Budget Director Jennifer Charneski presented a capital budget process during the Board of Finance meeting Tuesday.
The process is now done through the annual budget, which, according to Charneski, brings numerous challenges. Some of them include the lack of a formal definition of a capital project, insufficient time in the annual budget cycle, the Town Council not being able to add to the recommended budget, and a lack of formal capital priorities.
The proposed process would define some criteria for capital projects, adopt a five-year capital improvement plan outside of the annual budget process and use a single fund.
Under the proposal, a capital project would be defined as the purchase of tangible physical assets or infrastructure improvements.
The project cost would have to be greater than $5,000 and its useful life greater than three years.
The five-year capital improvement plan would include a summary of ongoing capital projects and a list of priorities based on town needs, she said.
Charneski said adopting a CIP would allow the town to discuss and plan funding sources prior to the annual budget process.
Board of Finance members gave Charneski a mostly positive feedback.
"I think this is going to be really helpful," First Selectman Robert Mallozzi said.
If the proposal is adopted, according to Charneski, town departments would have to submit their five-year capital requests in August. The boards of Finance and Selectmen would then review the requests and the Town Council would vote to adopt a five-year CIP between October and November.
Charneski also was scheduled to present the CIP proposal to the Town Council Wednesday, which was too late for press time, and plans to do the same at the Board of Selectmen meeting Jan. 7.
If both boards agree to recommend the proposal, the Town Council would get to vote on the adoption of the process in February.
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