Higher state aid to hold down the proposed tax hike in North Stonington

Higher state aid to hold down the proposed tax hike in North Stonington

The Westerly Sun

NORTH STONINGTON — Taxpayers got a surprise in North Stonington a few days before Monday’s annual town meeting, and it’s one they’ll probably like.

The town is set to receive more state revenue than local officials projected when putting together the budget, First Selectman Mike Urgo said Thursday. That means the town’s tax increase for the next fiscal year will be lower than previously stated. 

“Given this new information, the Board of Finance has elected to pass this additional savings onto the taxpayer by levying a lower proposed mill rate,” Urgo said. 

The town had proposed a 28.7 mill rate, a 2.5 percent increase from the current rate of 28.00. But the new revenue would lower the rate to 28.2 mills. 

A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value. A 0.2-mill increase in the property tax rate would mean that the owner of a house with a taxable valuation of $150,000 would pay an additional $30 in taxes instead of $105 as estimated in the earlier budget draft. 

The annual town meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Monday at the Wheeler Library. Doors will open at 6:30 to give voters time to talk to officials about the budget. 

The 2018-19 spending plan adds $671,140, or 3.48 percent, to the current $19.2 million in municipal and school spending. 

Municipal spending would top $5 million, increasing general government spending by 1.44 percent from $4.99 million this year. The education budget is $13.5 million, a 4.97 percent increase.

Copies of the new revenue sheet and budget are available on the town’s website. 

Urgo said the town is not changing how much it plans to spend. 

“We are simply increasing our revenues due to this good news,” he said. 

In addition to sending the $19.9 million budget to a June 4 referendum and approving capital spending, voters will decide six other questions at Monday’s meeting.  

Among them are increases to the building department fee schedule for permits, $65,000 for PCB remediation at the elementary school, and changes to ordinances.

One ordinance change moves a chapter about flooding to the zoning regulations. Another modification allows the land use office and zoning official to issue permits to maintain or update mobile home parks, instead of requiring a license from the Board of Selectmen.

Other items to be decided would allow the town to sell its condominium office space in the Holly Green retail complex and to authorize the Board of Selectmen to borrow up to $1 million at a time without going to voters at a town meeting. 

Voters also will decide if the town should accept a parcel at 123A Clarks Falls Road. It’s the site of the former Unity Baptist Church and is owned by the North Stonington Baptist Church. The town has been working with the church to find a way to dispose of the land, which currently can only be used by a church due to a deed restriction. The restriction would be lifted if the town were to take possession and then either sell it or give it back to the church, according to officials.



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