Greenwich has a traditional New England form of government. The first town meeting, established in 1664, made its first order of business a request to Connecticut’s General Assembly to make Greenwich a separate town from Stamford.
Today’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) is our legislative body, with 230 members representing the town’s twelve districts. The executive branch is composed of a three-man Board of Selectmen, with the First Selectman in the role of chief executive. Responsibility for fiscal management is vested in the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET).
The town is known for its fiscal conservatism and its system of checks and balances. A modified pay-as-you-go policy has avoided burdening the budget with bonded indebtedness, with the result that Greenwich has some of the lowest property taxes in the state – while the grant list of $33 billion is the highest of any of Connecticut’s towns and cities.
Despite its low taxes, Greenwich offers its residents an extraordinary range of services and amenities. This is made possible, in part, by a large number of volunteers who man the town’s commissions and independent service organizations.
A five-year plan of development enables capital expenditures to be programmed well in advance. Among the major projects is a brand-new police and fire headquarters with dedicated garage parking. The building will also house the Greenwich Emergency Medical Services, rated one of the top ambulance services in the country.
The budget for the Board of Education is established by the BET and amounts to nearly half of the town expenditures. Within that budget the board has broad operating autonomy. The Board of Ed oversees the high school, eleven elementary schools, and three middle schools and is known for providing a high quality of education to a school population of 8,900 students.
Politically, Republicans outnumber Democrats two to one, while independents have grown to nearly one-third of registered voters. The RTM, however, is nonpartisan, and the town charter dictates a close balance of the two parties on the BET and the Board of Education.
Detailed information on every aspect of town government, its departments and its agencies is available on the town’s website, www.greenwichct.org.