The town of East Haven is trying to close a two million dollar shortfall.
“The town of East Haven is facing serious accounting errors which include a payroll omission on the Board of Education side of the budget,” said East Haven Mayor April Capone Almon.
That omission cost the town $1 million. The Mayor says the oversight was found as the finance department was trying to transition for the unexpected retirement of Finance Director Paul Rizza.
“Things just didn’t make sense, and every time you found something that didn’t make sense and tried to explain it, you found something else that didn’t make sense,” said Capone Almon.
The Mayor says town and Board of Ed revenues were misrepresented and misstated over several years, which means the two were spending more money than they actually had. Now, the Mayor is trying to work to re-arrange funds in the town to meet this gap in the education budget.
“I’ve directed Paul Hongo, Deputy Director of Town Affairs, to meet with the six town unions immediately and request concessions in lieu of layoffs,” she said.
The Mayor wants a forensic audit of the budget by an independent firm. The Board of Ed does not use a ledger.
One thing the Mayor says won’t happen is raising taxes. She says residents shouldn’t have to bear the burden of mismanagement of funds.
“I don’t want our taxes raised, they’re high enough now. They’re going to hopefully have to get the money from somewhere else if they made this error,” said Phyllis Stackpole, who was happy to hear her taxes won’t be raised.
“I think the Mayor is doing a good job of keeping taxes low and I applaud her for that,” added Sal Ferrara.
Teachers were shocked to hear of the shortfall. In fact, one says the Superintendent told them just last week that an increase in the mill rate of .85% would save all their jobs.