City budget proposal looking at 3.75 percent hike



The proposed city budget marks a 3.75 percent increase over last year’s budget.

At the Board of Finance meeting on April 1, city Comptroller Diana Waldron said the budget proposal totals $201,706,570, an increase of the 2018-19 budget.

If the budget is approved as proposed, Waldron said the mill rate will be 38.22, a 3.63 percent increase (1.34 mills) over the current rate of 36.88.

Waldron said she reduced budget requests by $3 million to reach the final tally.

Prior to the reductions, the total general fund requested budget for fiscal year 2019-20 had been $209,155,925, an increase of $14,746,740 or 7.59 percent, over the FY18/19 adopted budget. The general city budget original request totaled $78,312,395; funds toward debt service and capital transfers originally totaled $10,845,000; the Board of Education request originally totaled $119,998,530.

After trimming by the comptroller, the general government budget proposal is $75,447,920; debt service and capital transfers proposal is $10,595,000; and education’s proposal $115,663,650.

Waldron said the grand list grew 0.72 percent ($28,242,862) from Oct. 1, 2017 ($3,917,268,810) to Oct. 1, 2018 ($3,945,511,672).

Waldron said the value of all three categories in the grand list  real estate, personal property, and auto grew. As of Oct. 1, 2018, values were: $383,762,770 for motor vehicles; $313,516,153 for personal property; and $3,248,232,749 for real estate. At the current mill rate (36.88) that grand list growth would “generate $1,041,597 in new tax revenue.” Waldron explained the mill rate is calculated by taking the anticipated revenues ($53,518,770 for FY 19/20), the current levy ($141,986,745), and subtract from that the total expenditures ($201,706,570). This gives a total of $6,201,055 in new tax revenues, $1,041,597 of which would come from grand list growth.

That means that $5,159,458 would be need to be “generated from an increase in the mill rate, and that equates to 1.34 mills or a 3.63 percent tax increase” should the budget be accepted as presented with the recommended reductions, said Waldron.

The Board of Finance will host another workshop on Monday, April 15, at 6 p.m., before their next regularly scheduled meeting – Tuesday, April 23 – where they plan to adopt the fiscal year 2019-20 budget. Once adopted by the finance board, the proposed budget will need approval from the City Council.

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