Mayor Scott D. Jackson and Finance Director Sal DeCola this week implemented an immediate spending freeze on all non-essential spending for Hamden government operations.
The freeze is designed to ensure a balanced budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, the mayor said in a press release Wednesday.
“Due to the uncertainty of state funding levels and to help the town control expenditures as we complete the 2013 Fiscal Year ... a non-essential spending freeze is being put into effect immediately,” Jackson and DeCola said in a memorandum to all department heads sent on Monday.
“Through careful financial management and tough choices, we were able to end the last Fiscal Year with a surplus,” Jackson said. “This freeze will allow us to keep our budget balanced in order to end the year in a positive position. Every year we end with a surplus goes a long way toward stabilizing the town's financial position.”
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The spending freeze comes days after Legislative Council member Harry Gagliardi called on the mayor to take such an action. Several council members expressed concern at last week's monthly meeting about the amount of money that was being transferred from the Emergency and Contingency Fund, which they had hoped would end the year with a balance that would then be transferred to the Fund Balance.
Surplus funds at the end of the town's fiscal year flow to the Fund Balance. A Fund Balance, or “Rainy Day Fund”, is a key barometer of fiscal health for municipalities and restoring it has been a priority, Jackson said.
The Board of Education has also implemented a similar freeze at its monthly meeting last week and are working to control spending within their budget. Their efforts are appreciated, the mayor and finance director said.