BERLIN — Mayor Gee Williams proposed a 29% tax increase as staff presented an overall budget featuring reductions of 18% at a work session this week.
On Monday, Williams and the town council met with Berlin’s department heads to go over the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget. Williams kicked off the session by recommending an increase of the property tax rate from .68 per $100 of valuation to .88 per $100 of valuation. Under this proposal, the owner of a property valued at $300,000 would see a $600 tax hike in the next fiscal year. He said the $5.9 million proposed budget included no raises for employees and very few capital projects. Utility rate fees, which will be discussed at a work session April 15, are also projected to increase for residents this year as the town works to ensure the general fund doesn’t continue its practice of supporting utility operations.
“Neither I or the council fully grasped the extent and persistence that borrowing from the general fund has posed,” Williams said. “I do not believe any of us feel we can continue to borrow from our general fund for the foreseeable future. An 18% reduction in general fund expenses combined with a tax increase to 88 cents will enable the town to stop borrowing from the general fund reserves to support town operations.”