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Education Spending Untouched as Finance Board Approves Budget

With department expenditures flat and a refunding of general obligation bonds, the rate of increase in the FY 2012-13 budget amounts to 1.55 percent.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Elizabeth E. Feser pronounced herself thrilled as the approved the school’s budget as recommended in an evening when the BOF proposed a combined city and budget of $186,381,969. The sum represents a rate of increase of 1.55 percent over this year’s budget, with a proposed mill rate of 25.68.

“It’s a very good thing,” said Feser after the school budget — which, as proposed, amounts to $86,882,363 — passed through the BOF unscathed. “I’m thrilled for the school system.”

, whose proposed budget the BOF cut by a sum that amounted to just under $500,000, termed this year’s budget “very conservative.”

From the BOF, the budget as proposed now moves to the Board of Aldermen.

According to Director of Finance Peter A. Erodici Jr., department expenditures remained flat, with the small rate of increase in the overall budget the result of health care costs and some contractual wage obligations.

Erodici noted that a refunding of general obligation bonds saved $913,000 in interest. Of that, he said, $500,000 went into this year’s budget for schools, sewer and public improvement.

Now in his first full budget cycle, Erodici said the budget process to date gave him a sense of accomplishment.

Overall, the mood at the Board of Finance meeting after the combined budget was proposed by a unanimous vote was celebratory.

Board of Finance member Joseph Agro Jr. termed the approach to this year’s budget “seamless.”

“The process has moved forward,” he said.

He said that this has been a different kind of year for all of involved in the budget process than it has been for the last three. He said that endorsing the school budget as presented lent an expression of optimism to this year’s budgetary process, as the economy, while still difficult for some, may have begun to turn the corner.

arkay March 09, 2012 at 03:47 AM
So the mill rate is lower, i assume because appraisals were accurate this time vs. 2006/2007? I noticed they actually went UP with Vision appraisal, most houses seeing a 15%-20% increase since 2006 - which of course is not the national trend. They do seem like more realistic appraisals though. The ones done in 2006 were very low. The danger in that is the false impression that our town has too high property tax because of the mill rate. Most towns in the area will see a mill rate increase because of revaluation.
arkay March 09, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Despite the 1.55% increase in budget, with the new higher assessments, my property tax went up 7.8% even considering the 11.2% decrease in mill rate from 2010.
Nancy Barnes March 09, 2012 at 01:48 PM
The projected mill rate would mean an average increase in the property tax for homeowners of $241, according to Director of Finance Peter Erodici.
arkay March 09, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Yes and it's not even the mill rate, it's the much higher assessments.

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