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Norwalk council receives 2016 proposed budget

By SCOTT SEITZ • Nov 14, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Norwalk Finance Director Diane Eschen unleashed the proposed 2016 budget on city council members at Tuesday’s meeting.

Council members will review the budget during the next month, possibly approving it at the Dec. 15 meeting.

Eschen provide overall budget details in her written narrative.

“The budget reflects a total of 126 full-time employees, including the intensive supervision probation officer and cognitive skills officer currently paid from grant funds,” she said.

“Total budgeted payroll for 2016 is $8.05 million compared to $7.6 million for 2015 which is an increase of just less than 6 percent or about $450,000,” Eschen added.

“The 2016 budget includes a 2-percent wage increase for employees and adjustments to pay included in the collective bargaining unit agreements,” she said. “It includes some step increases pursuant to the collective bargaining unit agreements as well as proposed step increases to other employees in other departments. A large portion of the increase is also attributed to the creation of the payroll stabilization fund, with a budget of over $200,000 for anticipated retirements. Longevity pay for eligible employees is not included.

”Health care insurance rates for 2016 will increase from 2015 by 8 percent and a full 12 months of premium has been budgeted,“ Eschen said. ”At this time, a moratorium of premiums is not anticipated.“

Eschen said health-care costs have increased in this proposed budget by about $225,000 from 2015 to 2016 by budgeting the full 12 months of premiums and changes by employees either from single to family or family to single coverage.

”Deductibles will remain at $400 single and $800 family and maximum out-of-pocket limits will remain at $600 single and $1,200 family,“ she added.

Norwalk’s share of health insurance cost is 85 percent and the employee share is 15.

Workers compensation rates have decreased by about 14 percent, Eschen said.

”The budget for city council does not include a subsidy for fireworks ($3,000) but does include the subsidy for Services for the Aging ($7,000),“ she added.

”The 2016 budget includes $55,000 for the city share of the economic development director as agreed with the Norwalk Economic Development Corp. and $3,000 for the city’s participation in the Main Street program,“ Eschen said.

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