FAIRFIELD — The Town Council approved a proposed $7.1 million municipal budget this week that will go before residents at the Town Meeting in May.

The council held a public hearing on the budget Wednesday, before voting to include it as part of the town warrant that residents will consider Monday, May 8.

The budget represents a $755,000 increase, or about 11.7%, to current spending.

The warrant includes a few items where the budget committee’s recommendation differs from that of the Town Council. In those cases, the greater amount is listed on the warrant, but could be amended at the Town Meeting.

The main driver of the proposed spending increase is a jump in utility costs, Town Manager Michelle Flewelling said. The town has seen hikes in the cost of natural gas, water and electricity. The budget also reflects an average wage increase of about 8% for municipal staff members.

Town officials said they expect revenue to increase about 17%, meaning the amount to be raised through taxation should only increase 1.5%. That should not have an impact on the property tax rate, Flewelling said, but the Somerset County budget and the school budget still must be finalized, and increases in those spending plans could affect the tax rate.

The Town Council opted to remove several items from the operating budget and fund them with money from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. These include upgrades to the town website and to online tax and property map services, repairs to the asphalt at the fire station and more money for other paving projects.

Fairfield voters will also be asked next month to decide on a new fee for Delta Ambulance emergency services. The Town Council has voted to use American Rescue Plan Act money to pay the $97,170 fee for a one-year contract with Delta, but voters must decide the matter at the Town Meeting.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.