Approved Budget Includes Tax Increase

Councilman Pikus, member of the City Finance Committee, discussing the budget during Monday night's Council meeting

City officials have been reviewing the City of Milford Budget Fiscal Year 2012-2013 for several weeks now and on Monday, June 11 a proposed budget was shared with members of Milford City Council. With a total proposed budget of $38,886,725 the City of Milford is currently looking at a $500,000 shortfall going into the next fiscal year.

According to Councilmen Skip Pikus and Garrett Grier, at Monday night’s City Council meeting, the main concern for the City at this point is to run on a balanced budget. Councilmen Grier and Pikus are on the City of Milford Finance Committee along with Councilman Doug Morrow.

After reviewing the concerns of the Budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013, Councilman Pikus made a statement from the Finance Committee on what they felt was the best action forward by the City of Milford to balance next year’s budget.

“While working with each department of our city and reviewing their presented budgets, it was becoming increasingly difficult to arrive at a balanced budget without continuing to remove funds from our reserve account,” stated Councilman Pikus. “We have made as many cuts and eliminations as possible. Our belts right now are as tight as can be.”

Based of their finding, the Finance Committee recommended that City Council adopt the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 which included a tax increase of 8 cents per $100 of assessed property value. With the Finance Committee recommendation on the table, Councilman Pikus made a motion to accept as Councilman Grier seconded the motion. In a 5-2 vote, with Councilman Gleysteen absent, Milford City Council accepted the recommendation and approved the City of Milford Budget Fiscal Year 2012-2013.

Councilmen Johnson and Brooks were the two votes opposed to the budget, both of their decisions were based on the tax increase. Johnson stated that he believed there needed to be additional consideration to find more alternatives to balance the budget. Brooks stated that the money should be taken out of the City’s reserves in order to replace the current shortfall.

In support of the proposed budget Councilmen Pikus, Grier, Morrow, Starling and Councilwoman Wilson voted to accept the budget. Councilman Grier stated that the Finance Committee looked at every possibility to balance the budget during its annual review of the City’s finances.

“[The City] has spent two years cutting all it can cut and there is nothing left,” stated Councilman Grier. “We have to maintain the services that we provide our citizens and we must maintain a balanced budget. We would be setting ourselves up for failure with an unbalanced budget.”

For individuals the tax increase will mean an 8 cent increase per $100 of the assessment of their property. For example a house assessed at $250,000 would pay an increased tax rate of $200 over the next fiscal year. The 8 cent tax increase will take affect on the new property assessment values that were completed last summer and set to take affect in August. The increase or decrease of individual properties due to the assessment will effect the final tax rate differently for each property.