The town’s two subdivisions – Groton Long Point and Groton City – are seeking sizable budget increases this year, including a requested 103 percent hike for Groton Long Point.
Groton Long Point has asked for about $746,000, a budget increase of about $380,000, or 103 percent over current year's spending.
The city has asked for $5.48 million, a budget increase of about $1.2 million, or 28.6 percent. Both increases are driven mainly by the cost of paving.
“Last year we did not pave a road,” said Robert Congdon, president of the Groton Long Point Association, Inc. “The town didn’t and the city didn’t either. And you just can’t keep doing that over and over, or you’re going to create a bigger problem.”
Both subdivisions also want increases for police protection. Police services have been ; one in the town, in the city and in Groton Long Point.
The three have agreed to a study that would assess police services town wide, but it has not yet been completed. A request for proposals for the police assessment was recently finalized and is being sent to vendors.
Congdon said it would cost the town more, not less, to provide with police protection, so the subdivision is not costing the town anything extra.
“These are tough times. We all know that. But some line items need to be taken care of,” he said. “One of them is police. We’re citizens of the town. We’re entitled to police protection.
"Does it really matter whether we’re doing it or the town’s doing it? We’re entitled to it.”
Congdon said the community's $220,000 request for police - a 9.7 increase over this year - would not hire additional officers. Any increase is due to health insurance costs, he said.
The subdivision request also includes a $361,000 increase in highway spending. Congdon said the association wants to pave Ridge Road, which runs through the center of the community and floods.
The community is also seeking $85,000 for cleanup from Tropical Storm Irene, for which it has sought help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Congdon said the association completed paperwork last week for FEMA and would adjust its budget request if it received reimbursement.
The city’s budget increase is also driven mainly by road improvements. The city is seeking $1 million more for highways, or 55 percent above the current year's spending.
The money includes about $757,000 for repaving the roads in Groton Estates.
City Mayor Marian Galbraith wrote in her budget request to Town Manager Mark Oefinger that the city would like to discuss paying for the project over two years.
“This would have the advantage of evening out funding without pushing farther into the future projects which have already been delayed too long,” she wrote.
She said she would not want to delay other projects the following year, however. The city’s highway budget also includes $190,000 to buy a payloader.
Another area of increased spending in Groton City is the police budget.
The request for police is up about $141,000, or 6.4 percent. The budget includes $65,000 to buy two vehicles and would some shift some department personnel. The department plans to reallocate money to provide for a captain and have five instead of six sergeants, Galbraith said.
Smaller items driving up the budget include salary increases, the Opsail event which requires additional police coverage, rising fuel costs and a part-time special traffic officer to accommodate additional students at West Side Middle School.