The Suffield Board of Selectmen authorized First Selectman Ed McAnaney to sign a phone tower contract extension favorable to the town, gave an update on the budget process and discussed the revised opening date of at its meeting Wednesday night.
The extension of the contract with Crown Castle International for the lease of three mobile phone towers in Suffield pays the town $150,000, $50,000 per tower, in the short term.
The extension, which calls for five four-year terms, also raises the percentage of yearly income the town receives from the lease. Suffield will receive 35 percent of the revenue Crown Castle gets from the use of the towers by mobile phone companies, up from the 25 percent provided in the previous contract.
Discussion of the budget process for the coming fiscal year was also conducted, with McAnaney reiterating his goal of no budget increases for the town.
The municipal portion of the budget, which excludes the Board of Education’s budget, presented at Wednesday’s meeting is larger by approximately $219,000 (1.6 percent) than the budget from the current fiscal year, $13,253,210.
“My goal is to get this [budget] to a zero-increase,” McAnaney said.
McAnaney noted that much of the budget is still in flux that there are still decreases to be found. He pointed out a few reductions so recent that they didn’t appear on the one-page budget summary presented to the selectmen, including the removal of redundant funds stemming from the police department and school system both budgeting for the same school resource officer.
The Suffield Board of Education budget came in at a 1.6 percent increase but McAnaney said he wants that board to have a zero-increase budget as well. The Suffield Board of Finance has final authority over the budget. That finance board can cut the overall amount of funds the Suffield Board of Education requests but cannot cut individual line items from the educational budget.
A new time for the opening of Kent Memorial Library was also announced, with the goal set at the third week of April. The project has dragged on and suffered delays, with the original opening date, approximated as late December or early January, long past.