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Proposed Budget Increase of 9.42% Comes with Lower Mill Rate

WOODBURY – The 2018-19 municipal budget will be presented by the Board of Finance at a public hearing this Monday, April 30.

The Board of Finance has recommended a budget of $11,115,316, which is a 9.42% increase over the current fiscal year budget.

However, Board of Selectman Chairman Alex DeSorbo said that the proposed budget projects an overall mill rate reduction of 0.19 mill, or 0.7%.

That’s because of a reduction in Woodbury’s share of the Region 14 net expenses, an increase of about $7 million in the October 2017 Grand List, a loss of about $625,000 in anticipated revenue from the State of Connecticut, and an allocation of Fund Balance in last year’s budget which is not proposed in the 2018-19 budget.

If the current draft proposal were enacted as is, DeSorbo said the taxes for a $300,000 assessment would go down by $57.

“The Woodbury Board of Finance’s stated goal for this and every Annual Budget is to address not only the current year but to anticipate and plan for future demands on the taxpayers of the Town of Woodbury with a stable and predictable mill rate and a strong fund balance,” DeSorbo said.

As noted, the anticipated reduction in the mill rate is largely driven by the change in the 2018-19 obligation to Region 14 resulting from enrollment changes, despite the increase in costs planned. In 2017-18 there was a shift to Woodbury and for 2018-19 the pendulum has swung back a bit, DeSorbo said. Overall the enrollment changes over the past five years are virtually identical on a percentage basis between the two towns.

The estimated results for 2017-18 anticipate a surplus of about $920,000. As noted in the State of the Town meeting in November, the net difference in state aid and unrealized state mandated costs generated about $420,000 of surplus.

The other revenue source in the estimated surplus is $300,000 in unbudgeted permitting fees payable to the Town of Woodbury this year as a result of the Region 14 Nonnewaug High School renovation. The remaining approximately $200,000 is in operational savings and some additional department revenue.

The Board of Finance recommended at its April 5 special meeting that $800,000 of the anticipated 2017-18 surplus be applied to the town’s mill rate mitigation fund to level the anticipated costs of Woodbury’s obligation of approximately 1.5 mills in debt service which will be built the Region 14 budgets in upcoming years.

“Region 14 has not as yet approved a plan to address this unavoidable future tax impact and in fact reduced its appropriation for debt service and reserve in 2018-19,” DeSorbo said. “Accordingly the consensus of the Woodbury Board of Finance is to take this necessary step to lessen the large fluctuation of the mill rate and the inevitable resultant pressure on services and programs.”

DeSorbo added that the allocation of these funds does not affect the mill rate.

For more information about the 2018-19 proposed municipal budget, read and download the PDF below.

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