By SHERIDAN CYR
Members of the Board of Finance unanimously voted to adopt the mill rate of 30.48 for the 2018-2019 fiscal year on May 16, which means that there will be no tax increase to property owners in the upcoming year.
The 2018-19 mill rate was helped by a Grand List—taxable property and assets in Southington that exceeded $4 billion for the first time in town history—and some last minute funding increases from the state.
“Setting the mill rate is one of our big duties,” said chair John Leary (R). “The BOF proposed a recommended budget to the Town Council. They had time to look at that budget and handle anything that came up after we made our recommendation if something changed, which it did. They then come back with their budget and we set the mill rate.”
Leary explained since the BOF recommended the budget to the council, the state of Connecticut had revised Southington’s revenue by increasing its grants by $2,452,316. That allowed the council to avoid about a 0.5 mill increase, as well as restore some additional funding to the BOE budget.
“I would just like to thank the Town Council for taking our recommended budget and reducing the mill rate to have no tax increase, and also for refunding some of the education budget,” said BOF member Kevin Beaudoin (D).
Though board members and councilors agree the last minute revenue increase from the state is a good thing, they remain cautious going forward.
“We are grateful that the state is restoring $2 million in spending but that doesn’t solve the budget issue,” said BOF member Tony Morrison (R). “Our state still has the highest debt of any state, and still has real structural issues. The Office of fiscal analysis says next year—when they do the biennial budget again—the first year we will have a $2 billion deficit, and the second year a $2.5 billion deficit.”
Morrison added when the state did the most recent biennial budget, the deficit was $3.5 billion.
“Let’s not let the town get carried away and think it’s over, because it’s only going to get worse,” he said. “I hope we are prepared to do what’s necessary to keep costs under control.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.
Current Town Budget proposals for FY 2018-2019
For the General Government proposed budget click here:
For the Board of Education budget, including the Superintendent’s proposed budget and the BOE’s proposed budget, click here: SouthingtonSchoolsbudget
For the Board of Finance proposed budget, click here:
Observer coverage for this year’s budget talks