Despite rising unemployment and a sinking economy, city taxpayers are making sure their tax bills get paid.
The tax collector’s office reported this week that 98 percent of the property, personal and motor vehicle taxes due in January were paid, which is the city’s historic pattern even in good times.
“Bristol pays their bills,” city Comptroller Glenn Klocko said.
Mayor Art Ward praised the tax collector’s office for doing “an excellent job” in making sure that payments didn’t fall short.
Collecting taxes at the rate assumed in the city budget is a crucial part of ensuring there’s enough revenue to cover municipal expenses.
City leaders were watching closely this winter to see if tax collections in January – the first major tax period since the collapse of the financial sector last fall – to see if there might be a problem with people paying up.
But it turned out that the concern wasn’t necessary.
John Smith, a Board of Finance commissioner, said that Bristol’s 98 percent collection rate must rank it among the best in the state.
With a $170 million municipal budget, even a small decrease in the collection rate could leave the city short $1 million or more.
As it is, Klocko said he anticipates ending the fiscal year with a small surplus.
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