Bennington’s First Budget Plan Reflects 5% Tax Increase | Local news

0


BENNINGTON – CEO Stuart Hurd’s proposed city budget for fiscal 2023, which the board will begin reviewing next month, totals just over $ 14.8 million, an increase of almost 4 % with respect to the current year.

The total spending plan from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 is up $ 565,164 from the current year. Meanwhile, the tax rate needed to cover municipal services stands at $ 1.3355 per $ 100 of property value, an increase of 5.12%.

The overall budget includes the general fund, road and fire budgets, and non-property tax revenues. Claims from municipal agencies, such as libraries, the Bennington Rescue Squad and the Bennington County Regional Commission, total $ 928,800 and show an increase of $ 10,320, Hurd said. Separate voting requests total $ 131,850, the same as last year.

INFLATION, PAID HIKES

The increase in the cost of building materials and other expected purchases were key factors in the increase in the budget, Hurd said, adding that inflation was around 6.8% and there was a collaborative effort to keep the increase below this figure. He said $ 1.3 million had been removed from the department’s initial requests during sessions with department heads.

An expected deal with Public Works employees, which is being negotiated with further increases in city employees, was also factored into the budget. Part-time worker positions will be affected by an increase in the state’s minimum wage.

TAX RATES

The proposal shows that the amount to be raised by local taxes is now estimated at just over $ 12.7 million, an increase of $ 573,484, or 4.72%, depending on the proposal.

Hurd noted that tax rate calculations showing a 5.12% increase are based on the large list adjusted for fiscal year 2022.

“Budget discussions this year will be tough,” Select board chair Jeannie Jenkins said in an email. “As always, the GM has budgeted for us very tight to begin with. Looking at the budget history, over $ 1.3 million has already been removed from the department’s budget requests.”

She added: “We know this will be a tough year and while as a city we do well more with less, we also need to make sure we continue to support Bennington’s economic development. Along with the budget, the council and community will review city expenses that can be paid from ARPA [American Rescue Plan Act] fund and the infrastructure bill recently passed by Congress. We intend to strike up this conversation at the regular meeting of the Restricted Board of Directors on January 10. “

BUDGETARY HIGHLIGHTS

Among the individual budget items to be taken into account by the selection committee are:

  • $ 121,900 for two Ford SUV Police Department hybrid vehicles and two Honda ATVs for off-road patrols and others;
  • $ 48,010 to replace body-worn and in-vehicle police cameras with newer technology. This is a five-year agreement that provides for replacement of body-worn cameras in the third year at no additional cost. The total cost would be $ 175,300;
  • $ 18,500 for mandatory state police training requirements and to provide more leadership training to supervisors;
  • $ 23,500 for the improvement of the police service buildings;
  • $ 40,000 for the promotion of Bennington as a tourist destination, the same as the current year;
  • $ 50,000 to install heat pumps for the public space on the third floor of the Bennington Fire Hall;
  • $ 24,000 for lighting along a section of the Riverwalk;
  • $ 24,600 to replace a riding mower;
  • $ 25,000 for building improvements, including the installation of heat pumps in city offices;
  • $ 5,000 to create a reserve fund for information technology upgrades;
  • $ 8,070 for lease / purchase payments for a second vehicle for inspection service to perform inspections in different areas at the same time;
  • and $ 10,000 to install a motorized device to open and close the lock at the Papermill Bridge as part of a flood control project.

The select committee will begin reviewing the manager’s budget on January 3, during the first of three budget work sessions, when department heads and Hurd present their spending plans.

The board of directors is required to notify the budget of a vote by the municipal assembly at its meeting on January 24. The town’s annual meeting is set for February 28, and polling and elections are scheduled for March 1.

Jim Therrien writes for Vermont News and Media, including Bennington Banner, Manchester Journal and Brattleboro Reformer. Email [email protected]


Share.

Comments are closed.