THIS WEDNESDAY, May 30, the electors of the Town of Woodbury (and non-residents with $1,000 of taxable property in Woodbury) will vote to authorize the spending for the Town government operations – administrative, police, fire, library, recreation, senior services and public works – for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1.
The Woodbury FY 2018-19 Annual budget features:
- 2.19% reduction in the tax rate;
- 1.55% increase in operating costs; and
- assignment of surplus from FY17-18 to help Woodbury reduce the impact on the Town mill rate due to the Region 14 Nonnewaug High renovation financing.
This is the second time in the last 5 years where the Annual Budget has planned to collect less tax than the previous year. This year, Woodbury benefits primarily from a reduction in its share of Region 14 costs due to a re-balancing of enrollment between Woodbury and Bethlehem and increased education aid from the state. The combination will more than offset the relatively small increase in town costs and result in a mill rate decrease of 0.58 mills to 26.58 mills. That .58 mill reduction translates into a savings of $58 on every $100,000 assessment.
Significant in the proposed Town budget is the assignment of $800,000 to a fund to specifically help lessen the estimated annual 1 to 1.5 mill cost to Woodbury of the NHS renovation financing.
This $800,000 comes from money the Town already has – no new taxes for this – it comes from the projected surplus for the current year. Last year, you may recall, the State of Connecticut could not agree on a budget and threatened to not only cut town aid, but to push 10% of teacher pension obligation to all the towns – over $1 million in cost Woodbury. The Board of Finance budgeted according to the most conservative plans then being discussed in the state house. The final State aid package, finally passed in October, resulted in a $430,000 surplus for Woodbury (and left many Connecticut towns looking the money they did not budget). Add to that $300,000 permit fees paid to Woodbury by Region 14 for the NHS project, $126,000 in operational underspend projected by the Town, and the result is a unique opportunity to allocate funds to help manage Woodbury’s tax rate in upcoming years.
So this year, the Woodbury voters will deliberate a total Annual Budget that maintains our fiscal strength – reduces taxes, funds needed capital plans, meets operating requirements of the departments, and allocates funds for unavoidable future obligations.
Complete information on the Woodbury Annual Budget can be obtained at the Town Clerk’s Office or online here.
Alex DeSorbo is Chairman of the Woodbury Board of Finance.