Pomfret passes budget with no rate increase

Pomfret town officials have adopted a 2018 budget, and residents won’t see any increase in their town tax bills.

The town board met earlier in the month to pass a spending plan, which details a tax levy, or amount to be raised by taxes, totaling $1,270,027. That’s up slightly from the previous year when it stood at $1,257,647. The approved 2018 tax levy is $16,087 below the state’s 2 percent property cap limit.

Tax rates will be identical to this year as the townwide tax rate will stay at $3.93 per $1,000 of assessed value. The outside the village tax rate will remain at $8.55 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Town Supervisor Don Steger unveiled his budget proposal last month, and it depicted a 5-cent increase in townwide and outside the village tax rates. At the time, Steger explained to members it was in lieu of required minimum wage increases and increased business costs.

Steger told the OBSERVER recently he’s pleased the town didn’t have to raise taxes. However, he said has some concerns because there are municipalities that are getting into fiscal straits.

“I don’t want the town to get there,” Steger said. “The board wanted to use a little more unexpended fund balance. I’m just concerned about next year’s tax rate.”

The townwide tax rate was $3.95 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2015 and 2016. The town board approved a 2017 budget with a 2-cent decrease.

As for the outside the village rate, the figure stood at $5.55 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2015 and rose to $8.57 of assessed value the following year. The rate decreased by 2 cents in 2017.

Steger said the town continues to deal with a number of issues including maintenance of highway equipment. Budget appropriations for the highway department in 2018 total $92,500 townwide and $1,144,423 outside the village. Around $888,000 is covered by revenues like state highway aid.

Health care costs, which usually change annually, and bumps in the state’s minimum wage are also playing a role.

“Typically, health care costs get bumped up every year and the minimum wage part for our part-time employees is going up for our seasonal employees,” he said. “Those are the basic costs of doing business.”

Budget appropriations for 2018 total close to $3.3 million. That’s slightly down from last year, $3.4 million.