By CLAIRE GALVIN
Chronicle Staff Writer
MANSFIELD â€” Town council members finally breathed a sigh of relief during their ongoing discussion of the state budget.
Connecticut recently approved a bipartisan budget that restores much of the funding cut to Mansfield in the fiscal year 2017-18 budget.
Interim Town Manager Maria Capriola and Finance Director Cherie Trahan explained Mansfield will experience a net increase of $458,488 in revenues for 2017-18.
The town will see a net decrease of $407,263 for fiscal year 2018-19.
Under Gov. Dannel P. Malloyâ€™s executive order, Mansfield was looking at a $14 million cut in state aid.
â€śAt this point, Iâ€™m feeling an immense sense of relief and gratitude to Mansfieldâ€™s employees who lived through a time when nobody knew whether their job was secure or not,â€ť said Democratic councilor Toni Moran.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Mansfield will be able to return to enacting the combined town/school budget of $52,923,476 voters approved at a town meeting at the end of May.
That budget increased spending by $ 1,299,566, or 2.5 percent over the 2016-17 budget.
The council voted 7-1 in favor of lifting the discretionary spending freeze, resuming the capital plan as adopted and approving transfers to the unassigned fund and general fund balances.
Republicans Virginia Raymond opposed and Mark Sargent was absent.
Raymond said she was opposed because the budget is still not balanced and cuts could still occur in coming years.
â€śThis budget doesnâ€™t solve anything, anymore than the budget that was passed by the Republicans,â€ť Raymond said. â€śI think this would be the last point in time that we would let up any of our planning in terms of efficiencies or reductions.â€ť
Other councilors discussed the problems that could occur by allowing discretionary spending, but ultimately approved the motion.
â€śAs somebody who watches the budgets in my career as much as I do here, I know weâ€™re not stable at a state level, and I know thereâ€™s probably more going to come at some point soon,â€ť said unaffiliated councilor Denise Keane.
Trahan said discretionary spending includes professional development, travel expenses, conferences, extra program supplies and other things that are not required for licenses or certifications.
Capriola and Trahan said mid-year reductions or rescissions are still possible.