On Monday, June 13, Milford City Council passed a balanced budget for FY2022-23. The $53.8 million budget included a one cent per $100 of assessed value increase in property taxes to offset the removal of $100,000 in real estate transfer taxes that used to be used to balance the budget. Property taxes will increase by one cent per $100 of assessed value over the next three years.
“The one cent offset by removing the $100,000 of real estate transfer tax from the operating budget and moving it to the capital budget,” Mark Whitfield, City Manager, said. “Primarily, using that RTT money for capital is much more prudent because it fluctuates on an annual basis. You can always defer capital; you really can’t defer operation and maintenance. Again, that was a goal set by council last year.” The cost to a property owner whose home is assessed at $147,600, the average in the city, the cost will be about $1.23 per month or $15 per year.
The budget included several increases for organizations throughout the city. The Milford Museum requested an increase from $30,000 to $35,500 while Downtown Milford, Inc. requested an increase from $45,860 to $47,500. Milford Public Library requested $26,750, up from $25,000. The biggest increase requested was from Carlisle Fire Company who asked for $205,000 compared to $140,000 last year.
“We did put the additional $65,000 in the budget for the fire company, but what I would like to see moving forward is that we look for some type of performance-based criteria that needs to be met for us to be able to give them the additional $65,000,” Whitfield said. “This needs to be something that is formulated with Carlisle over the next few months. I’ve heard from council that they are seeking a workshop with Carlisle to talk about the future and how we can assist them to get where they need to be.”
In addition to the $65,000 in additional funding, council approved over $12,000 to be used as tax incentives for those who volunteer with the fire company. The incentive is to encourage residents to volunteer for the fire service. Whitfield explained that it is in the city charter that the city is responsible for fire service and that this may help Carlisle recruit new members.
Electric, water and wastewater revenues remain stable. Water rates will increase by 3.9 percent and the city component of wastewater rates will increase by 4.9 percent. The average household using 3,800 gallons of water will see an increase of 53 cents for water and 90 cents for wastewater per month. Electric rates will decrease slightly with the new budget with the average home seeing a decrease of around three cents. Solid waste will increase about $1.20 per month.
Personnel accounted for the largest increases in the budget throughout the city. This is due to salary increases as well as positions that were filled which had been vacant for some time. Capital Improvement Projects included new police cars, streetscaping, a greenway master plan, picnic pavilions and public restrooms plus several other projects. Some of the budget was balanced with American Rescue Act (ARPA) funds which is not sustainable, according to Lou Vitola, Finance Director.
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