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Budget Hearing Leaves 1 Step to Approval

The Town of Suffield held its public hearing on the town budget Wednesday night in a relatively brisk meeting.

Suffield's financial year 2012-2013 town budget will be presented for approval at a town meeting on May 9, the last step in the approval process following Wednesday night's public hearing at .

The hearing, which was witnessed by approximately 50 people including town officials, started with a short budget presentation from Suffield Board of Finance chairman Justin Donnelly. He called the budget satisfactory for consideration by the town and pointed out the relatively low tax increase of 0.67 mills to a mill rate of 24.84.

That increase is expressed in an example in the town's budget as a home with an assessed value of $210,000 costing $5,217 in taxes in the coming budget year, a raise of $141 over last year.

A few questions on specifics of the budget from residents followed, with the First Selectman and other town board and commission members either answering or stating their intent to find out more information.

Steve April 26, 2012 at 01:35 PM
You should all dig into the town budget. Taxes are going up 3.4% to fund town administration costs that have increased nearly 9% over the past 2 years. The "zero budget" is a scam and the town continues to increase it's costs. There is over $18 million in cash and they are not acting with the fiduciary responsibility we have blindly empowered them with. Pick up the budget packet and ask yourself the following questions: * Why is the town selectman getting paid over $125k and has a total budget of over $200k with $90k in "other" * Why are the town employees getting raises in 5-6%? When we are all cutting back. * How do we all get a job at the town where we get 5% raises, a pension and post retirement health benefits? No one in corporate America is receiving these benefit packages * The lack of economic development and increased administrative costs will on average cost us $300 more a year as homeowners. And they have cut back on preventive maintenance on roads and schools which will only require more investment in the future The basic question we all have to ask - are we willing to fund the towns $4mm+ administrative budget growing at a clip of 5% each year? Enough is enough. I tried to go to the meeting last night but they were done so fast because they don't want to all of us to know what is actually happening with our tax dollars. There's a lot of detail in the budget and not a lot of clarity. Dig in!
Scott Lingenfelter April 26, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Steve, A few clarifications for you: Taxes are not up 3.4%, they are up 2.79%. Not sure what you mean by "there is over $18 million in cash..." Town Selectman does NOT have a salary of $125,000 (although giving the position a four year term and increasing the salary to that may attract more candidates at election time, which would only benefit the town - charter revision time?). Raises for the executive group of town employees is under 2%, and for the union members is under 3%. Nobody is getting a 5-6% raise. If your house has a market value of $600,000.00, then your tax increase will be $282.00 - I'm guessing not many residents will have a $300.00 tax hike this year as you claim. We are funding more than in past years for preventative maintenance, ESPECIALLY to the roads. The Board of Education recieved the funds they requested, in full (they did present a bare bones budget, but one that meets the needs of our school system, while keeping in mind the pressures put on the taxpayers in town). The general government portion of the budget grew at a rate of 2.26% and the Board of Ed at 1.63% - neither at or near the 5% you state. The meeting last night lasted over 45 minutes. I know that is not extremely long, but it's hard to say that it was done fast. Everybody who attended had the opportunity to ask questions. I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have, as I'm sure other members of the Board of Finance, Selectmen, or Education would as well.

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