The Board of Finance has scheduled a special meeting to set the towns mill rate in an attempt to buy time to better see the impacts of the state budget crisis.

The Board has a regular meeting scheduled for Monday, May 22, which would have been used to set the towns mill rate. However, with new proposals and tax plans coming from Hartford almost daily, a special meeting has been set for May 30, allowing the town an additional week to set the mill rate.

By law, according to the town charter, the mill rate must be set by June 1 of each year.

Town officials have been watching in earnest the state budget and its impact on Branford. Earlier this week, Governor Malloy released a plan that eliminates all education funding to town, including special education funds. Since then, both Democrats and Republicans have released plans, although both contain aspects that would impact Branford.

The RTM passed a budget last week that included the impacts of Malloy’s first budget proposal, which was already costly to Branford taxpayers. Without the state impacts, Branford budget would have seen about a 2% increase in spending and a 1.5% increase in the mill rate.

Instead, Malloy’s impact increased the tax rate over 5%. If the latest version of his budget were accounted for, the increase would be well over 7%.

Still, Branford has positioned itself to be ahead of the state budget, and more so than neighboring towns who largely ignored Malloy’s proposal. First selectman Jamie Cosgrove, finance chair Jim Finch and the Board of Finance, led by chairman Joe Mooney, made the decision to take a more proactive approach to the budget due to the state uncertainty. They also added a wrinkle: if the state impacts did not come to fruition, the plan calls for the town to use those funds to pay down debt, offsetting potential increases in later years.

While the state most likely will not have a budget in place by May 30, it does give the town time to further weigh the evidence and attempt to garner which way the state may be leaning. While the towns spending has been set by the RTM, the Board of Finance can use the state information to adjust the amount of funds taken from the undesignated fund balance, essentially cash on hand.

Currently, the total coming from the fund is 2.8 million dollars. Any increase in that total would lower the mill rate passed on to Branford residents.

(9) comments

Guest

And how much is currently in that fund?

Guest

Every time I drive through Town, I see two or three "for sale" signs on every street.

There has to be some other way to address budget problems than raising tax rates. Every time tax rates are increased, the revenue is less than expected, because people change their behavior accordingly.

Increase the mill rate, property values go down; you get less revenue than you expected.

Increase the income tax rate, people move out of state, you get less revenue than expected.

How many times do we have to repeat this cycle for people to learn that it just does not work????

Guest

Where are Loonie Reed, Kennedy and Scanlon? No famous press releases from them.

Guest

Don't hold your breath. None of them actually have the courage to go on the record with anything budget related.

Guest

Someone who works in government told me that, after the last round of state income tax rate increases, ten people decided to move out of state. The result: $300 million less in state income tax revenue.
A higher percentage of zero is not worth nearly as much as a lower percentage of a big number.
The only way out of this mess is to broaden the tax base, not to keep relying on a few really high income individuals to bail out the rest of us.

(Yes, the math indicates that the average annual income of the ten people who left is a bit under $500 million. It doesn't matter in the slightest whether other people think they can "afford" it; what matters the most is whether or not they are willing to pay it.)

Guest

But please, let's allow people to continue to oppose any freaking development to grow the tax base!

Guest

[alien]

Guest

Time to cut government spending and the place to start is right in the town hall - take a trip over there some day - nobody is breaking out in a sweat - do we really need all those jobs - with benefits and pensions and some with town autos ???

Guest

The majority of Town employees are given smart phones that they use more for personal use than for work!!! Thousands and thousands a year wasted to pay for these phones, not needed!!! When times are good you may overlook some of these perks but the times we are in now they need to go!!!!

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