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UPDATE: Hearing on $55.7 Million Budget And $11.8 Million Capital Plan Tonight

Montville High School Auditorium Is Venue for Anticipated Large Turnout At 6 p.m. Hearing

Editor's Note: The town has suggested that the following example might better represent the equation for the proposed mill rate of 29.36.

"Reassessment caused property values to decrease approximately 15%. Given that assumption, in 2011 with a mill rate at 23 mills, a homeowner whose property was assessed at $176,000, paid $4048 in taxes. The 2012 Assessment for that same home would likely be $150,000 and using the proposed mill rate of 29.36 mills, the tax would be $4,404 - an increase of $356 in taxes."

 

For many property owners this is the bottom line: What will their tax bill look like compared to last fiscal year? And for many this question follows: What is the town spending that money on?

And tonight, residents will have the chance to add their two cents to the debate, albeit in less than three minutes.

Mayor Ronald K. McDaniel Jr. and the Montville Town Council are poised to adopt not just the town’s $55,718,440 million budget, but also an $11.8 million five-year capital improvement plan at its special budget hearing set for 6 p.m. at Montville High School. It remains to be seen if the school’s auditorium was the right size venue; some have said the public will turn out to oppose the budget, one McDaniel compared to a budget airline.

“(It’s) the Southwest of budgets,” he wrote in his budget summary, “(it) moves us forward …(as) affordable as possible.”

 

The Bottom Line

If McDaniel’s recommended budget is adopted, property owners are looking at a mill rate of 29.36, a 6.36 increase over last fiscal year’s rate. A property owner whose house is assessed at $150,000 is looking at a $4,404 tax bill. 

The mill rate is as high as it is, McDaniel said, for three primary reasons: the loss of revenue as a result of the , a near 15 percent net decrease in the Grand List following the revaluation and the first . It is not, he said, because of spending. He called it a “no frills” spending plan.

 

No frills, but big bills

The biggest department increase over the previous year is the mayor’s office at 15.4 percent, followed by capital improvements at 13.72 percent and elections (this is a presidential election year so this is no surprise) up 12.85 percent.

Salaries increases are not reflected in the budget, McDaniel said, because he is still in contract negotiations with six collective bargaining units, though by any measure the salaries of at a recommended $1,375,000, dispatchers at $153,000 and nearly $700,000 in fire safety personnel costs, public safety and protection are at the top. With public works salaries not too far behind.

Besides salaries and benefits, (like nearly $70,000 a year for a full time transfer station worker), it costs around $80,000 to maintain town buildings, $7,000 a year for nine public works employees cell phones, and the like. The full budget, which is surprisingly easy to follow, can be found on the town’s website.

 

Capital Improvements’ Big Picture Plan

A five-year plan, there’s a lot coming in through grants, more than $1.3 million worth, but that is literally a fraction of the overall multi-year, $11.8 million plan. must approve the plan tonight that would have $638,200 put up in the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget, $2.7 million in 2013-14, $1.7 million in 2014-15, $2.8 million slated for 1015-16 and $2.6 million set for 2016-17.

It’s a lot to digest but look at it this way: almost $5 million will be spent on big public works projects, most spread across the five year period. Projects like road paving at $3.3 million, fire fighting gear replacement costs at more than $1.3 million, and almost $800,000 just for truck replacement.

And the school’s part of this plan includes roof repair -- $1 million – and bus replacement costs hovering at more than $700,000.

 

Paying for Education

Nary has a budget year gone by in this or any other municipality where teacher layoffs aren’t threatened; it’s as common as seasonal allergies. This year is no different and with a near $1 million reduction from the requested near $38 million, the is looking at being funded at $36,632,735, just about $400,000 more than it was funded in the 2011-2012 fiscal year plan.

At last week’s finance committee meeting, where the schools budget was not technically on the agenda – members said it was under “other budget discussion” – it was nonetheless approved, though by only two the other three members. Some complained later that it was “back-doored.” Regardless of how it occurred, the budget is part of the town’s overall general budget slated to be adopted tonight.

Linda June 05, 2012 at 11:43 AM
If our new mayor thinks I'm going to spend an extra $1000 next year on taxes for a house that is worth less he is crazier than I thought. I have one word for you Ronny "referendum"
Walt June 05, 2012 at 12:01 PM
$70,000 for a full time transfer station worker. How much of that is salary and how much is benefits? I use that station once a year if that. What happened to a town wide garbage pick up? Maybe we could do some cutting here? You lower the value of my home and then ask me to pay another $1000 in taxes, where are we suppose to get that money? We sure aren't seeing raises in the private sector.
J. Lincoln June 05, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I know that the Mayor needs a remedial help in municipal financing if he believes that his budget has been properly prepared. I don't think he has the slightest idea as to how to prepare a good one.
Sarah B June 05, 2012 at 05:10 PM
I support the budget. Prices on everything have gone up so we cannot expect a free ride here. Balancing has to be done. I think that fine tuning can be done sure but we have to expect an increase. We need to remember that it isn't the fault of the mayor that OUR property values have decreased, local businesses going under etc... I think we should be glad that the mill rate isn't going to increase more... Remember we can't get something for nothing.
joey F June 05, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Sarah B; what exactly do we get for the taxes we pay now? Towns all around us have lower mill rates with more/better/ services in town. I guess the Mayor could care less about a higher mill rate 'cause his house is paid for!!!! ref land records index
Crime monitor June 05, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Joey, you bring up an interesting comment. How did the mayor pay off both mortgages just after taking office? Montville is going to be the next watergate. With all the corruption between the police, wpca and mayor we need an FBI field office in Town Hall.
Jacob June 05, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Im told that the wpca administrator was at this hearing. WHY ARE THE TOWNSPEOPLE PAYING THIS GUY TO BE AT A HEARING THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM OR THE WPCAS' BUDGET?!?!?! I just dont get it. You know that hes not there on his own time; so why is here there on OUR DIME??
Sarah B June 06, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Joey F. Yes, there are towns around us that do have lower mill rates, however not all towns have have reassessments lately. New London, Norwich, Salem, Ledyard all have higher Mill rates than our town. East Lyme is up for reassessment this year and I'm sure their rate will go up as as well. I'm not exactly sure what your looking to get with your tax dollars? Our children are offered a good education, our rec programs are wonderful compared to surrounding towns, our police department does an outstanding job fighting for state grants to keep our streets safer...So we have to pay for garbage pick up...our transfer station is very inexpensive to use for those that paying for pickup is an issue.... I hope that people will stop making decisions based upon facts not wild ideas.
P5ds June 06, 2012 at 02:59 AM
I dont have any kids in the school system, I have my own gun so I don't need the police, the fire dept is mosty volunteers and I have a 4 wheel drive for the unplowed streets. WHAT AM I PAY $4,000 FOR?
REVMAN June 06, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Sarah B --If you were retired I don't think you would be for ANY increases.Being on a FIXED income is just that but everything keeps going up.Social Security just got a 3.6% raise divided by 3 years= 1.2% per year everything went up by 2-3 times more than that.government MUST cut spending or problems like bankruptcy is highly likely.
Danielle L June 12, 2012 at 05:57 PM
p5ds...what a ridiculous statement. You are paying for children to learn and be productive citizens of the country you live in. Do you not need people to learn to be doctors? Will you never ever need a prescription filled? Of course you will. When you were a kid, people with no children at that time paid for you. It is your duty to pay it forward to the current generation, as they will for their following generation. I won't even comment on the police statment. It is completely crazy.....and I hope you never need the police, or the fire department whose equipment and training funds has to come from somewehere.

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