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Budget Process Changes during COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Lamont has issued a series of Executive Orders that, among other things, suspend the statutory process for budget adoption for the duration of the pandemic.  Pursuant to #13 of Executive Order 7I,  “….the board of selectmen, shall authorize the budget-making authority within said municipality to adopt a budget for the July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021 fiscal year and to set a mill rate sufficient….”,  and also provide that certain obligations are met.

The public must have the opportunity to view the DRAFT budget, and to comment on it.  

On March 14, 2020:  Executive Order No. 7B modifies in-person open meeting requirements.
On March 15, 2020:  Executive Order 7C extends all municipal budget adoption deadlines by 30 days.
On March 25, 2020:  Executive Order 7I waives the requirement for a referendum and permits the budget making authority to adopt a budget.

LEGAL NOTICE

 Executive Orders

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
BY HIS EXCELLENCY
NED LAMONT

PROTECTION OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY DURING COVID 19 PANDEMIC AND RESPONSE
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7

WHEREAS, attendance at public meetings and proceedings is likely to increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, NED LAMONT, Governor of the State of Connecticut, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Connecticut, do hereby

ORDER AND DIRECT:

Executive Order No. 7B March 14, 2020

1. Suspension of In-Person Open Meeting Requirements. Sections 1-206, 1-225, and 1-226 of the Connecticut General Statutes, and any open meeting provision of any municipal charter, ordinance, or regulation that conflicts with this order, are suspended to the extent necessary to permit any public agency to meet and take such actions authorized by the law without permitting or requiring in-person, public access to such meetings, and to hold such meetings or proceedings remotely by conference call, videoconference or other technology, provided that:

I) the public has the ability to view or listen to each meeting or proceeding in real time, by telephone, video, or other technology;

2) any such meeting or proceeding is recorded or transcribed, and such recording or transcript shall be posted on the agency’s website within seven (7) days of the meeting or proceeding, and made available within reasonable time in the agency’s office;

3) the required notice and agenda for each meeting or proceeding is posted on the agency’s website and shall include information about how the meeting will be conducted and how the public can access it;

4) any materials relevant to matters on the agenda, including but not limited to materials related to specific applications, if applicable, shall be submitted to the agency a minimum of twenty four (24) hours prior and posted to the agencys website for public inspection prior to, during, and after the meeting, and any exhibits to be submitted by members of the public shall, to the extent feasible, also be submitted to the agency a minimum of twenty-four (24) hours prior to the meeting and posted to the agency s website for public inspection prior to, during, and after the meeting; and 5) all speakers taking part in any such meeting or proceeding shall clearly state their name and title, if applicable, before speaking on each occasion that they speak.

Executive Order No. 7C March 15, 2020

5. Extension of Municipal Budget Adoption Deadlines. Notwithstanding any provision of the Connecticut General Statutes, including Title 7, or any special act, municipal charter or ordinance, that conflicts with this order, all municipal budget deadlines for the preparation of the municipal budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021 that fall on any date prior to and including May 15, 2020 are extended by thirty (30) days. The legislative body of the municipality, or in a municipality where the legislative body is a town meeting, the board of selectmen, may alter or modify the schedules and deadlines pertaining to the preparation and submission of a proposed budget and the deliberation or actions on said budget by the legislative body or other fiscal authority, including any required public hearing(s), publication, referendum or final budget adoption. All submission dates may be postponed until such time as the legislative body approves said modified schedule and deadline, consistent with the thirty (30) day extension.

6. Extension of Regional Board of Education Budget Adoption Deadlines. Notwithstanding any provision of the Connecticut General Statutes, including Title 10, or any special act, municipal charter or ordinance, that conflicts with this order, all budget deadlines for the preparation of regional school district budgets for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021 that fall on any date prior to and including May 15, 2020 may be extended by thirty (30) days. Any regional board of education may alter or modify the schedules cand deadlines pertaining to the preparation and submission of a proposed budget and the deliberation or actions on said budget by the legislative body or other fiscal authority,c including any required public hearing(s), publication, referendum or final budget adoption.

Executive No. 7I  March 21, 2020

12. Extension of Budget Adoption Deadlines – Additional Municipal Bodies.
For purposes of the provisions set forth under Executive Order No. 7C, paragraph 5, regarding “Extension of Municipal Budget Adoption Deadlines,” as well as for the provisions set forth in this order, the term “municipal” or “municipality” shall include all municipalities and quasi-municipal corporations, whether created by statute, ordinance, charter, legislative or special act, including but not limited to any town, city or borough, whether consolidated or unconsolidated, any village, school, sewer, fire, lighting, special services or special taxing districts, beach or improvement association, any regional water or resource recovery authority or any other political subdivision of the state or of any municipality having the power to make appropriations or to levy assessments or taxes.

13. Suspension of In-Person Budget Adoption Requirements for Municipalities.
Notwithstanding any contrary provision of the Connecticut General Statutes, including Title 7, or any special act, municipal charter or ordinance that conflicts with this order, the legislative body of a municipality or, in a municipality where the legislative body is a town meeting, the board of selectmen, shall authorize the budget-making authority within said municipality to adopt a budget for the July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021 fiscal year and to set a mill rate sufficient, in addition to the other estimated yearly income of such town and in addition to such revenue surplus, if any, as may be appropriated, not only to pay the expenses of the municipality for said fiscal year, but also to absorb the revenue deficit of such town, if any, at the beginning of said fiscal year without holding votes required by charter or without complying with any in-person budget adoption requirements, including but not limited to, annual town meetings requiring votes, referendum, and special town meetings. In so acting, the budget-making authority of the municipality shall comply with public meeting requirements consistent with requirements set forth in Executive Order No. 7B and shall thereby take all reasonable steps to publicize the draft municipal budget for said fiscal year and to receive public comment thereon, including but not limited to publishing draft budgets on the website and providing an email address or other means for the public to submit timely comments on the proposed budget.

14. Suspension of In-Person Budget Adoption Requirements for Regional Boards of Education.
Notwithstanding any contrary provision of the Connecticut General Statutes, including Title I0, or any special act, regional plan, municipal charter or ordinance that conflicts with this order, any regional board of education shall adopt a budget for the July I, 2020 – June 30, 2021 fiscal year which otherwise complies with the requirements of Section 10-51 of the Connecticut General Statutes without complying with any in-person budget adoption requirements, including but not limited, annual district budget meetings requiring votes, referendum, and special district meetings. In so acting, the regional board of education shall comply with public meeting requirements consistent with requirements set forth in Executive Order No. 7B and take all reasonable steps to publicize the proposed budget for said fiscal year and to receive public comment thereon, including but not limited to publishing draft budgets on the website and providing an email address or other means for the public to submit timely comments on the proposed budget.

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