposed a new of budgeting for Shelton.
An analysis of the city's budget by Wayne Bragg, a member of the Board of the Apportionment and Taxation, showed that under the current system, "spending constraints enacted to increase the reserve may reduce necessary operating expenses and decrease the quality and level of service provided by city departments."
Bragg, who would advise Gioiello if he were elected, said he analyzed the last four fiscal years of Shelton and found that the city budgeted more than it spent. The excess was returned to the city.
"This illustrates that the budget continues to be overstated by co-mingling the reserve amount with city budget expenditures. Much of this overstatement is accomplished by overstated headcount requirements," he said.
One example is the Police Department, which Gioiello said routinely returns money to the city but does not fill open positions. The mayor authorizes all hiring, Gioiello said.
"This [headcount] practice is flawed and does not promote transparency for the public or city departments," Bragg said.
He called for adding a separate expenditure line to the budget's general fund for the reserve and adjust the figures acccordingly. Then, "establishing a city policy on how all reserves are estimated, managed and controlled by the city Finance Director."
The Board of Aldermen would then monitor the surplus.
"This change will have no effect on the budget or taxes," Bragg said.
Bragg also proposed monthly reporting on gasoline expenses and use of city vehicles, separating city use from personal use and review of monthly budget reports by the taxation board. Departments should also present their actual headcount and spending the city boards and the public, he said.