Mayor Nancy R. Rossi announced that the city will close fiscal year 2019, which ends June 30, with an estimated $3.5 million general fund operating budget surplus.
The surplus represents the second consecutive fiscal year with positive operating results. Fiscal 2018 ended with an audited $3.1 million surplus.
Both years include state restructuring grant funds, approved by the state Municipal Accountability Review Board, that gradually decrease and finally phase out after 2022.
The MARB originally approved $6 million in restructuring funds for fiscal 2020. The MARB recently reduced the $6 million to $4.1 million after the city documented a second year of positive operating results and the MARB determined that West Haven was ahead of its five-year plan objectives.
The projected surplus of $3.5 million will bring the city’s fund balance, or rainy day fund, to more than $5 million after closing out general fund deficits from previous years.
The other major city funds — the Allingtown Fire District and the sewer fund, which is operated by the Water Pollution Control Authority — are also projecting surpluses for the current year.
“The $3.5 million surplus is a direct result of higher-than-expected revenue of $1.3 million and expenditures coming in $2.2 million lower than budgeted,” Rossi said. “Higher tax collection rates and commercial building permit fees are driving the additional revenue, while departmental and overtime savings are bringing the expenditures in under budget.”
For fiscal 2020, which begins July 1, the city will implement additional efficiencies. Among them is a new health insurance plan, the state of Connecticut’s Heath Insurance Partnership Plan 2.0, for all city employees beginning Jan. 1, 2020.
Board of Education employees will join the State Partnership Plan 2.0 on July 1, 2020.
The state plan will provide employees with better health coverage and will save the city about $4 million annually.
“It is important to note that this plan truly is an improvement for employees; it is not a high-deductible plan,” Rossi said. “I want to thank city and Board of Education employees, not only for their personal sacrifices but for working together to make our government operations more effective and less costly to our taxpayers.”
The mayor continued: “The city’s financial situation is improving. We are not out of the woods yet, and we still have a difficult period of recovery; but I can confidently say we are making the necessary decisions and are on the right path.”