Budget lessons can be learned from East Haven 

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EAST HAVEN –While the state budget continues to be a mess, East Haven‘s financial success appears to be a model for many.

The Republican run neighbor to New Haven has now posted budget surpluses in the last 5 years.

“It takes a lot of hard work not to spend money,” said Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr., who added that “It’s very easy to spend other people’s money.” This past fiscal year the town had a nearly $830,000 budget surplus. One of the keys: during the final quarter of each fiscal year, no East Haven department is permitted to spend money, unless Maturo approves.

“Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, the rating agencies, have rewarded us by giving us an upgrade in our bond rating,” said Maturo, who noted the current A+ bond rating “makes it easier for a community the size like we have to go out and borrow money so that you can take care of the infrastructure.”

This year’s budget surplus will be used for improvements Including several roadway and sidewalk projects, like the west end of Main Street and several others that connect the center to the north end of the town.

“If we can do that, you’ll be able to walk from our north end of town right to the shoreline, so that you can enjoy the beach,” said Maturo.

That is music to the ears of patrons of the popular Twin Pines Diner.

“It’s wonderful and I hope that they continue to focus in on education, safe roads, things that are important to the community,”  said longtime resident Carmel Limoncelli.

Maturo says he tries to manage the community’s money like his personal finances and not as a business owner might.

“When you’re in government, you’re not there to really make a profit. You’re there to do the work for the people.”

This year’s budget surplus has beefed up the town’s rainy day fund from $200,000 five years ago to nearly $5 million presently.

And, business is booming, as well. Just two years ago, in the East Haven Industrial Park, there were six major vacant buildings. Today, there are none.

“We have over 100 trailers. So a lot of this land will be used for parking,” said Ron Gagliardi, of Anthony Augliera Moving and Storage of West Haven, which was enticed to move to East Haven.

“I would recommend any business owner to look into moving to East Haven,” he said

Augliera Inc is expecting to be completely moved from several locations in West Haven – It’s home since 1910 – to this 10 acre site in East Haven by March.

“This pretty much gives us a campus to have all of our storage, our trucks, our maintenance, all in one location, our administrative offices,” Gagliardi said.