Financiers OK 2014-15 budget

If city leaders approve the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, residents would see an increase on their property tax bills.
Last Tuesday, the Finance Board unanimously approved a budget totaling $186,344,595, which includes the Board of Education’s proposed budget, and is an increase of a little over $5.66 million from the current year’s total allotment.
The budget includes nearly $1.1 million for full-day kindergarten, something Board of Education members, the public and the Superintendent of Schools have been pushing for during this budget season.
While the Board of Education can put its money wherever they want, Finance Board Chair Cheryl Thibeault said she believes there is enough of a trusting relationship between the city side and the board that “those funds will fully go to all-day kindergarten.”
She added that there was a lot of support for full-day kindergarten from the general public in Bristol, which she said was important to hear so that the board can deliver a budget for the people.
If this budget is fully approved by the Joint Board, made up of the member of the Finance Board and City Council, the mill rate would need to increase by 1.42 mills, totaling 34.92 mills, which is a 4.23 percent increase of the current mill rate of 33.50.
The General Government bottom line totals $78,862,590, and the Board of Education bottom line is $107,482,005
This was the first year Thibeault worked on a budget while serving as chair of the Finance Board.
“It went really well, I have a very cooperative and intuitive board working with me; we have some good talent,” said Thibeault, who has been serving on the board for the last seven years.
In addition to wanting to fund full-day kindergarten, Thibeault said, over the past few years, the budgets for snow removal and road work have been flat  lined, so this year there is some extra money for those services, as well as funds for replacing aging equipment.
“What we heard from the public was that the roads really need to be improved,” Thibeault added.
Another item that has been positively received is funding for the main branch of the Bristol Public Library to offer Sunday hours again. These hours will be determined by library staff and offered during the busiest times of the year.
The Joint Board is tentatively scheduled to meet on Monday, May 19 to vote on the entire proposed budget.