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[Update] Possible Consolidation of the First and Second Company Governor's Horse Guards May Save the State $78,000

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget recommends consolidation of the First and Second Company Governor's Horse Guards that would yield $78,000 in savings.

The budget proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy would merge the first and second companies of the Governor's Horse Guards.

The line item is listed under the Military Department in Malloy's 2011-12 budget summary, and recommends that the state of Connecticut "combine Governor's Horse Guard units" in order to "reduce funds to reflect a phase-out of costs associated with operating two separate units."

“The intention is to consolidate the two,” Gian-Carl Casa, the state's undersecretary for legislative affairs in the Office of Policy Management, said Monday.

Combining the of Avon and the Second Company Horse Guards of Newtown would save the state $78,632 in fiscal year 2011-12, the budget summary projects, as well as an additional $141,501 in 2012-13.

The First Company was established in 1778 and chartered in 1788, and the Second Company was chartered in 1808. Initially, the Second Company would escort the governor from New Haven to Middletown and the the First Company would take over from there to Hartford, according to the Second Company's Web site. Each unit usually is currently allocated slightly under $80,000 a year, Major Michael Downes of the First Company Governor's Horse Guards, said.

The consolidation would save money on food for the horses, veterinary, other horse care costs and some staffing.

"Additionally, there is a full-time and a part-time Agricultural Worker associated with each Horse Guard," Casa wrote in an e-mail to Patch on Tuesday. "One part-time position’s funding is eliminated beginning July 1, 2011 and a full-time position has funding for three quarters of fiscal year 2012 and no funding for fiscal year 2013."

That depends on if the entire budget proposal for the next fiscal year is approved.

 The budget line item does not indicate how the consolidation would be achieved, but Casa said Monday that it is likely the Second Company would be moved from Newtown to Avon, though nothing has been officially decided at this time. But it is ultimately up to the Military Department to decide "which facility they continue to operate, which Horse Guard to phase out, and how to handle where the horses go," Casa wrote in the e-mail.

"We are cutting the number of Horse Guards from two to one. We are phasing out one unit in FY 2012 so the state’s military department can find placement for the horses or move some of them to the other unit," Casa wrote in the e-mail. "How the consolidation occurs is ultimately up to the Military Department."

Casa, echoing the budget summary, explained that the idea is to "phase out" having two separate operations and "move gradually over" to one unit.

Major Michael Downes of the The First Company Governor's Horse Guards declined to comment on the ramifications of the possible merger, but he did say, on a separate note, that when the First Company's equestrian search and rescue training is over, his unit may qualify for further grant funding. He said that 25 of the First Company Governor's Horse Guards are scheduled to complete training in April, after months of delay because of the high snowfall this year.

“This is not only meant to be vital resource for state,” Downes said. “It will hopefully qualify us for grant funds and other resources that will enable us to rely on state funding for everything much less than we do now.”

The First Company Governor’s Horse Guards paid for search and rescue training out of pocket, Downes told Patch in December. Grants and private funding already cover the cost of horses and uniforms, he said Monday.

Downes said that he has not heard how state plans on combining the First and Second Company Governor's Horse Guards if the proposal is approved. The new budget, once approved, will go into effect on July 1, 2011.

"There is a section of the governor's proposed budget under the military section that says 'combine [Governor's] Horse Guard units,' Downes said. "It doesn’t say where or how."

bbb March 01, 2011 at 03:14 PM
No-they should NOT be combined, nor should the Second Horse be eliminated. They perform separate functions. The Second Horse has a riding program for people with disabilities. The Second Horse's programs are used right now and have been used by hundreds of people over the years. Second Horse also helps to care for Abused Large Animals in the custody of the Department of Agriculture. The savings alone in overtime that is required for a state worker to cover holidays/furlough days/sick days etc, which instead is being done by the volunteers of the Second Horse, saves the state tens of thousands of dollars, RIGHT NOW. This decision is NOT FISCALLY SOUND. Neither of these units should be eliminated. They are both an important part of Connecticut's history. This idea is ridiculous, each unit operates for less than the cost of 1 state worker, and both units are denied by the military department the right to raise funds to help support the horses. The units are available for all sorts of functions but are regulary denied the right by the military departmetn to help..The most recent example of this: The Second Horse offered to help pick up garbage along the Derby Greenway to help keep it clean and the Military Department told them NO.
cfs March 01, 2011 at 08:42 PM
Just 2 questions. 1st, if the savings the 1st year are $78,632 and the 2nd year are $141,501 when together the Horse Guards get under $160,000 per year, does the military dept. expect to operate a combined unit on $19,000+/- a year? Sounds like really fuzzy math to me. 2nd, if 1st and 2nd Horse Guards were chartered by the state legislature, seperately, how can the military dept. abritrarily without 2 individual acts of the legislature rescind any charter? This is an end run that should be stopped. A charter is granted in recognition of its "pre-eminence, stability and permanence."
Jessie Sawyer (Editor) March 01, 2011 at 10:42 PM
That's a good question about the charter. I'll look into that. The savings are listed in the governor's budget summary under the Military Department. http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/cwp/view.asp?a=11&Q=473940
luio gols March 02, 2011 at 10:35 AM
Points of fact: 1)Because of the military working dog facility located on the grounds of the Second Horse, the State CANNOT close down the entire facility in Newtown. Whether the Second Horse is there or not, a state worker will be required on site. 2)The Newtown facility has nearly a hundred acres of grass pasture for horses, Avon doesn't. Keeping the horses at the Newtown facility therefore,would cost the state far less to feed horses, so what sense does it make to consolidate the units in Avon? 3)Both units serve different functions, the costs associates with running these units is minimal compared to the benefit provided to the citizens of the state. BOTH UNITS SHOULD BE KEPT-THEY SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO PROVE WHICH UNIT IS BETTER TO SURVIVE.
cfs March 02, 2011 at 02:24 PM
I've looked at that, It gives the figures with no back up documentation. I still believe it's fuzzy math.
Horse Person March 02, 2011 at 05:57 PM
I have been to horse shows on both properties and I have to say that I agree that Newtown has the better facility for horses. As a horse person, having access to that much pasture land is irreplaceable in respect to the horses health and well-being not to mention the feeding costs of hay which are less if the horses are on pasture (as the owner of 3 horses, the cost of hay is outrageous and grass is free). I would hate to see either place close but if this is a financial decision and not political, it would seem to make sense to go where the better horse facility is.
Bruce Partington March 02, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Before this gets too embarrassing, here's a piece of advice for the nakedly obvious Second Horse partisans: you won't save your unit by posting here that your place is "better for the horses." Nor will you get anywhere by trying to convince people that both units ought to be combined in Newtown instead of Avon, and they ought to be destroyed, not you. Your brothers and sisters in the militia want to work with you and save both units, yet you disgrace yourselves with the above posts. If there wasn't a tinge of shame in your cheeks over what you are doing, or a shred of honesty, you would have posted your actual name. The challenge you have in front of you demands better character. Please rise to it.
no partisan March 03, 2011 at 02:26 AM
Have you read the comments---ALL but one, have stated that NEITHER UNIT SHOULD BE ELIMINATED or Combined- Both units serve the state in different ways. The militia's units stand together--if they can get rid of one, they can get rid of all of them. I believe the point being made has nothing to do with the elimination of Avon, but instead pointing out the ridiculous decision process of the military department. This is not about money, and I believe that is the point the poster's are trying to make. If it was merely a financial decision, Newtown's cheaper, but that is not the point. The point is to get rid of the militia units one at a time. The Second Horse proudly serves with it's sister units. They are not, nor does it appear their intent to disparage the First Horse. If one falls, they will all eventually fall.
Katie March 03, 2011 at 03:25 PM
Neither Horse Unit should be emlimitated. This is the HISTORY of Connecticut. It was the base from which the CT Military Department was built from. No state should ever want to disregard who and what built their state and what each person has sacrificed for the people and their Governor. All militia units are volunteer to carry on the traditions that made their state and this great country. Never forget where you come from or the people who got you there.
Paul Clark March 04, 2011 at 10:04 AM
The writer is partally incorrect. The Military Department pre dates the four governors guards units. The units were formed for escorting the governor and were exempted from performing regular militia duty.
Jessie Sawyer (Editor) March 04, 2011 at 02:57 PM
From the Second Company's Web site: "In 1808 Elihu Munson and a number of New Haven gentlemen petitioned the Connecticut General Assembly at its October session to form a Troop of Cavalry to function as Governor’s Horse Guards. The First Company already existed and served in the 'other' Connecticut capitol, Hartford. The Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard (2GHG) was formed in October 1808 by an act of the General Assembly, with Elihu Munson (variously spelled Monson in different places) as Brevet Major. The duties of the original company were “to attend upon and escort him [the Governor] in times of peace and war.” 2GHG was stationed in New Haven, and would escort the Governor to Middletown, where 1GHG would take over and proceed to Hartford. "(http://www.thehorseguard.org/). The Horse Guards fall under the Military Department on the state budget (http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/cwp/view.asp?a=11&q=473940).

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