April 26, 2012

City budget hikes property taxes nearly 6 percent

Board of Finance member Robert Vojtek, left, speaks with the panel’s chairman, Rich Miecznikowski, before Wednesday night’s Board of Finance meeting.
The city’s Board of Finance unanimously agreed Wednesday on a $177 million spending plan that would hike property taxes nearly 6 percent.
Finance Chairman Rich Miecznikowski said the focus during budget preparations was to maintain municipal services “while maintaining the city’s strong financial condition.”
The budget maintains education spending at last year’s level — a level that hasn’t changed much in four years — but officials said that educators can pay $1 million less for health care, freeing up cash for other uses, and tap some of the excess bond money from construction projects to buy books and other equipment for the new schools.
That’s still considerably less than the $3.1 million in additional funding sought by educators, perhaps opening the door to more layoffs and making it less likely that music and lacrosse programs that many are seeking to preserve will wind up with the money they are seeking.
Falling short in funding is going to have “a dramatic impact” on the ability of Bristol schools to ensure all children achieve to their capacity, said Chris Wilson, chairman of the Board of Education. LINK TO FULL STORY

Mill rates for Bristol since the last revaluation year:
For 2008-2009 budget - 25.99
For 2009-2010 budget - 25.99
For 2010-2011 budget - 27.24
For 2011-2012 budget - 27.24
For 2012-2013 budget - 28.75

Astute observers will note that taxes have gone up every other year by about the same margin. It is almost certainly not a coincidence that they rise in non-election years while mill rates stay frozen whenever there's a municipal election that fall.
So perhaps next year there will, once again, be a freeze.

Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

No comments: