A Look at Westport's Budget for 2022-23
We examined each community's budget for 2022-23 in southwest Connecticut. Here is a breakdown of Westport's.
For 2022-23, Westport’s operating budget, which covers the day-to-day operations of the town of more than 28,000 people, is $222,765,588. This budget is an increase of just under 2% compared to last year's budget of $222.6 million.
The majority of Westport’s budget comes from local taxes. More than $198.5 million is from local taxes. The town is projected to receive about $1.6 million from state and federal governments, such as in the state’s education cost sharing formula for the school district. More than $16.1 million is projected in department revenues and about $2 million come from other funds, such as interest.
Let’s take a look at how the budget breaks down by section in this town.
About 62.2% of Westport’s budget, or just under $138.7 million goes toward the school district.
In general, the education budget covers many areas, including: salaries and benefits for teachers, administrators, and staff; curriculum materials; support services in schools; special programs, such as career pathway programs for high schoolers; and athletic and extracurricular materials.
In Westport, some education highlights include:
- Continuing the work of two special education programs introduced last year—Effective School Solutions and Westport Connections—that aim to keep students in their home district
- Adding teachers to meet a growing population as driven by the COVID-19 pandemic
- Providing academic and social resources to students coming out of the pandemic
About 10.7% of Westport’s budget, or $23.8 million goes toward the town’s public safety efforts, which include fire, police, and joint emergency communications.
Generally, the public safety budget covers many areas, including: salaries for police officers, firefighters, administrators, and support staff; equipment, such as body cameras; training programs; emergency communications; and emergency preparedness resources.
In Westport, some public safety highlights include:
- Working with the Selectman’s Civilian Review Panel on hiring of new officers and complaints
- Implementing new body cameras, in-car camera systems, software, and technologies to comply with updated state mandates.
- Evaluating and selecting a new records management software system for the fire department
About 8.8% of Westport’s budget, or about $19.5 million supports the public works budget for the town. Public works covers many areas including parks and recreation, engineering, operations, road maintenance, and more.
The budget for public works generally includes funding for efforts in those departments, such as: road and sidewalk maintenance; engineering and design work; resources to maintain parks and recreation facilities, as well as infrastructure support; salaries for public works administration and staff; wastewater and stormwater management; and support for trash and recycling.
In Westport, some public works highlights include:
- Enhancing public parks and amenities to meet increased use and demands by residents
- Completing the Longshore capital improvement plan and beginning the parks’ master plan
- Adding agronomic (or soil and plant-related) programs at Staples fields, Veteran’s Green, and Levitt Pavilion
Community and Human Services
About 3.5% of Westport’s budget, or $7.8 million goes toward community and human services in the town. Everything from health departments to libraries, mental health services to youth and senior needs falls into community and human services. This category also includes funding that cities give to local nonprofits and agencies to provide some of these services.
In Westport, some of the highlights for community and human services include:
- Working to re-establish Community Support and Counseling Team to enhance resources for community-wide crisis
- Supporting the Aspetuck Health District, where Westport is a member
- Examining youth and senior programs and working to engage the community with them
Economic and Community Development
About 0.3% of Westport’s budget, or just over $600,000 goes toward economic and community development-related efforts, which include planning, zoning, and land use departments.
Generally, this budget includes the work of those departments, such as: application reviews; city-wide plans; zoning and building code enforcement; updates to the zoning regulations; business support; art and history commissions; tourism activities; and salaries for economic and community development staff.
In Westport, some of the economic and community development highlights include:
- Enhancing the downtown and Saugatuck areas with infrastructure improvements
- Overseeing alterations of Gillespie Center assigned to Public Site & Building Commission
About 2.9% of Westport’s budget, or $6.4 million supports general government needs in the town, which includes the office of the first selectperson, finance, town clerk, IT, human resources, legal, customer service, and support staff for elected officials, such as the RTM.
The general government budget includes the work and people in those departments, such as salaries for employees in those areas; customer support initiatives and programs, such as “click and report” applications; communications to the public; records keeping; licenses, such as marriage and dog licenses; IT support; tax collection; budgets; and agendas and meeting materials.
In Westport, some of the general government highlights include:
- Implementing a town-wide digital imaging and archiving system
- Continuing to implement the Accela software across the town for a better digital experience, including for members of the public
Employee Benefits and Pensions
About 8.7% of Westport’s budget, or $19.4 million goes toward employee benefits and pensions.
About 1.9% of Westport's budget, or $4.1 million, goes toward debt service.
About 1.1% or $2.4 million goes toward other costs in the town.
If you’d like more information, view the town’s full budget.
How we did this: We reviewed each community’s published budget and found the budgeted expenses by department and put them into the categories listed above. Please note: Not every municipality categorizes its budgets the same way. For example, some organize Parks and Recreation funds under Public Works, while others separate it. For consistency, we tried to move and place the similar departments into the same buckets.