New Milford's budget meets voters' approval
Voters in New Milford went to the polls in low numbers Tuesday to decide on a proposed $98.53 million budget for fiscal year 2014-15.
Just eight percent of the registered voters turned out to approve both the town and education budgets at an overall 1.75 percent increase.
The $60.96 schools budget passed, 888-619, and the $37.57 million municipal budget was approved, 959-548.
"It was very quiet," Mayor Pat Murphy said. "I'm glad people came out and supported the budget. The process was done in cooperation and in a professional manner. I think people appreciated that."
Murphy said the town would now move forward, spending tax dollars wisely.
With the budget's passage, a tax increase will be $45 on every $100,000 of assessed property value.
"The tax increase would be $270.92 on an average residential home assessed at $217,750," said the town's finance director, Ray Jankowski. "On the average condo, assessed at $105,480, the increase would be $56.40."
A major factor in the increases is health insurance, which is up $980,000.
That hike is less than the increase experienced for 2013-14, Murphy noted.
Savings are anticipated from the hiring of a staff engineering draftsman/technician in the Public Works department at a $67,500 annual salary, with benefits included.
There was little controversy this year during budget season, although a small turnout of taxpayers had asked the Board of Finance in April to hold the reins on tax increases.
Resident Warren Braren noted the state of the economy nationwide.
"These are very different times in our economy," Braren told the board in April. "You can't look to the taxpayers to fill the well. Now and going forward, you have to control the level of tax increases."