Guilford to see savings on power, selectmen’s pay

Monday, February 2, 2009 6:24 AM EST
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

GUILFORD — With budget season under way, town officials are hoping to trim costs in several departments to confront a difficult financial situation.

The town recently locked in a new electricity price that is expected to save nearly $350,000 over the five-year contract. Members of the Board of Selectmen also agreed to not take raises this year, and department heads have been instructed to examine every dollar in their budget requests.

Purchasing Agent Pam Millman said the town decided to go out to bid for electricity prices after seeing them drop in recent months. The town, participating with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, solicited bids on Jan. 20 and signed a contract with TransCanada.

The new contract will go into effect Feb. 1, Millman said, at a rate of about 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour. With Connecticut Light & Power, the town would be facing a rate of about 12.5 cents, she said.

“We’re going to be able to get this new rate and our projection at least for the year is more than $40,000 worth of savings,” Millman said.

The town purchases electricity for 20 municipal buildings. The new rate will be locked in for five years, and officials are predicting a savings of $343,000 over that period based on a comparison with the CL&P rate.

Millman said that going out to bid with the CCM allowed the town to obtain a lower rate by buying in bulk.

The Board of Selectmen has already held several budget workshop meetings, and members have said they are hoping to put forward a smaller-than-usual budget increase this year. They have asked department heads to reduce requests in areas such as office supplies and capital investment.

“The town is trying to save money any way it can,” Millman said.

First Selectman Carl Balestracci said the five selectmen all decided to not accept previously scheduled pay increases this year.

Their pay would have risen by roughly 3 percent, Balestracci said.

“The entire board has given up their pay increase for the 08-09 year,” he said.

The Board of Selectmen’s raises would have gone into effect Dec. 1, Finance Director Sheila Villano said. Balestracci’s salary is $95,000 per year and the four members of the Board of Selectmen earn $9,300 per year.

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