The budget that Mayor Ron McDaniel has proposed for the 2012-2013 fiscal year is $55,718,440, a 0.21 percent increase over the current year’s budget.
Presenting the plan to the Montville Town Council Monday night, McDaniel called it "the Southwest Airlines of budgets."
The plan, if adopted, would mean a rate increase of 6.36 mills, bringing the town’s proposed mill rate to 29.36, from its current 23. The tax rate increase would be roughly 8.7 percent.
The mayor’s proposed budget holds the school department to a zero percent increase, not the 2.7 percent increase it requested.
McDaniel said that a large part of the increase in the mill rate – 3.64 mills - is a result of the state-mandated revaluation that was completed earlier in the year. Another portion – 1.49 mills – is a result of a decrease in revenue from the state. The bankruptcy of AES Thames is responsible for 1.1 mills, and town spending is responsible for 0.13 mills.
The budget does not take into account union contracts that are being negotiated this year. McDaniel said these include employees from the transfer station, public works/dispatch, firefighters, police, Teamsters and management. He hopes the contracts will come in at zero percent increases.
Proposed property tax increases
The revaluation has a major effect on the tax increase an average citizen can expect to see, McDaniel said, since it dropped the average value of homes in Montville by roughly 15 percent.
A home with an assessed value of $200,000 in 2011-2012 now has an assessed valued of $170,428.
Taxes on the home this year were $4,600. Taxes on the home in 2013 would be $5,004, an increase of $404, or 8.7 percent, if the mayor’s budget is passed as proposed.
Revenues are down in a variety of categories.
- Licenses and permits are down 11.7 percent, from $572,500 to a projected $505,500
- State grants are down 7.84 percent, from $3,527,829 to a projected $3,251,972
- Charges for current services are down 54.26 percent from $1,488,935 to a projected $681,000
- Property taxes, however, are projected to rise 3.79 percent overall, from $35,522,564 to $36,870,299.
The school department funding is the largest single portion of the Montville budget. This year, the board had requested funding $37,627,497, or an increase of 2.72 percent. McDaniel’s proposal recommends funding the school department at $36,632,735, the amount it was budgeted in the current year.
The mayor’s office shows a requested increase of 15.4 percent, from $167,589 to $193,404. The majority of this increase is $25,000 for a floating secretary who would be available to fill in in departments throughout Montville.
McDaniel said that there are many two-person departments in town, and that someone out with the flu “can cripple a department.”
“The business of government must go on,” McDaniel said.
The Finance Department shows a proposed drop of 12.94 percent, from $699,390 to $608,890. The difference comes from a reduction in projected overtime costs, and the end of the revaluation.
The IT Department budget is projected to increase by $32,000, or 10.82 percent, from $286,456 to $377,356. Of that increase, $20,000 is for consulting services, to help during the installation of the IT systems in the public safety building. The remaining proposed increases are:
- $5,000 proposed increase in the area of support/access fees, from $107,000 to $112,000
- $2,500 proposed increase in the area of maintenance agreements, from $10,000 to $12,500
- $3,000 proposed increase in the area of internet/cable services, from $19,500 to $22,500
- $500 proposed increase in training and conferences, from $2,000 to $2,500
The proposed budget for the auditor is down 88.91 percent, from $225,500 to $25,000, because a consulting services line item has fallen from $200,500 to zero.
Councilors praised McDaniel for the budget. Dana McFee said he had thought the mill rate increase would be closer to 8 percent. Councilor Chuck Longton called it "a phenomenal achievement."